Written By: KJ Steinberg
Draft Date: January 23, 2009
Category: Jury's Out
It's Fame! But in 2009! I'M GONNA LIVE FOREVER, DAMMIT!
Interestingly this pilot episode plays a lot this an audition episode of, say, America's Next Top Model. There are various phases of "the competition" and cuts of would-be stars. We get to know a handful of characters who have gathered in NYC for Callback Weekend at the Paige Academy of Performing Arts: musicians, singers, dancers, actors. 150 callbacks, 45 spots available. Most of them are two-faceted character... they have some semblance of a distinct personality, and they have the field(s) they want to be in (there are also a few people already in the academy that we meet). Given that we only meet, by name, 7 of the potential 150, the fact that only 5 make it into the academy really does feel like a reality show chain jerk.
- Zoe Green: quirky, would be Lucille Ball if she could be, shy actor who is in danger of getting cut until she shows some backbone in an evening karaoke performance
- Eddie Auerbach: the hot guy, actor and singer, has very little idea Zoe harbors a giant crush on him, and sleeps around
- Jazz Barkley: African-American dancer, strong, doesn't make it in, but is okay with it because she got to meet her biological mother through the process (Nina Khari, one of the judges)
- Georgie Peech (snerk...): southern belle, buxom blonde (or, as she says, a "blondgenue"), actress, doesn't get in (but also doesn't take "no" for an answer)
- Xavier Davis: African-American drummer, street performer, has a sob-story but pretends he doesn't because he doesn't want to get where he's going as a charity case
- Kevin Cotton: straight dancer, suffers through an ankle injury but makes it in
- Nanako Kai: quiet, Asian violinist, fakes not being able to speak English so she doesn't have to deal with temporary roommate Georgia
- Romeo: horny male, pianist... make that genius pianist, he's only 14 and he's a 2nd year
- Tatyana Valenko: the "poster child" of PAPA because "yes, I am on poster," a Russian ballerina who Xavier has the hots for
The adults, invariably, are slightly more interesting and allowed to be bigger, more complex characters, but this is a show about the kids. Honestly, Limelight seems like it belongs less on ABC and more on the CW, with its main focus on the teens (PAPA seems to be college-aged kids as the bulk of those auditioning are 18) and a minor focus on "the adults" (the judges during the callbacks and the teachers at the academy).
I'm skeptical of this show getting a shot on the fall schedule, since Fox's (amazing) Glee will be having a special presentation this May and will definitely be on the fall schedule. But you never know... with teen shows it's all about chemistry, and with performance shows, it's all about creating magic. Limelight needs both.
To paraphrase what Vincent tells the lucky few who get into PAPA at the end of the script... "In your time here, you will fall in and out of love, betray each other, inspire each other, need each other more desperately than you ever thought possible. And you will bring it all with you on stage together -- and create something brilliant."
We can only hope. I'll say it again... we'll see.