In 2004, Giora Chamizer was an Israeli TV writer living in New York and doing not much at all. He’d lounge on the couch, he recalled in an interview last year, channel surf, catch three or four movies a week, and wait for inspiration to strike. It did, as it so rarely does these days, in an article in The New Yorker.
It was a piece about Hogan Sheffer, the head writer for As the World Turns at the time. The notion of making up wild and preposterous stories every single day strikes most people, Sheffer included, as torture, but Chamizer saw only promise. He returned to Israel, and pitched a brand new hybrid format: A daily action-adventure soap opera, for and starring tweens.
The result, Ha’Shminia, was so successful that Chamizer was soon called on to produce another and another. Before too long, he hit on the idea for Ha’Hamama, or the Greenhouse, which was eventually purchased by Netflix, reshot with Israeli and American actors, renamed Greenhouse Academy, and debuted last weekend.
Being what it is, the show’s plot is difficult to describe. Like Harry Potter crossed with Spy Kids with a dash of Fauda, it follows the adventure of a school for special kids, divided into two houses—one for the cool and one for the smart. Together, they handle everything from rogue astronauts to doomsday weapons to deadly viruses spread by dashing and mysterious villains, all while falling in love and having the sort of delightfully meaningless fights we all have in the throes of puberty.
If just reading the previous sentence makes you tired, the show is definitely not for you. But if you have some time to kill, and like that whole Israeli TV vibe, take heart—the American version is much shorter, with only 12 episodes per season. Let the binge watching begin.