Well, tonight’s the night. NBC is launching Smash, their most-anticipated new TV series of the season, and giving it the strongest lead-in they have, The Voice.
Smash follows a group of artists who come together to put on a Broadway musical that’s based on the life of icon Marilyn Monroe. That’s no easy feat. Before they can do that, they have to try to get their own personal acts together. The musical drama stars some fresh and familiar faces like Debra Messing, Jack Davenport, Katharine McPhee, Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Raza Jaffrey, Jaime Cepero, and Anjelica Huston.
But, is the show as good as the network would like you to believe? Is Smash worth your time? Here’s what some of the critics are saying:
New Yorker: “Even before airing, Smash has been divisive: it’s bound to annoy some viewers, either because they’re not into musical theatre or because they’re too into it. But for me, and I hope for others (since I want the thing to survive through Marilyn’s opening night), Smash does a very satisfying job of merging the pleasures of American Idol and commercial Broadway, placing the ‘hummable melody’ dead center and prioritizing fun over absolute authenticity. And when the show does get at something deeper, bolder — or has a musical scene as stirring as the final sequence of the pilot? Well, that’s just gravy.”
Newsday: “This is NBC’s long ball to the end zone. After a lost season of failure (at least in dramas), Smash amounts to a heave-ho wing-and-a-prayer Hail Mary, accompanied by a silent network prayer… But NBC can exhale. Smash is just fine — a bounty of memorable performances and spectacular song-and-dance numbers, or spectacular for TV, anyway. Hilty, Davenport and Huston are uniformly excellent, but McPhee’s the surprise. We knew she could sing. Who knew she could act?”
Boston Herald: “Smash’s original songs are forgettable, although one cannot rave too much about McPhee’s Iowa naif turned aspiring Broadway star. Her voice starts silky smooth and then rises to meet the demands of a power ballad… Three episodes in, I was left wondering if everyone involved was suffering a massive case of stage fright. This Broadway baby has but one destination: Exit stage left.”
LA Times: “Not that Smash is to be confused with a moody character study or a biting backstage satire. This is one big unapologetic feather-headress-waving, sequined derriere-twitching, high-note-holding love song to the siren call of song, dance and the theatrical life. But if there is no adversity, there can be no triumph. And Smash is a triumph.”
USA Today: “No series is ever make or break for a network, nor are we as viewers ever under any obligation to help any show become a hit. But if Smash does hit, it will prove that shows like Glee don’t have to be the exception and that network TV does not always have to fill the airwaves with doctor/lawyer/detective clones. That’s no reason to keep watching if you don’t like it, but it may be enough of a reason to at least give it a try. Even if just this once, come and meet those dancing feet.”
What do you think? Will you be watching Smash? If you’ve already seen it, will you watch again or do you think it should be cancelled too?
Image courtesy NBC.