I love “Backstage” more than I have ever loved any piece of media, or possibly anything ever. It is also the single worst television show I have ever seen. And I watched “Glee” for a really long time. I love “Backstage” the way my roommate loves “The Room” – wholeheartedly and unironically.
“Backstage” centers on a performing arts school, which I guess is in Canada, but honestly might be anywhere at all – not because it transcends time or location, but because it is literally the most nondescript thing since white rice and unseasoned chicken. The plot is so impossible to summarize that no website has really attempted to do so. Basically, teens at a performing arts school act like teens and somehow it is completely riveting.
To be clear, “Backstage” is not well-crafted. It is poorly written, the sets and costumes are bland at best and the acting is some of the worst I have ever seen. There is no theater department at the school in “Backstage,” whose name I frequently forget and refuse to look up yet again, and I can only conclude that this is because no one in the cast could convincingly play an actor. Other than the obvious dancing skills of many of the students, I am not sure anyone at this performing arts school has ever seen even one performing art.
The drama in the show is some of the most predictable and pointless drivel I have ever seen. It is not realistic because, much like Betsy DeVos, no one writing this show has ever been inside a high school. Every time a new story arc is introduced, I know the ending within in seconds, but somehow I just keep watching. I love the exploits of these kids with their weird, post-millennial names like Alya, Sasha and Jax.
Other than the fact that I personally love it, the only real praise I can give this show is in its diversity in casting. Well, it is racially diverse, at least. While there are about three blonde girls I cannot tell apart, there is also a really great mix of people of color. There are black, Asian, Hispanic and mixed-raced actors scattered throughout both as main characters and in the background.
Sadly, though, “Backstage” completely lacks LGBT representation. Do the writers really expect me to believe that none of the characters at a performing arts high school are gay? None of them? Not even the boy who calls ballet his “only love” and runs a gossip blog? And it’s not like the actors can play the characters straight, so watching them in romance arcs is not exactly gripping when I don’t buy them being into the opposite sex for a second.
Overall, “Backstage” deserves a binge-watch – or several. Just don’t go into it expecting good television.