Between 2007 and 2010, El Internado became a mass phenomenon. One that also set the precedent for all kinds of similar dramas to come. The mythical Laguna Negra boarding school became the guilty pleasure of much of a generation, and found its place in the difficult space of the juvenile genre. Created by Daniel Écija (I’m alive), Laura Belloso (Luna: The mystery of Calenda), Juan Carlos Cueto and Rocío Martínez Llano (Toy Boy), the series told the story of a group of high school students in normal appearance. But in reality, it was a kind of fiction with an air of drama and mystery in which anything could happen.
The combination of suspense, drama, thriller and romance delighted the audience. As if it wasn’t enough the series was the quarry for actors such as Ana de Armas, Elena Furiase, Yon González or Blanca Suárez. For its apotheosis final season, the program was already a symbol of a new form of television in Spain. Especially for its ability to successfully recombine genres, in addition to claiming many others. Something that he showed until his last chapter. By then, the boarding school was a symbol of a time of experimentation on television in Spain.
Amazon arrived with its new proposal under its arm
For all the above, the announcement of a reboot by Amazon Prime Video raised all kinds of expectations. The premise of “l Internado: Las Cumbres * promised to rescue the best of the original series, and also take its best points to a new dimension. But the result, rather than being a reinvention of the premise, is an unfortunate and less inspired transit through popular history. A review of all the script twists, stereotypes, and characters that made the plot famous, but without its playful and intriguing quality.
In contrast, the modernized, international version of El Internado has much of a nostalgic ride. The production adds horror and suspense to the renewed plot, but has little charisma to maintain the appeal of the story center.
The international version of the classic it is much denser and more substantial than its predecessor. On this occasion, the notion of boarding school is not only encompassing an adolescent drama, with the perception of confinement as an element added to the tension. The script takes the best of certain notions about abuse of power, the perception of violence and abuse. Plus, it adds terror and a good dose of teen vibrancy. If in the original the combination allowed the audience to connect with the characters, this time it is a simple excuse to show a series of adventures without greater bellows or depth.
Little reference, but without forgetting his older brother
The series begins without context, without at least relating the conditions of their students or why their seclusion in a place of particular geography should be of interest. If in the classical version the school was the center of more or less complex intrigues, for the more elaborate version the very existence of the place carries the perception of a suggested mystery. There is something almost Dickensian about the way production recombines the elements to create the feeling that in the new Boarding School, nothing is what it seems. And what could be a high-end spin off (sometimes there is no doubt that it is), is actually a strange journey towards a version about reality and the condition of fear that is not very accurate. This change in tone and rhythm distorts its character of derivative production and makes El Internado: las cumbres in an entirely different type.
Of course, that would not be a real inconvenience except for the way the series tries to draw parallels with the phenomenon from which it comes. But it doesn’t. Instead, the dark and twisted plot could be entirely independent. In fact, at some points the creators seem quite determined to separate the original story from the new plot as much as possible.
The decision ends up transforming the first chapters into a succession of crazy situations: confinements in inexplicable places, the almost medieval discipline of a group of malevolent teachers, and of course the sufferings of the students. But none of that long succession of situations is related to the vital, singular and accomplice environment of its first version.
No intentions too clear
Was that the intention of the remake? There is no way to tell: the show progresses with disconcerting speed, and makes it clear, at every possible opportunity, that it is indeed related to the original version. Or at least, it tells the same story of students from complicated lives confined in an instinct with a certain evil air. But if in the Antena 3 version there was a definite sense of youthful energy, a search for identity and the broad perspective of something more effervescent, the Amazon Prime Video version took the opposite route.
In this kind of jail for troubled kids, the plot twist of complicity between characters (and therefore, the audience) disappears. The story seems to be a flimsy collection of narrative threads between gruesome situations, none of which arouses greater interest. And while the Boarding School itself, with its strange location, its nooks and crannies, mysteries, announcements of paranormal situations and of course, sex and moral dilemmas is an entity of its own, its students disappear in the midst of the attempt to create a two-way plot.
The game of half stories
As expected, the main interest of the series is the students subjected to a type of iron discipline, which seems to suggest that the confinement is not only educational. The new boarding school is home to a parade of “bad boy” stereotypes, but in reality it is also a minefield of situations of strange harshness. The script plays with the insinuation that more than an elite space, the institution is a full-blown punishment. And it is from the disproportionate punishments, to the rigid notion of the order that is imposed.
So this time it is not a game about the transition of adolescence in exclusive and privileged conditions, but a real game of cat and mouse. Between whom or what? The series keeps its secrets most of the time, and perhaps one of its biggest problems is the general feeling that it is only a quick description of a larger universe.
Is the first season of Boarding School: The Summits a mere introduction? Seen from that point of view it could be an anecdotal curiosity or a mere nostalgia game. But also a renewed journey towards something deeper. For now, it is only a not too dense reflection on a success that surpasses him.
The article The reboot of ‘El Internado: las cumbres’: new faces for a series that does not finish working was published in Hypertext.