“Smash”: A Few Quick Thoughts

I’ve watched the premiere episode of NBC’s “Smash,” about the putting together of a Broadway musical, online. (The TV broadcast debut is February 6, after intense build-up, even before the Super Bowl.) I would never judge a series definitively from one episode. Only a few quick comments so far (and I’ll certainly be posting more about the program later in February): 1) I’m grateful “Smash,” whose stars include Megan Hilty (pictured), is more a backstage melodrama than a transcend-reality musical. 2) I’m grateful that “Smash” isn’t “Glee,” even though the mass-market success of “Glee” paved the way for “Smash.” 3) Unfortunately for “Smash” in our world of instant judgments, “Glee” had peppy, sunny teenage characters who were likeable from the first downbeat of the pilot episode, whereas “Smash” has complicated, messy adult characters who may take some time to warm to. 4) In the “Smash” pilot, plot points that would have taken several episodes to unravel on most popular shows are resolved in five minutes. Where’s the suspense in that? 5) I’m not sure how long the main plot device – two young actresses (played by Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty) vying to play Marilyn Monroe on Broadway – can be stretched out, and, once it is decided, where do we go from there? Especially for under-40 audiences who tend not to watch anything without a season-long competition to it.

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