Why NBC's 'Rise' Deserves A Second Season
NBC's musical drama has been a subtle but effective coming-of-age story. Here is why the TV network should renew it for another season.
One of the most pleasant new additions to NBC's TV line-up this year has undoubtedly been Rise. The musical drama focuses on the teachers and students of Stanton High School as they attempt to produce their own version of controversial musical, Spring Awakening.
With plenty of teen angst and deep-rooted struggles, Rise is an inspiring, uplifting drama. But with the musical show almost finished its ten episode run, we have yet to hear whether NBC has decided to renew it for another season or not.
With that in mind, let's take a look at why the network should indeed renew Rise for a second outing.
There Is So Much More Story To Tell
While the first season of the show will conclude with the opening night of Stanton High's production of Spring Awakening, that doesn't mean that the story is over. Quite the opposite, in fact. The musical is only part of the story and effectively serves as a backdrop for the bigger picture: the characters' lives. And although a lot of the character arcs have indeed developed, we've barely scratched the surface of what the show could achieve if it's given the chance.
Given the ensemble nature of the show, it's hard to give each major character the focus they deserve in a 40-minute episode. But taking everything into account, the show has mostly succeeded, especially when the stories are told over multiple episodes. However, as there are only 10 episodes in this season, it's guaranteed that we will be left wanting more by the finale — as multiple arcs won't have been given enough screentime to fully develop.
The most obvious example of this is Simon's journey, his sexuality and his relationship with Jeremy — who we still know very little about. But despite this, these two have become the show's most popular pairing and a second season would undoubtedly explore their relationship further — allowing Simon to fully comes to terms with who he is as we get to know Jeremy a little better. On a similar note, Gordy's storyline still has a lot of ground to cover, and another season would give him the chance to overcome his demons.
While the first season finale will likely wrap up some of the season's storylines, the most important ones will need more episodes in order to be fully fleshed out. Millions of viewers have gotten attached to these characters now, and it's only fair that we get to watch them progress into another year at Stanton High.
There Is Nothing Else Like It On TV
There was once an era where musicals on TV was unheard of. Then, thanks to Glee, there was a time when musicals on TV was a given. But now, with Glee and Smash finished, and Nashville wrapping up its run, the only other musicals on TV at the moment are Empire and Star — both of which are drastically different from Rise. Focusing on an inspired teacher and his troupe of talented theater kids, Rise is something a little bit different to what we would expect from today's programming.
On a similar note, there was once a time when there were countless high school dramas. Many of us grew up with the likes of Smallville, Glee and The Vampire Diaries that were full of troubled teenagers with whom many of us could relate to. But nowadays, as networks jump at the chance of producing more mature programming, there is a growing lack of high school-based shows that teenagers can watch with their families — that's where Rise comes in.
With a cast featuring flawed teachers, struggling students and concerned parents, there are plenty of well-rounded characters that many of us can relate to.
In an era where dark and mature storytelling seems to be the norm, Rise dares to be different and is a callback to some of the best familial shows of the past two decades. The fact that it's a musical is just a bonus!
The Ratings Have Been Steady
While not exactly a ratings killer, Rise's ratings have been pretty steady throughout its ten-episode run. It premiered with a solid 5.50 million viewers and hasn't seen a significant drop-off, with its run pretty much averaging out somewhere in the region of 4 million viewers. Moreover, it's also held steady in the 18-49 demographic, with a respectable 0.7-0.8 share.
So, it may not break ratings records but Rise does remain reliably steady week after week, despite going up against the likes of CBS's Bull and The CW's superhero newcomer Black Lightning. And isn't a show that constantly delivers what it promises much more important to a line-up than one that constantly fluctuates?
Furthermore, in this era of cable television and streaming services, network television just doesn't have the same power that it once had. Thus, viewership on the night alone doesn't carry as much weight as it once did. So, Rise's steady ratings may work in its favor, especially if delayed viewership sees it increase.
Moreover, as NBC actually produces the series (instead of just airing it), it's much easier and cheaper for them to make — given that they effectively own it. It serves as a midseason replacement for juggernaut This Is Us, and we're pretty sure nobody expected its ratings to reach those impossible heights anyway. So, it would make sense for NBC to renew a cheaper show like Rise so it can steadily fill that gap in its schedule again next season.
It Highlights Important Issues
In a mere ten episodes, Rise has given so many people a voice. Not only does the show have one of the most diverse casts on television, it also highlights a number of important issues — all of which have a major impact on so many people, particularly young people. Over its run, the show has dealt with sexuality, gender identity, alcoholism and homelessness. In doing so, it has raised awareness about all of these topics.
It's imperative that everyone feels represented on television, and Rise has no problem making that happen. To take the show away from fans after such a short period of time would take away that representation. And more importantly, it would take away characters that so many people identify with.
In less than ten weeks, Rise has had a major impact on so many people — and it deserves another chance to do it again next season. The show's fanbase continues to tune in weekly, keeping its ratings steady, while the show continues to highlight many of the important issues that teenagers face. But in order to tell the next chapter of these important stories, Rise needs a second season. Make it happen, NBC!
Would you like to see Rise renewed for Season 2? Let us know in the comments section below!