Fame: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2

Fame: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2
With a new version of classic movie Fame in theatres, and with a wealth of singing and dancing shows littering TV schedules, now is the perfect time for the '80s show to get a second chance on DVD. It was hugely successful at the time, with the cast even going on tour to perform songs from the two soundtrack albums it spawned. Set at the New York City High School for The Performing Arts, Fame documents the lives of both the students and teachers, in and out of the classroom. Quite a few of the actors from the original movie reprise their roles, including Gene Anthony Ray as street-smart dancer Leroy, Lee Curreri as musical prodigy Bruno, Albert Hague as grumpy teacher Mr. Shorofsky and Debbie Allen in her breakthrough role as dance teacher Lydia Grant. Newcomers include Footloose's Lori Singer and there are a remarkable number of familiar faces that show up in smaller roles from time to time. Like the movie before it, Fame doesn't shy away from edgier subject matter, considering it was a primetime show in the '80s. Naturally, things are usually and conveniently wrapped up neatly by the end of the show but it always felt like it actually cared about its audience and wasn't patronizing them. Every episode featured a couple of musical numbers, usually in the context of a show or production the students were putting on as part of a class. And while much about the show does appear a little dated, the performances are much better than they needed to be, especially from Ray and Allen, who have remarkable chemistry together. Not much has been done to make the show look or sound any better than it did while on TV 25 years ago. The set does contain all 38 episodes from the first two seasons, making it an impressible value, clocking in at more than 30 hours. Considering this is a nine-DVD set, the fact that it has pretty much no extras is inexcusable. There is a three-minute feature on the new Fame movie hidden away on one disc, and that's it. Surely it wouldn't have been so hard to pull in a few members of the old cast to provide commentary for some episodes, or even just to show what they've been up to since. (Fox)