Step Up: High Water premieres January 31st, 2018 on YouTube Red.
By Ariba Bhuvad
I won’t lie when I tell you that going into YouTube Red’s drama series, Step Up: High Water that I didn’t have some reservations. Having watched a couple of the movies from the Step Up franchise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a TV series based on it. I’m happy to reveal that I was pleasantly surprised after checking out this show.
Created by Holly Sorenson, and executive produced by Step Up alums Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum comes this series following twin siblings, Janelle (Lauryn McClain) and Tal (Petrice Jones), two aspiring dancers in high school. The story takes us through their journey as they are forced to relocate from Ohio to Atlanta—and come face to face with the harsh reality of their new world and the dream of attending a local hardcore arts school, High Water. Playing head of the school is Collette Jones played by Naya Rivera, who guides potential students through the audition process. Ne-Yo is also part of the cast as Sage Odom, the founder/creator of High Water.
High Water brings the drama, catfights, fistfights, and dancing, lots of dancing. I particularly enjoyed the dance battles, the music, and the sweet moves that even had me up on my feet. While the dancing was perhaps the best thing about it, one thing in particular that I took away from watching was a feeling of inspiration and motivation. It was a completely unexpected feeling, but as the characters struggled to achieve their goals and seize their moment, I couldn’t help but feel encouraged to do the same. When they were faced with the feisty, unwelcoming people of their high school and arts school, they kept persisting. It quickly becomes apparent that the heart of the show lies in the trials and tribulations of achieving one’s dreams. High Water does a great job of igniting that feeling of hope in those that are watching it.
I believe there were some holes in the plot that made the story a bit unrealistic or at times, not so relatable. Throughout the series, the story felt slightly rushed as if they were trying to get to the main focus as quick as possible. But even with these elements against them, High Water managed to exceed my expectations for it and had me engaged and invested in where the story was going. It is a show worthy of giving a shot, if not for anything else then at least for the epic, epic dancing.
I give Step Up: High Water a B+.