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NBC takes it head-on in its ongoing battle with the cable channels with
Smash, an edgy take on the inner workings of Broadway. With production
values you would expect more from AMC or Starz, Smash is sure to light
up broadcast television like nothing has in years.
The plot is simple in premise: thanks to the observations of an eager intern, a couple of Broadway producers decide to work on a musical featuring the life of Marilyn Monroe -- despite the fact that the last attempt on that subject matter failed abysmally. But, as spectacular as the potential subject matter might be, it is the inter-relationships between the characters involved in that production that inevitably make the show 'work' -- just as it is in a great musical.
There is the blonde 'born to play' Marilyn, and the brunette who just does it oh-so-much-better. There is the conflict between a producer and a director who just cannot stand each other. There are the money problems faced by an executive producer cutting it just a wee bit fine. There's the difficulty producers face running a production 16 hours a day and maintaining any semblance of a home life.
Not only is there entertainment value in the acts that make up the musical themselves, but the eye-opening realism of the personal dynamics involved in mounting a musical on Broadway ensure that this program will not run out of steam any time soon.
Frankly, I'm just surprised this show didn't happen any sooner. Congratulations, NBC -- you've got a great one in 'Smash'.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Truthfully, this is the NBC's secret weapon for the mid-season. Let me
first start off by saying the connections to Glee are strictly musical.
There are no awkward teens or silly, juvenile issues that pop up in
Smash. Smash is everything that Glee strives to me and more; original,
witty, entertaining, but adds the element of realism. Slightly
paraphrasing Megan Hilty, Smash is Broadway meets E.R.
You won't get any trivial relationship tiffs with NBC's new musical drama. The characters in this show have real lives with continuity, which makes for a great audience connection with each of them. The drama in Smash revolves around the backstage politics of a Broadway production in which all the characters are involved with. Actresses Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee) and Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) are both vying for the part of Marilyn Monroe in an upcoming musical written by popular Broadway writing duo Julia Houston (Debra Messing) and Tom Levitt (Christian Borle).
I saw the advance screening in Portland, OR, and was utterly amazed with the production quality of the whole pilot. I recommend this show to anyone who enjoys musical theatre, as well as good old-fashioned drama TV shows. Smash is sure to please.
Was surprised at how much I loved this. Can't really compare it to
GLEE, it isn't anything similar. although i do love GLEE, it is just a
cutsie little teenage show.
I did see one review that said there was too much singing and dancing, and that is what i loved about it. Love the story, Love the acting, Loved everything about it. I think the plot will carry it along.
Was totally surprised at how great job Katharine McPhee did. I wasn't too impressed with her in House Bunny, but WOW, I believe what they say in the show. She IS a star.
I was left at the end of the hour wanting more...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So I just saw the pilot episode of Smash and figured I should write a
review since the show doesn't start airing on TV for another 2 weeks or
so and this might help those who are waiting until then to make a
decision on watching it or not.
A quick summary for those who are too lazy to check for themselves: Smash follows a group of people as they go through the creation and development of a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. There's the two competing stars for the lead role (Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee). The writing duo (Debra Messing and Christian Borle). The executive producer who brings the money (Anjelica Huston). And the director (the always awesome Jack Davenport). This is accompanied by the occasional song and performance and some scenes of the family backgrounds of the characters.
Now to get to the actual review. As my 9 out of 10 stars rating indicates, I really liked the show. I'm not even a big musical fan (I never go to see them), but I am a music fan and the pilot episode did feature some good songs. Mostly though I appreciated Smash for what it gave me besides the songs.
The plot and dialog were solid and made sense. The pacing was was fast enough to keep my attention, though the time skips could've been made a bit more clear maybe. It didn't really bother me, but I imagine it might get a little confusing for the average viewer (if that just made me sound like an intellectual snob, so be it).
The acting was very good. The show obviously has a very strong cast with people like Anjelica Huston and Debra Messing in it, but the one who surprised me most was McPhee. As far as I'm concerned she is the break- through star in this show. Her acting was right on par with the other, more experienced, costars, but more than that she has that star quality Simon Cowell always like to blab about. She is captivating and steals almost every scene she is in. IF the show becomes a hit, it will catapult her career to the Hollywood stratosphere.
As for the obvious comparison to that other "musical" TV-show, Glee. Don't bother. As far as musical TV shows go, these two are polar opposites. Glee is a completely over-the-top, unrealistic, hyperactive, musical comedy. Smash is a realistic musical drama that focuses not on the songs, but on the story and the acting. I urge all of you to not dismiss Smash simply because you do not like Glee, it would be such a shame.
Of all the new shows coming this spring season (and I've seen all the pilots) Smash is the 2nd best of the bunch, coming only behind the completely ridiculously fantastic mind-blowing Awake (also by NBC). I strongly urge all of you who read this to at least give Smash a try. I realize it is not for everybody, being a musical show, but it might surprise many of you.
I hope this review was useful to you.
Before the show was even on the air, I could feel the internal eye rolls coming. Seems like whenever an idea is popular these days, its re-done over and over and over again (Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, etc) and Smash looked like just another knock off of that little singing and dancing show Glee. No doubt Glee was the inspiration here, there will be singing and there will be dancing but they're not the same thing. Smash is more of a behind-the- scenes look at Broadway musicals, going over how they cast, to how they get investors, and of course there is some cliché drama in there, some rivalries and affairs, but all juicy shows need some of that here and there. What Smash also manages to do perhaps better than Glee even is having better dance numbers and better music, oh and having New York City being your backdrop doesn't hurt either. To anyone boycotting the show because they think it's another recycled idea, or maybe just weren't interested in watching people break into song (Smash doesn't break into song too often, don't worry), I'd say give it a try. I couldn't see any fans of Glee not equally loving Smash as well, I think most people will be pleasantly surprised.
It is so good to have the option to see an upbeat musical instead of being limited to all of the police, vampire, garish and reality shows that have been taking over the networks these days. Katherine McPhee's performance is excellent. She is quite a refreshing actress and singer. The show is nicely geared towards the crowd that is over 16. Glee is much too young for me. I am 61. The show is very well done. The storyline is interesting and kind of reminiscent of the movie Fame. I am eager to tune into the next episode. I will be a loyal fan and hope that Smash becomes a long running show. It makes me smile and sing. We need more shows that can do that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When a show ends and you go "Oh Man!, What's next!" You know you've got
a good show. I'll be honest, I'm a singing, dancing, Broadway loving
person, always have been. In fact, I've already got tickets to see
Newsies on Broadway in May...yay! So SMASH was right up my alley. I
know Megan Hilty from her roll as Galinda in Wicked (among other
things) and I have like McPhee for a while. And Debra Messing has been
a favorite of mine since the Wedding Date...an underrated but one of my
All that being said, I think SMASH will be huge with fans like me, who are already interested in the whole Broadway, New York behind the scenes drama...but if you like those mediocre medical and cop dramas, this fresh new lavish show might not be for you. I hope that it catches on because this is fresh, and it's a different type of show. I just hope they don't draw out the Producer and Husband issues at home b/c of all the time Debra's Character spends on her work. I'm sick of that. LET WOMEN WORK! AND, Megan Hilty and McPhee could give Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel a run for their money...their voices are AMAZING together! I can't wait to download the songs and sing them at the top of my lung in my car:) Other then that...great pilot and can't wait for next week!
This new show is a breath of fresh air. It has a simple plot with many complicated sub plots. It entertains you with great music and gives you a realistic look at what goes on during the casting, rehearsals and collaboration that is required to produce a Broadway musical. This is a high energy and fast paced piece of entertainment with a few twists to keep you wanting more. The interactions among cast members is so real you don't feel like you are watching television. I hope this show makes it because it is like nothing a regular network has done before. It has brought Broadway to television with a great cast, original music and a break from the many cookie cutter shows on television lately.
I'm a huge Broadway fan, but not a big TV fan. I go twice a year to NYC and try and see everything that might win a Tony. I thought I wouldn't like this show because simply, I thought it would be lame. But a director friend of mine recommended it to me and told me to read the NY Times review of it. I did both and now I'm hooked. I find the story line a bit too Dallas for my liking but the cast is awesome and totally full of A-listers. Lots of appearances by Tony award-winning actors. Great talent everywhere. The musical numbers are authentic. And the behind the scenes drama feels real-ish. No homophobia, real producers, ideas based on fact - what's not to like?! I don't think the show is perfect but I want to give it my support. I appreciate singing with believable lip synching and that the actors in the show can actually sing and dance! More! More! More!
I like it ,but McPhee ,though pleasant enough to look at ,an an adequate singer,doesn't have the pipes for live theatre and has the stage presence of a potted plant. Hilty,who they positioned for the audience not to like,stole the show. But the real problem is they underestimated the stupidity of American audiences. They might have just as well done a show about classical pianists. The American audience has been dumbed down with reality TV ,and a dwindling PBS type presence ,as well as the republican party putting forth a distrust of anyone or anything that is smart ,or intellectual. This show could have succeeded on HBO or Showtime,a few sex scenes and a Sex in the City meets The Great White Way angle. They would have found their audience. But don't compare this to Glee. It resonated because everyone has been in high school,even stupid people, and they use pop music. Few people have ever performed live to a paying audience. This show couldn't draw on the sheer commonality that Glee can. In all,I'm sad to see it go. It could have been wonderful.
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