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Fame: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2
Not the same old song and dance
Fox releasing a DVD set of the first and second seasons of the 1980s dramatic series “Fame” was perfect timing from my perspective. This show is a terrific example of good TV shows that closely followed the film on which they were based about which I wrote a few weeks ago.
The new “Fame” film, which is being released on September 25, is an example of a film based on a TV show based on a film. The DVD special feature on this film suggests that it will stay very true to the original film and series.
It seems that dedicated and hard-nosed dance teacher Lydia Grant, played by Debbie Allen, is now the principal of the New York City School of the Arts at which both films and the series are set; a background dancer from the series has taken over Grant’s teaching duties.
The series starred hard-working talented young performers as slightly younger hard-working talented young actors who are training to become professional dancers, actors, musicians, and/or composers. Adding those pressures to the academic and social challenges of high school provided mostly compelling stories but included one or two duds that seemed like “After School Specials.”
The show also had a great mix of characters. I remembered doughy Italian Bronx boy Danny. He was joined by preppy Midwest girl Julie, homeboy Leroy, Jewish girl Doris, Italian dreamboat Bruno, and sassy Coco. These kids and their teachers represented the melting pot of New York City very well.
My first reaction to over-the-top scenes was that they were pretty awful. On second thought, I realized that they depicted the intense emotion of the struggles of the students. I realized too that the show needed young actors with that type of intensity.
Further, I definitely enjoyed the first season more than the second one. I think that that is because the actors and their characters were that much younger and more eager. There seemed to be more spontaneous dancing and overall passion.
I also loved amiable goofy redhead boy Montgomery, who received more screen time in the first season. He was a nice kid and showed a surprising talent for Shakespeare and dance.
The young actors who guest-starred as students added another fun element to the show. I was pleased to see that “The Nanny” star Fran Drescher had not developed as whiny a voice at that stage and liked Osmond family member Jimmy as a mentally disabled student. His natural charm and goofy smile overcame his limited acting, singing, and performing abilities.
I invite the folks who feel more passion about “Fame” to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am curious about what I am missing.
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Review by John Stahl
John Stahl is a freelance legal writer who is also a fan of classic and cult television programs. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The Lucille Ball Specials
Disc 2: **The Sell Out
Disc 3: **The Crazies
Disc 4: **Reunions
Disc 5 Side A: **And the Winner Is
Disc 5 Side B: **Teachers
Disc 6 Side A: **Words
Disc 6 Side A: **Relationships
Disc 7 Side A: **Blood, Sweat and Circuits
Disc 7 Side B: **Help from My Friends
**Featurette - Debbie Allen Piece
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