Flesh & Bone: Updated Reactions

The dance show I had been waiting for? Well...

I recently finished watching this limited series [yes I refuse to use the word 'event'] and I have to say, I was sadly disappointed. As a former [amateur] dancer, who has memorized every line of Center Stage, I wanted to love this. I really did.

The dancing was great and I am still glad they did a proper show about classical ballet [Hollywood seems to think hip hop is the only dance style as of late].But… Flesh & Bone was incredibly soapy and not in a good way.

The show was trapped in some daytime-soap/edgy-cable-drama limbo. Soaps have definitely made a comeback to primetime in the last few years [Empire e.g.]; and – while not my preferred genre – I can respect a good soap when it embraces what it is. Flesh & Bone always felt like a soap pretending to be a serious drama.

Was it a serious drama? I don’t think it was. It had the elements for it, but the characters didn’t feel complex or real enough. Rather, they felt like exaggerated archetypes that encounter each other in order to create the maximum possible conflict.

But that is not my only complaint. The show was conceived as a one-off miniseries; yet, they crammed enough arcs in there to fill five seasons. Forget about the dancing, we had drugs, human trafficking, eating disorders, PTSD, mental illness, strip clubs and amiable mobsters. Some [but not all] of those had potential but were never fully developed.

Some of these plots were simply too ambitious for what the show was. In my initial review [which was incredibly optimistic], I applauded the show for having some edge, but mentioned that it got a little “GoT twisted by the end”. I was referring to an incest storyline, but – unlike the one on Game of Thrones - it was not fundamental to the plot. This arc didn’t do much for the leading character, Claire, with whom I never connected.

But it was not all bad. Ben Daniels (House of Cards) – one of the few professional actors in the cast – absolutely nailed his performance as the artistic director of ABC. Unlike Claire, he managed to kept my attention and elicit quite a few moments of sympathy even if – at the end of the day – he was a terrible terrible person.

I was also quite impressed with Irina Dvorovenko, who played a believable aging prima. And let’s not forget about Romeo, played by Justified’s Damon Herriman. He was a fun character that didn’t quite fit the show, in my opinion [and I kept waiting for him to go on a roadtrip looking forhis missing kidney].

Finally, I really liked Daphne. Her character was far more interesting and relatable than Claire. Making her the lead would have resulted in a much more compelling show.
But Sergei the Russian mobster was my favourite character. No joke. Let’s make a spin-off about him.

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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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