Netflix is ushering in the upcoming back-to-school season with Grand Army, its new original series that captures the complicated lives of high schoolers today.
The teen drama, adapted from the play Slut by Katie Cappiello, stars Odessa A'zion, Odley Jean, Maliq Johnson, Amalia Yoo, and Amir Bageria as students at Brooklyn's largest public high school, Grand Army High School.
The show centres on the lives of these five young adults as they navigate coming-of-age in today's messy America – think less Gossip Girl, and more Euphoria meets Skins, or Degrassi with a bit more edge.
The stories are based on conversations that Cappiello — who in addition to being a playwright is also a theatre educator and an executive producer on Grand Army — has had with students over the many years she's been teaching.
"It's years of listening to my students talk, it's years of going to bar and bat mitzvahs," Cappiello told Entertainment Weekly of her inspiration. "It's years of having kids call you because they don't know how they're going to afford school, and can you talk through that with them, and try to help them figure out a plan? It's when they're struggling with their parents, who can they talk to, and can I recommend a course of action?"
The teaser is comprised of a series of vignettes set to saxophone rendition of The Star Spangled Banner — in one, Black members of the school's women's basketball team kneel during the National Anthem to a few boo's from the crowd; students take shelter in a classroom during a lockdown; other classmates throw down and form relationships at parties outside of school. In the final scenes, Dominique (Dom) Pierre (played by Jean) pleads to not be overlooked. “I don't have all the answers, but to be honest, it matters who you talk to,” she says. "It matters who you're comfortable with. It matters who hears you, who says, ‘I understand.’ We need someone to hear us."
Watch the teaser for Grand Army below, which premieres on Netflix on October 16.