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Mainstream - Fame - Seasons 1 and 2

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Fame The Complete Seasons 1 & 2
Gene Anthony Ray, Lori Singer, Lee Curreri, Erica Gimpel
Full Screen
9 DVD, 39 episodes
Originally broadcast 1982-97
MGM Home Entertainment 2009

Fame is a TV musical and drama show that overstayed its welcome because Carlo Imperato (Danny) was held back a year or two. Inspired from the hit musical and movie Fame, the TV show was very good at first. It is no coincidence the Fame DVD set for The Complete Seasons 1 and 2 is being released in time for the movie’s 2009 remake. This box set features 9 DVD for 39 episodes, a minor special feature, and the best years of the show.

Seasons 1 and 2 of Fame are the best in the series. The characters are developing thus interesting and not yet predictable, each show’s impromptu song and dance number doesn’t feel preprogrammed and episodes do not feel like repeats from a previous year’s.

The real strength of Fame Season One is the series’ interesting characters, Bruno Martelli, Coco, Julie Miller are there and the teachers like the music teacher (Albert Hague) are not yet caricatures. Dance teacher Debbie Allen is not yet a prima donna dragon. Look for Allen as the school principal in the 2009 Fame movie.

The dynamics between Bruno, Coco, Lulie, Doris, and Montgomery (and sometimes the dreadful Danny) makes the show believable and fun to watch.  

The drama part of this TV version of the musical gets in gear with episode 5 where Bruno falls for a dancer with MS. Other Season 1 shows tackle drug use sort of, playing savior when Doris tries to reform a hooker, stage mothers and other parental problems, and the ego bruising entertainment business. Hey, always time for a song and dance number though.

Season 2 of this Fame DVD set features 23 shows including a kind of best of: The Kids From Fame in the U.K. The Doris in Oz is fun to watch. Issues addressed here include censorship, death, suicide, crash diets, and racism. Nothing a dance number can’t fix.

It would have been nice if the Season 1 and 2 Fame DVD sets had included a booklet with an episode list and synopsis.

Look for Fran Dresher of The Nanny fame in a small part in the first episode of Fame Season 1.

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