A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show introduces kids to basic aspects of the performing arts, from music production to ballet, but its intended purpose is to entertain.
The characters' relationships often are influenced by competition and jealousy. It's not always a factor, and some manage fairly healthy friendships even though they're vying for top status in their classes, but others really suffer because of it. Personalities run the gamut from introverted and shy to gregarious and vain, causing many clashes. On the other hand, some teens blossom in the high-stakes environment by challenging themselves to step out of their comfort zones and persevere through difficult situations.
Positive Role Models
A mixed bag. Even among the adults, one is nurturing and caring, while a fellow teacher is stern, rigid, and stingy with praise. The same goes for the teens; some extend hands of friendship and help their peers succeed, but others intimidate and judge in an effort to outshine the competition.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens flirt with each other and comment on how cute their classmates are.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Backstage is a scripted series designed to resemble a reality show centering on high school students at a fictional performing arts school. The students' achievements in music and dance and their complex social hierarchy take center stage, so you'll see typical teen behavior (flirting, competition for popularity, and the like) intensified by the high-stakes nature of their studies. That said, the content isn't concerning for its intended audience of kids and tweens. The characters' actions aren't always exemplary, but there's usually a lesson to be had in what comes of them, so follow up with discussions about competition, friendship, and personal success.
Is It Any Good?
This scripted series doesn't really break new ground with a premise that smacks of Fame -- movie, remake, and TV series. The drama is palpable in scenes that show high-achieving teens competing in performance as well as socially, and you'll pick out the kids you want to root for (and a few you'd kind of like to see stumble) pretty quickly. By adding individual confessionals to the content, the show offers viewers insight into the characters' thoughts and feelings while attempting to bridge the gap between drama and pseudo-reality series, but it's disruptive to the flow of the story.
On the other hand, Backstage does touch on many issues that are worthwhile for kids, provided they're fully explored by parents with them. The show illustrates both the positive and the negative effects of competition, from coming out on top to coping with disappointment. Many of the characters -- especially Carly and Vanessa, who arrive at the school as friends -- must deal with the polarizing emotions of those same circumstances when they affect relationships. In other cases, just persevering is a significant victory, as Alya discovers. While not all of the characters' actions impress all of the time, there is something to be learned from every circumstance they face, and that's a good thing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.