NBC will premier its new drama titled 'Smash' on the 6th of February. Previously, NBC joined the bandwagon after the major and continuous success of American Idol and produced a singing show of their own, The Voice, which has had mixed fortune. So NBC has now seemingly decided to bank on the success of Glee, with their own musical number. For obvious reasons, viewers will approach Smash from Glee's perspective and try to draw as many comparisons as possible. In truth, the only thing they have common is that both have a music connection. While Glee banks on a themed episodes and covers of famous songs, Smash has taken the opposite direction and composes originals (except for that one Christina Aguilera number and maybe one other). Smash also has a story which will stretch the length of 1st season at least. Anyway, here are the 5 main points from the pilot episode.
The cast for Smash will be its biggest weapon, with Emmy winner Debra Messing leading the line. I had never followed Will & Grace religiously, but, I still found Debra to be a very likable actress. In the pilot, she plays a lyricist for musicals, who has supposedly vowed to stay away from theatre in order to focus on her family.Next big name of some sorts is Jack Davenport. He plays a theatre director with a massive attitude problem and possible debaucher, who gives away lead roles to females via his bedroom. He does a decent job at looking like a tool we would grow to despise, which I believe would be a success for him. The chief protagonist for Smash is, Katharine McPhee, the runner-up of one of the dozen seasons of American Idol. One would assume that she has a wonderful voice, but, in the pilot I think it was Christina Aguilera's voice (I'm pretty sure it was Christina). Her acting seems to be suitable for the role as well. She's playing the do no wrong, innocent girl, who's struggling to fulfill her dreams. Other cast members include: Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Raza Jaffrey and Anjelica Huston plays some of the other major characters. Nothing out of the ordinary there; nothing appallingly woeful there either. Oh and UMA THURMAN is joining the cast as well.
I admired how simple the plot was. At the end of the pilot, we see in a short 2 minutes clip, what we will see through the season. It's going to be a straight battle between the two ladies fighting to play Monroe in the musical. It will involve giving the director some extracurricular favors as well. The lyricist will have problems with her family at some point, it could involve an affair as well. A few other sub-plots will run in parallel. All in all, they have kept things simple, which I think will work for them.
4. Music, Choreography and Direction:
Music wise, I expect Smash to be better than Glee. They are performing original numbers mostly, and it is also rumored that in total they have already put together 13 original tracks for the first season. Having Broadway experience would help them in the backroom staff. Michael Mayer is the director for the pilot, he's done a decent job. I expect the quality of the direction to maintain through the season. The focus of Smash would be on musical numbers and choreography more than direction. That being said, if it lacks direction, the whole mix could look laughable. Choreography would be the crucial aspect of this show and could turn out to be the wild card. We only saw a glimpse of it in the pilot episode, so I cannot talk a lot about it. But, it might play a major part in making this show a major hit.
5. The Monroe Angle:
Don't we all just love Monroe? well to be honest I haven't seen much of her myself. But, America, I hear is a big fan of her. The creators/writers have very smartly banked on the Monroe factor. They have tried to play all their big cards to have a hit first season. They seem afraid to take a chance with this not being a hit.
In conclusion, NBC may have found its first hit drama of the season. Maybe not surprisingly, NBC's fall drama slots have been woeful. Prime Suspect; cancelled in the first season. The Playboy Club; cancelled in the first commercial break of the pilot (well I seriously hoped that was true). So the network really wants this to be a success. Yes, viewers will compare this to Glee. No, it's nothing like Glee. Will that be a good thing or a bad thing, is a question NBC will seek answers to. I believe, if this had come to us last year, when Glee's success was still fresh, this might have been a blockbuster. Regardless, it seems compelling enough for me to put on the 2nd episode. More reviews on http://syedhamzaali.tumblr.com
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