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It’s not just “Flesh and Bone.” I don’t know why, but I have the impression that a great deal of the sex in premium cable dramas is presented almost anti-erotically. Lots of violence involved, up to and including rape. A good argument, I regret to say, for the censorship rules still prevailing for other networks on the tube. At least in F&B the depressing sexual encounters have something to do with the theme of the show. However, the sex scene involving Claire’s roomie in the first episode seemed totally gratuitous to this viewer.

Well, episode 3. The following contains a spoiler.

Again, a day that commences with some positive potential for our heroine rapidly deteriorates into another instance of Claire and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Among the highlights, or lowlights: Paul gets into a hissy fit with Claire over his failure to pimp out his new ballerina successfully, thus causing his angel investor to decamp. During the course of his rant he becomes annoyed by the sound of chirping baby birds. The show telegraphs this punch – as soon as we cut to the birdies in the nest, you know that Paul is going to do something bad to them, and guess what.

On the positive side: the choreographer that Paul imports to make a new piece is a woman. (You’d think the choreographer would insist on choosing her own leading dancer, but this one takes amiably enough to Paul’s assignment of Claire to the female lead(?))

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Q&A with Moira Walley-Beckett about the wrap-up of "Flesh and Bone."

Is there an aspect of season or the finale that you’re especially proud of?

I’m so proud of Dakini — so very proud, because the concept for that ballet was scripted. It was in my original concept of showing the journey of a young girl into womanhood, and [choreographer] Ethan Stiefel realized it so beautifully. I don’t think there’s ever before been an original ballet conceived and choreographed and filmed for television in this way, so I am extremely proud of that. And the score was so beautiful, Adam Crystal’s score.

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I just received the DVD set of FLESH AND BONE and had a blast watching all eight episodes back-to-back. It's "guilty pleasures" entertainment, albeit not for the kiddies.

Overall, it's crackling good cable television, with interesting characters, main plot line and subplots. The dictatorial, completely-loco company AD character is a hoot; he is 100% fiction but the inadvertently-funny spark of the show...and the most hilarious lines, especially when a** kissing the patrons.

The character of Toni, the guest choreographer, reminds me of Karole Armitage, but I'm sure that it's a crazy coincidence.

I'm only sorry that there wasn't enough time to develop some of the more interesting subplots, especially that of the Russian Mafia guys and the child-slave trafficking. The plot could have taken many paths. The finale was truly outstanding...and I won't give it up here, so that all can enjoy.

Finally, I truly enjoyed seeing parts of Balanchine's RUBIES rehearsed or performed multiple times. Ethan Stiefel's specially-created ballet DAKINI is very pretty and fits the bill for this series perfectly. Lovely music, too. It's so nice to see known dancers like Hay, Radetsky & Dvorovenko on TV. Lesser-known dancers in major roles, Raychel Weiner and Karrell Williams, are revelations. I'd love to see more of those two and wonder where they are dancing "in real life" now.

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If Flesh and Bone wasn't your cup of tea, like me, try Mozart in the Jungle (2 seasons streamed on Amazon). It's a comedy so inherently lighter than F&B, set in the world of classical music. Filmed on location in NYC with lots of wonderful guest stars (including the always wonderful Debra Monk) and Gael Garcia Bernal as the maestro ala Gustavo Dudamel. And Bernadette Peters for a cherry on the top. Sweet and charming!

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Thanks, Natalia. It’s nice to hear a more positive take. I watched the series through to the end, but I can’t say it was easy, even though there weren’t many episodes even for a cable show. The series was not originally intended to be a limited run, which probably accounts for the hasty wrapping-up of some of the plotlines. The concluding ballet was nice, I agree, and it was good to finally get to some real dancing.

It is interesting to speculate on what might have happened in a second season. (The brother got kind of a raw deal, to say the least, but I don’t know where you would have gone with that character and that was one way to handle it, I guess.)

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I got a cheap intro subscription to Starz so I have watched 1 1/2 episodes so far. Not sure if I’ll continue watching. What drivel. How predictable. How depressing. The dancing is great but there’s so little of it. Irina is fantastic and campy but there’s not enough of her. I imagine, if I were to keep watching, the red haired roommate will soon be putting glass in Claire’s pointe shoes. 🙄 

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