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The CW
Jewel Staite, center, stars in “The L.A. Complex.”

CW’s ‘The L.A. Complex’ features aspiring stars

Call it “Melrose Place” meets “Fame” … meets Canada.

Young showbiz hopefuls from up north make their way to Los Angeles to seek stardom, while occupying neighboring apartments, as The CW gives the seriocomic Canadian series “The L.A. Complex” its American premiere Tuesday. The initial six stories already have aired in the show’s native country, where a second season has been ordered.

Some of the ensemble cast will be familiar to U.S. viewers, including Cassie Steele, who worked with the same producers on the youth-oriented “Degrassi” franchise. She now plays Abby, who goes on acting auditions while resisting her boyfriend’s pleas to return home. Jewel Staite (“Firefly,” “Stargate Atlantis”) also stars as Raquel, who’s been there and back – and wants to get there again, to the point of boldly suggesting that a producer change a character’s ethnicity to accommodate her.

Chelan Simmons (“Kyle XY”) calls her own dance background into play in portraying dancer Alicia. And Jonathan Patrick Moore, Joe Dinicol and Benjamin Charles Watson respectively appear as Connor, Nick and Tariq, whose experiences range from suffering a witheringly snide critique from actress Mary-Lynn Rajskub (“24”) to assisting established talents whose behavior borders on disillusioning.

Not only is Staite glad the spirited approach of “The L.A. Complex” lets her have comedic moments far from the sci-fi mode she’s known for, she’s also enjoying the chance to represent those who refuse to give up on their Hollywood dreams.

“I’m really good friends with Martin Gero, the creator of the series,” Staite explains. “He told me he was writing it, but he didn’t say a whole lot about it, and he didn’t say there was anything in it for me. Then my manager said, ‘You should read for this. You’d be really good for it.’ And when I read it, I realized that (Gero) was using a lot of stories from my life, as well as the lives of mutual friends who are in the entertainment business.

“I called him and said, ‘Uh … hello? What’s going on?’ And he was like, ‘OK. I was going to talk to you about this, but I didn’t know if it was something you’d want to do.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, of course I want to do it!’ ”

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