If you are a fan of ballet, then you’ll love some of the dancing in Flesh And Bone. However, if you are looking for real non-dancing drama in the Starz limited series, you’ll be disappointed. As my video review above says, the series, which debuts November 8, never really takes flight and offers no real surprises.
Besides the dancing — choreographed by former American Ballet Theatre dancer Ethan Stiefel — the only real bright spot in the Moira Walley-Beckett-created series is Sarah Hay as lead Claire. Despite cliché heavy material and a predictable main plot, the real-life dancer infuses her working-class diamond-in-the-rough role with both an elegance and believability.
The problem is the material doesn’t meet her efforts, and from the minute the abused and jagged Claire leaves her home and family in Pittsburgh for NYC and a tryout at the fictional American Ballet Company, the stakes and outcome are never in doubt. Amidst the beautifully constructed shots in rehearsal halls, downtown streets and unnecessary strip clubs and backrooms, you know that no matter how much imperious director Paul Grayson (Ben Daniels) screams, bullies and soothes, Claire is joining the ABC, enduring the jealousy of some of the other dancers and the loyalty of others, and eventually landing the lead role in the big show.
Maybe if Starz had kept to its original plan and the Breaking Bad executive producer’s F&B was a multi-season show as opposed to an eight-episode one-off, some of the seeds planted would have had time to grow. But honestly, I doubt they had the strength to do so. Here’s the takeaway: While sometimes stunning to watch, Flesh And Bone is a mix tape of Black Swan, Flashdance, Fame and a dollop of Glee that in the end is more the puree of Smash than anything else – and who wants that?
So take a look at my video review of Flesh And Bone and tell us what you think. You can also check out the first episode now online and on-demand. All eight episodes will be available for Starz subscribers on-demand beginning November 8.