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Fame - The Complete First Season
Fame - The Complete First Season
Actors: Gene Anthony Ray, Carlo Imperato, Debbie Allen, Albert Hague, Carol Mayo Jenkins
Genres: Drama, Television
NR     2005     12hr 48min

The Art School was always their dream. They want to dance, they want to sing, to play music, to act but above all they want to live their lives while they are still young and full of energy. Leroy, Danny, Jesse, Chris, Coc...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Gene Anthony Ray, Carlo Imperato, Debbie Allen, Albert Hague, Carol Mayo Jenkins
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Drama
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/01/2005
Original Release Date: 01/07/1982
Theatrical Release Date: 01/07/1982
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 12hr 48min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

A TV Classic
Movie Mania | Southern Calfornia | 12/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Fame originally appeared on NBC for a couple of years. This series was a bigger hit in Europe, than in the US. When NBC cancelled the show, the European syndicators wanted it to continue. The producers decided to try this out in syndication. What happened was TV history. The show became a breakout hit in the US and for the first time a syndicated show became viable. This lead the way to the all the other syndicated shows including Baywatch, Hercules and Highlander.

This is the first season starts like the movie with the auditions and finishes with the end of the school year. It has four DVD's with 4 episodes on each. Note: the episode listing on my show five episodes on the first two DVD's, four on the third and two on the last. This is incorrect. The packaging is two slim line packages, making the box just slightly larger than a single DVD package!!

The following is a summary of the 16 episodes:

Disc 1

METAMORPHOSIS - Cellist Julie Miller is accepted to the school. She and her mother have moved to NYC from the Midwest. The kids all pick on her and to her mother's dismay she rebels to more like the others. This episode introduces the cast: the teacher Ms. Grant (dance), Mr. Crandall (drama), Mr. Shorofsky (music) and Ms. Sherwood (English) plus students Coco (triple threat), Leroy (dancer), Doris (drama), Danny (comedian), Julie (cello), Bruno (composer) and Montgomery (stagehand). Look for a cameo by Fran "The Nanny" Drescher.
Musical Numbers:TAKE ME - Erica Gimpel; FAME - Erica Gimpel; RED LIGHT; MILES FROM HEAR

PASSING GRADE - Lydia's old boyfriend comes to town with news, he's directing a new musical and there's a part in it perfect for Lydia. At the audition she runs into Coco. Both get a call back but in the end it's not whose best but whom you know.
Musical Numbers: THE SHOW MUST GO ON - Erica Gimpel and I STILL BELIEVE IN ME - Erica Gimpel & Debbie Allen

TOMORROW'S FAREWELL - The school board has come to evaluate the school. Each of the kids are interviewed and we get a glimpse of their background.
Musical Numbers: I CAN DO ANYTHING BETTER THAN YOU CAN - Erica Gimpel and COME WHAT MAY - Gene Anthony Ray

ALONE IN A CROWD - The school is holding their annual benefit which is attended by every talent agency. After auditions, everyone gets in except Danny. But due to poor grades, Leroy is bounced out of the benefit and Coco has her own problem, Bruno does not want to perform. In the end, the benefit cannot happen due to a power shortage, that is until the students improvise.
Musical Numbers - ALONE IN A CROWD - Lee Curreri (also wrote); WE GOT THE POWER - Gene Anthony Ray & Erica Gimpel

Disc 2

TO SOAR AND NEVER FALTER - A dancer is chosen to audition with a prestigious dance company. Lydia presses Bruno into service to create an original piece. In the process, Bruno falls for the dancer. Of course, nothing can go smoothly and it turns out that she has multiple sclerosis.
Musical Numbers: BE MY MUSIC - Lee Curreri

THE SELL OUT - Bruno's synthesizer is ruined. Bruno's dad try's to pay for it but can't. So Bruno takes a job as an accordionist.
Musical Numbers: HIGH-FIDELITY - Lee Curreri, Valerie Landsberg & Carlo Imperato and COULD WE BE MAGIC LIKE YOU - Lee Curreri & Debbie Allen

THE STRIKE - The school is mounting a musical production of Othello but when the cast comes out Coco is not in it. The bigger problem is the teacher's are on strike and the kids have to mount the show.
Musical Numbers: STARMAKER - Cast; DESDEMONA - Gene Anthony Ray, Carlo Imperato and Valerie Landesburg (This is the best production number of the series)

STREET KID - The kids are given an acting assignment, create a character the opposite of your comfort zone. Doris decides to play a streetwalker. During her preparation, she meets a runaway (Dominique Dunne) and tries to change her life.
Musical Numbers: LIFE IS A CELEBRATION - Erica Gimple & Carlo Imperato

Disc 3

BUT SERIOUSLY FOLKS - Danny gets a stage manager job at a comedy club. The only problem is he can't keep awake in school, so he takes uppers. Doris gets a commercial for a product that she can't stand.
Musical Numbers: STEP UP TO THE MIKE - Gimple, Imperato, Landsburg & Ray

COME ONE COME ALL - Montgomery's mother (Gwen Verdon), a movie star, has agreed to direct the school variety show. The only problem is she wants to use it to showcase her. There is a great dance number with Verdon and Allen with Verdon in perfect Fosse form. Allen would later be directed by Fosse in a revival of Sweet Charity.

THE CRAZIES - The teachers are putting on a faculty show with mixed results. Doris and Montgomery decide to tell the truth and find out why little white lies are usually the best.
Musical Numbers: I WAS ONLY TRYING TO HELP - Landsberg; Carnivale - Allen

EXPOSE - Ms. Sherwood gets a student teacher. He decides to write an article about the school. When it is rejected for being to bland, he decides to spice it up.
Musical Numbers: IT'S GONNA BE A LONG NIGHT - Singer and MANNEQUIN-Ray

Disc 4

A MUSICAL BRIDGE - Bruno gets an offer to compose for a record company but it has some catches. While Ms. Sherwood finds out that Leroy is living on his own.
Musical Numbers: DO THE GIMME THAT - Valerie Landsburg & PR Paul; SHO SHO SHO SHOROFSKY - Lee Curreri

A BIG FINISH - The janitor has a secret. He was a famous Broadway dancer and he is hiding a friend and a dog in his office. The kids find out and decide to do a fundraiser to help the two hoofers retire. The only problem is its against school rules to hold a fundraiser for an employee. Guest stars Oscar winner Art Carney and Tony winner Ray Walston.
Musical Numbers - YOU'RE THE REAL MUSIC - Gene Anthony Ray and A COUPLE OF SWELLS - Carney & Walston

REUNIONS - Danny and Leroy are sent to get props for the new show. The props turn out to be hot. Leroy wants his mom to come to the last show of year but she is in Detroit. Shorofsky's old flame (Singe Hasso) visits and tells the students about the holocaust.
Musical Numbers- HOPE - Gene Anthony Ray and chorus

A SPECIAL PLACE - Budget cuts are coming and the school board is out evaluating which teacher to cut.
Musical Numbers: A SPECIAL PLACE - Debbie Allen; STARMAKER - Cast; HOT LUNCH - Cast

DVD Extras: None

All episodes were choreographed by Debbie Allen.

Lee Curreri and Gene Anthony Ray reprise their film roles. Debbie Allen was in the film but as a student.
Coming of Age in the Light of Fame - A Remarkable TV Show
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 11/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Alan Parker's film Fame (1980) about the artistically gifted musicians and dancers at the New York City High School for the Performing received enough acclaim to turn into a television show with the same name. The TV-series kept some of the original cast from the film such as Debbie Allen who had a minor part in the film as the dance instructor Lydia Grant who became one of the driving forces in the TV series. Contrasting Allen's kinesthetically aptitude, the show also brought the inspiring music teacher Mr. Benjamin Shorofsky (Albert Hague) from the original film to sway the students and perfect their talents. Unfortunately, the show did not reach the quality of Parker's film, as the series on occasion felt a little two dimensional and simplistic. Despite this, Fame still portrayed some intriguing elements of coming of age while trying to reach out of the shadow into the light of fame.

The first season opens with an introduction to the school of the extraordinarily gifted student, as the school receives a new group of students in the episode Metamorphosis. Through the first episode and forward the audience gets to experience the difficulties of being a teen in a highly competitive environment where success means almost everything. Yet, the show manages to touch on several different issues such as compassion in A Big Finish where they help the janitor back on his feet. There are also many other coming of age issues that come into focus including friendships, drugs, and education. One of the more amusing episodes, Tomorrow's Farewell, provides an interesting perspective on how dance compares with physical education, as it also offers movement and coordination versus a football team. There is also the traditional struggle with identity in the show, as these teens face success and failure in a continuous up and down fashion.

The TV show Fame received a mild face-lift, as the broadcasting company desired the show to be more family oriented when it began to air on Thursdays evening primetime in 1982. It has several Emmys and Golden Globe nominations and awards, and it secured a spot on television for an additional five years while the show slowly began to diminish in its popularity. Personally, I remember that it was this show that compelled me as a 14-year-old to seek out swing dance. However, my career as a dancer did not last more than two years, as my feet did not compare to any of the talents on Fame. Nonetheless, the magic and hope of teenage dreams still linger in this 1980s television teen drama that simultaneously offers a fascinating and straightforward coming of age experience.

In a time when art is exploding through the immense use of the Internet, it is nice to be able to return to the 1980s and see how the performing arts were expressed some twenty years ago. It is also a nice change from the many criminal, comedy, and governmental sitcoms that now air and have been shown over the decades. In the end, Fame has a terrific entertainment value; especially, if the audience is interested in music and dance, which would make this show is a definite must see."
More FAME, please!
D. Frame | Missouri | 02/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is not so much a review on this DVD set as it is a plea to the proverbial Powers That Be to now release the remaining few seasons of FAME on DVD. As soon as I saw this TV series was available (finally!) on DVD, I rushed to purchase it. I was not disappointed. These are TV programs you can watch over and over again because of the vast talent of the incredibly underrated ensemble. No matter how many cast changes there were during the few years this show was on the air (later in syndication only), the cast members always complemented each other and it was that ensemble success that always impressed me; well, that and, of course, the amazing talent, choreography (thanks to Debbie Allen) and excellent pop music of the day. Yes, this entire set is a trip down Memory Lane for me as I'm sure it is for others; and there is nothing wrong with that! Now, as I wrote earlier, my hope is that the remaining years of FAME after it went into syndication are released very quickly - and I mean VERY quickly. Sometimes, it takes those proverbial Powers That Be way too much time between releases. I personally would like it if they would just go ahead and release the rest of the FAME series together so we don't have to wait between seasons. Let's just have the remaining FAME seasons released all at the same time! I believe there is a market for it. If you have only seen the movie, this is more family friendly fare. (I should add that Erica Gimpel does an amazing job of making the character of Coco her own - a difficult task after being portrayed so well in the movie by Irene Cara.) However, with all that said, I would also say that these TV episodes (and even moreso the later year's episodes I'm begging to have released on DVD soon!) have even more character depth and talent than the movie. Each season also seemed to also get progressively better, in my opinion, with more dramatic scripts and the addition of talented artists such as Nia Peeples and Janet Jackson. (Another reason to have the remaining FAME seasons released on DVD soon!) In short, if you are reading this you obviously are familiar with FAME or this type of entertainment. So, take my advice, and add this to your DVD collection. I, for one, am very pleased that practially everything that has ever aired on TV is now being released on DVD. The only problem is - it is taking too long for some things to get released. So, if you are one of those Powers That Be reading this: Stop taking so long to release future seasons. After releasing Season 1 of anything, it takes way too long to release subsequent seasons. Here's hoping that will not be the case with future FAME seasons. A+ all the way for both this series and this particular DVD collection!"
I now own the DVD package of Season 1, and...
Chris Aldridge | Washington, DC USA | 11/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"...I can officially say it doesn't disappoint.

Purchasing FAME ends a 23-year mystery for me. I watched the original show back in 1982, and was blown away by the first season (the only season, incidentally, of the 5-year run actually on network television) more than any of the subsequent seasons. But when the show went into local syndication, Season 1 seemed to disappear into a vault. And I've been scratching my head since the 80's, wondering if it was really the magical thing I remembered in the first place.

FAME was an improvement on television because it was able to develop its ensemble of characters more fully (over a season at a time), and not denigrate them into stereotypes (the overachiever, the plain-Jane ingénue, the angry hood with a heart of gold, etc.), and do so without resorting to the 'R' factor of swearing dialog and partial nudity. I suspect that the people complaining about the series are missing all the dirty stuff that was in the film, but for a prime-time TV show broadcast in the family hour, the controversial stuff was highly unnecessary. The series wasn't perfect; some of the casting choices were less than inspiring, but once in a while there would be a fine song or an even finer dance sequence. Now I must admit that my bias is showing here because I was an actual art school student- though not in New York (and I was not a performer). I am, however, a fan of musicals from way back, and I think FAME appealed to me because it was something of a ground breaker in network television- the first ever musical series. There were musical variety shows on TV, and musical films done over the last 30 years, but FAME successfully integrated both genres and applied music to a dramatic narrative whose stars are student performers. Quite a brilliant idea. And some of FAME's individual episodes- a teacher's strike (how do unemployed art teachers make a living?), a promising dancer living with MS, a pianist living with stage fright, a competition for a role ruined by backstage politics- were some of the smartest and most imaginative scripts ever created for television.

Finally, FAME introduced some top-notch young performers. It's easy to mock and tease them and the concept 20 years later (we're an entire race of cynics nowadays), but the fact is many of these kids were not much older than the teens they were supposed to be playing, and they had boundless energy. I was especially pleased to see that the show allowed them to craft their individual strengths over time. Though the show was more than a bit biased towards the dance students (and dancing was probably FAME's most visually appealing art), I was always glad to see emerging dramatists (P.R. Paul, Valerie Landsburg), and especially glad to see Lori Singer- at the beginning of her acting career- as the beautiful cellist from the Midwest. My main reason for watching the series though will always be Debbie Allen. Allen- a relatively tiny thing- proved to be a contradiction in terms with her drill sergeant-like commands of the dance department, but when she was allowed to dance herself she was a beautiful force of nature. If you've any doubt of this, check out the very last scene in 'Passing Grade' (where Allen gives tough love to fellow dancer Erica Gimpel) and watch an improvisation between teacher and student emerge into a stunning pas-de-deux that you would only see in a movie musical. It's one of many impessive moments in the series."