‘Clone High’ Review: Our Favorite Teen Historical Figures Discover a New World
Revivals have become popular in recent years, trying to give shows a new opportunity after decades of being gone from the air. Of course, some attempts have been more successful than others, and this new Clone High revival on HBO Max feels like it is the prime example of what a revival should be. The original show amassed a loyal but small fan base. Now it has the opportunity to go bigger than ever thanks to an excellent premise that changes the world and puts the main characters in very exciting situations.
Clone High is an animated show created by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Bill Lawrence, who worked as the original show’s creators. The series stars a fantastic cast of voice actors, including returning cast members from the original show and some new additions. The cast includes Will Forte, Nicole Sullivan, Christa Miller, Chris Miller, Phil Lord, Mitra Jouhari, Kelvin Yu, Neil Casey, Vicci Martinez, and Ayo Edebiri. The series tells the story of a group of clone teenagers living their high school days.
There have been 20 years since the end of the original show, and Clone High knows it, so the first thing the show does is resolve that 20-year cliffhanger and then move on introducing the characters to a new world, our present world. It is not exaggerated to say that the world of 2003 was very different from the one we are living in now. Basically, every single social interaction is different. The rise of social media, several economic crises, mainstream music taste, and even celebrities are different now. This is a new world, and the characters will need to adapt.
The new world creates an entire set of new interactions between the characters, which really shows us just how much our environment can influence the ways that we live our lives. Sure, there is a lot of decision-making going on every single day of our lives, but sometimes, the world around us just wants to take on a very specific direction. These interactions and new experiences really make for some great comedic moments, it is really fun just to see how the characters will react to a specific new reality.
Since 2004, Chris Miller and Phil Lord have really become a force to be reckoned with, they not only manage to make the transition to successful, live-action directors, but they also kept pushing animation as a medium with movies such as, Into the Spider-verse, which is a true modern masterpiece. This new season of Clone High proves that Lord and Miller still have their hit factor by creating a very brave, funny, and current show that makes you think just as much as it makes you laugh.
The pair of creators have always managed to walk the thin line between being bold and reckless. This new season of Clone High feels like the best of both worlds. It still manages to talk about series topics and comment on current affairs, yet it never feels preachy or overzealous. This is something that really makes them stand out as creators, especially in an age when others try to tackle these issues and topics and just come off as petulant and annoying.
The influence of Bill Lawrence on the project cannot be understated, either. We are talking about one of the most successful comedy creators in the past two decades. He is even one of the creative forces behind the successful Ted Lasso, so it seems like the combination of these three creators, alongside their team of writers and animators, makes for a perfect combination, one that will surely deliver a series of great stories that will keep the characters moving forward in outstanding fashion.
Of course, we are still going with the teenage high school setting, one of the most used settings in cinema, so there is really nothing new regarding what you can expect. However, the characters are good enough that the setting becomes just a background for these characters to play with. In more recent years, settings have become just as important as creators try to craft big worlds with history and lore in which to tell their stories. Clone High feels fresh in that regard, as it doesn’t try to do anything out of the ordinary with it and just lets the characters live in it.
Talking about the characters, the show just picks up exactly from where we left our characters in the original show. They are still the same in the way they behave, talk, and feel. This is great, sometimes these revivals happen, and then there is a disconnection between what the characters were before and now, like, for example, what happened with the new Fresh Prince of Bel-Air show. This is not the case here. The original cast of voices comes back, it definitely feels like they still got it.
Abe, Joan, Cleo, and the others are all back, except for Ghandi, which is a major loss. But the show’s world has moved on, so new and exciting characters are added to the roster. We get clones from Frida Kahlo, Harriet Tubman, Confucius, and even a very special character called Topher Bus. They are all quite funny and match very well with the original cast. The show really makes it clear that these are two different generations of people, just to make it clear that 20 years is a long time and things are just not the same.
Each episode still manages to be part of an overarching story, this time with the inclusion of a new character involved in the secret government group behind the project. It is hilarious but interesting to see where this thread leads to. Besides that, each episode introduces a new situation for our characters. In terms of animation, we still retain the same style as in the original show, which helps create a sense of continuity between what happened before and what is happening now.
Clone High might be one of the most successful revivals of the past few years. Being an animated show allows for the characters to come back looking the same, and thanks to the creators still having a grasp on what made these characters fun in the first place, it really feels like the cliffhanger that ended the first show, was just intentional, and they were just waiting for the right time to come back and do this very specific take on the show. Clone High might be just more Clone High, but it is very good, and that is what matters.