Projek High Council needs absolutely no introduction in this article. I first learned about the series through several promo videos posted on Astro Shaw’s Instagram page. First thoughts? ‘Oh, Fight Club? Crows Zero?’ and you can’t blame me for it. The drama, and the camera angles reminded me of those two. Like I said, ‘first thoughts’.

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More than 12 weeks after their first trailer reveal, the public perception of Projek High Council went from a ‘unique’ concept to a contender of Malaysia’s best coming-of-age series ever created. The reception for their meet and greet session at KLCC was greeted by thousands of adoring fans. Similar to their finale viewing party, that saw hundreds of fans waiting outside the cinema halls at KLCC. The fans who got inside reacted to every scene, joke and twist as they concluded the viewing party with a loud roar of cheer and applause.

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But Projek High Council is a lot more than just a high-speed hype train chugging through, both as a body of work and a pop cultural platform. Obviously, High Council introduced a number of industry newbies including Mierul Aiman, Yusof Hashim, Sathisvaran and the much-celebrated Kapla, Amir Ahnaf. Series creator Anwari Ashraf, who also created Projek Anchor SPM, brought back Nadhir Nasar, Daiyan Trisha and Fadhli Masoot from the previous show in the Projek universe; showcasing the director’s eye for talent ID in two different shows in a row.

There’s this ongoing talk about TV stations only taking actors with high follower count for marketing purposes - but that wasn’t the case for Projek High Council. Interestingly, key cast members like Amir Ahnaf, Sathisvaran and Fadhli Masoot weren’t high-rolling influencers when they were first hired. So if this rumour is true, then how did these talents land their roles in the show?

Heck, I can’t even imagine how Anwari Asyraf handled his jitters in the pitching room (or was it a virtual one?). How did he pitch a show about a bunch of delinquents, running a secret underground cult gang within the premises of a boarding school? And Astro Shaw bought in on the idea so much that they went all the way with it?

These questions share the same answer, which is the main ingredient to the success of the show; trust. Anwari trusted his own vision and that same level of trust flowed naturally in the messiest parts of the writer’s room. It’s in every half-empty red bull can, every cup of coffee during their all-nighters. The script then gained the trust of Astro’s top executives, who frankly took a big risk in developing such a bold concept; a risk that paid off handsomely last weekend.

That trust allowed Anwari and Astro’s team to make creative decisions that went against the norms of Malaysian filmmaking. The product of that is a groundbreaking, gutwrenching and critically-received TV show that’ll be remembered as a catalyst for what’s yet to come.

And that’s what happens when you allow your creatives to be creative. When everyone believes in the same idea and works towards maximising its potential, excellence can be created.

So, is it as hyped as the demam Akademi Fantasia during the golden era of post-milennium television? Debatable but yes. How long will it last? We shall see, but with Liar coming out soon (Tiz Zaqyah, Tony Eusoff), the streak might just continue.