Backstage

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Backstage TV Poster Image
So-so Fame-esque kids' show raises relevant issues.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 47 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational value

The show introduces kids to basic aspects of the performing arts, from music production to ballet, but its intended purpose is to entertain.

Positive messages

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 & representations

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.

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff

Teens flirt with each other and comment on how cute their classmates are.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

Adult Written bySnowGreen July 9, 2016

My Tween and Teen Love It

First of all, this show is not geared toward children younger than 13. Of course an 8 year old is going to want to change the channel. However, my teen and twee... Continue reading
Parent Written bycarlt2 June 28, 2016

Boring

This show does not hold my kids interest. They change the channel when it comes on TV cause they say it is boring and I would have to agree.. Big thumbs down Di... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byTialovescocoa June 28, 2016

Best show on Disney!!

Ever since shake it off and the older shows were no longer showing the shows on disney got lame. But this... This is phenomenal. Its about teens in highschool m... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bysillysasha123 June 5, 2016

Not for everyone, but not bad

When I saw the previews for this, I almost skipped it entirely. However, after watching an episode by mistake, I was actually plesantly surprised at the quality... Continue reading

What's the story?

BACKSTAGE follows the ups and downs of life in the Keaton School of the Arts, an elite high school populated by students with a passion for music and dance. From aspiring producers to prima ballerinas in the making, Keaton's halls are filled with talent and competition, and these teens must balance their drive to outshine their classmates with their desire to befriend them. That's easier for some than it is for others, and the process is a new one each day. For Carly (Alyssa Trask), Vanessa (Devyn Nekoda), Miles (Josh Bogert), Alya (Aviva Mongillo), Jax (Matthew Isen), Kit (Romy Weltman), and the rest of the Keaton students, Keaton is more than a place to hone their skills; it's a venue for building their character.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Backstage suggests about what it means to be successful. Is there always a measure for a person's success, or can it be determined individually? How does it feel to fall short of goals you've set for yourself? Why is it important to learn from failures and persevere through the challenges? Why is perseverance an important character strength?

  • Do any of the characters stand out as role models to you? If so, which ones, and why? Do the teachers' vastly different approaches to inspiring students make one more effective than the other, or do both have success? Which one would best inspire you?

  • Kids: Can you relate to the characters' struggles to get along with all their classmates? Is it realistic to assume you can befriend everyone you encounter? How do people's life experiences shape their personalities?

TV details

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love performing arts

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