When I first heard of Smash, I instantly thought it was merely NBC trying to do a more grown up version of Glee. After watching it, in a way, it is. But it still has its differences and stands out on its own. If you haven’t heard of Smash yet, you will soon. The show premieres after the Superbowl on NBC. However, you can watch the pilot now on NBC.com or Comcast OnDemand, which I did over the weekend.
I had moderate expectations for Smash. I’ve been letdown by Glee lately, so I wasn’t eager to embrace another musical TV show. Yet, I do like Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston, and hoped that they may make me like the show. The first episode of Smash has left me undecided on whether it’s something I should continue to watch. There are quite a few entertaining factors to it, but not enough to make me an instant fan.
Smash follows the behind-the-scenes of what it takes to create a new Broadway musical. In this case, a musical based off the life of the beloved Marilyn Monroe is being produced. Debra Messing stars as one the creators, Julia, along with songwriter Tom (Christian Borle). Julia is in the middle of adopting a child when she gets the idea for the Marilyn musical. Together, her and Tom can’t stop the idea from cultivating and decide to make the show. In the process, they are looking for a financial backer who comes in the form of Anjelica Huston. Huston’s character is the middle of a brutal divorce, and her financial status is questionable. Yet, she brings in a possible director, Derek (Jack Davenport – Oh, hey Commodore Norrington!) that does not get along with Tom at all. All the while, two girls are in the running to play the iconic Marilyn. Ivy (Megan Hilty) is an ambitious actress trying to score a better role on Broadway. She also fits the look and sexiness that Monroe possessed. However, Midwestern small town girl Karen (Katharine McPhee) is vying to get her Broadway break as well. Opposite of Ivy, Karen nails Monroe’s vulnerability and want for love. So who will win the role of a lifetime?
As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this show. In the first episode, it’s not very cohesive. We’re introduced to all of these characters and shallowly shown some of their background and personal drama. Those moments were what really dragged the show down for me. I understand that it gave us a chance to understand the characters, some better than others. It just didn’t work too well within the show. A lot of it was predictable, cliché drama. The acting is questionable at times. At times, some of the actors were pretty good; other times, they were delivering lines with a touch of phoniness. I have a feeling that the acting will improve beyond the pilot episode though. On the other hand, one of the great things about Smash was anything revolving around the making of the musical. It was much more interesting. The few musical numbers were great. The musical is the main reason why I am giving the show another chance.
From the extended preview of the upcoming season, it looks like Smash has the potential to be a pretty entertaining show. Let’s just hope it sticks to musical stage drama.
Smash premieres February 5th at 10pm EST on NBC. But you can watch the first episode now below!