Heartbreak High original cast

What Ever Happened to the Original (and Iconic!) ‘Heartbreak High’?

Modern high school dramas owe a debt of gratitude to an Australian series from the ’90s called Heartbreak High. Now that Netflix has rebooted the show for a new generation of angsty teenagers, people are wondering why the original Heartbreak High got canceled in the first place.

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Heartbreak High was originally a stage play called The Heartbreak Kid written by Richard Barrett. It was performed by the Griffin Theatre Company in 1987, and later adapted into a 1993 film of the same name. Michael Jenkins directed the film, and he later worked with producer Ben Gannon to develop Heartbreak High as a spin-off to the movie. Multiple cast members, including Alex Dimitriades, Nico Lathouris, Doris Younane, Scott Major, and Katherine Halliday, returned to reprise their roles in the iconic series, which tracked all of the highs, lows, and in-betweens of high school life over seven seasons. It premiered on Australia’s Network Ten on February 27, 1994, to positive reviews.

The show was set at the fictional Hartley High and filmed in Maroubra, New South Wales, for the first five seasons. After that, things moved to (also fictional) Hartley Heights in Warriewood in the Northern Beaches. The show changed production companies around the time as the location changed. Network Ten dropped the series after two years, and the BBC2 bought the rights and started airing it in the United Kingdom as well as in Australia.

The seventh season aired on BBC from December 8, 1998, to November 9, 1999. It was always popular among viewers, so why did it get the axe?

Heartbreak High canceled after 7 seasons

Eventually, BBC2 decided that it was too expensive to sell Heartbreak High to foreign television stations. Scheduling issues had resulted in many episodes of this show that had yet to air, and they didn’t want to purchase a new series, so they pulled the plug. It took over twenty-five years, but eventually the hot drama was rebooted by Netflix and fans are hopeful there will be a third season.

Amerie, Darren, and Quinni standing at their lockers in Heartbreak High
(Netflix)

The rebooted Heartbreak High was created by Hannah Carroll Chapman and takes place once again at Hartley High in Australia. Ayesha Madon, Thomas Weatherall, Brynn Chapman Parish, Asher Yasbincek, and others make up an ensemble cast. It premiered on September 14, 2022, and the second season dropped on April 11, 2024.

The original Heartbreak High might be a thing of the past, but luckily for us we can still watch all seven seasons of this groundbreaking teen drama on Netflix. You can also watch the first two seasons of the rebooted Heartbreak High, which is also streaming on Netflix.

(featured image: Network Ten)


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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.