Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Smash - TV Series Review


They say that you shouldn't judge by first impression alone. So, before giving any verdict regarding NBC's new musical drama Smash, I decided to watch the first three episodes and genuinely hoped this first impression would change.

"NBC's new musical drama... Smash"
In theory, Smash has everything it needs to be a wonderful series – the cast is great, the music includes larger-than-life Broadway tunes, and New York City as its background. The plot portraits the production process of a new fictional Broadway musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. Debra Messing and Christian Borle embody Julia Houston and Tom Levitt, a pair of Broadway writers who team up with a veteran musicals producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) to produce Marilyn – The Musical. As they cast the leading role, they find it hard to decide between the experienced Broadway actress Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) and the "green" Karen Kartwright (Katharine McPhee, American Idol 5 runner-up).

" Smash has everything it needs to be a wonderful series – the cast is great ..."
Albeit the supposedly intriguing theme of dramas going on behind the scenes of a Broadway musical production I've honestly found it really difficult to connect with this series and found myself exhausted following each episode. This is probably mainly due to issues that are related to the production itself - the rapid, and peculiar transitions between scenes does not let you really engage in getting to know the characters a little more, which leaves them painfully flat. Furthermore, characters encompass little, or no complexity at all, and mostly acts as stereotypical expected of them (Ivy is a bitchy blonde bombshell who secretly believes she's never good enough, Karen, the innocent wide-eyed inexperienced girl too proud to have anyone help her, just to name the leading ladies).

"...the music includes larger-than-life Broadway tunes, and New York City as its background. "
The swiftness by which the series producers decided to raffle through the different story lines leaves the viewer (in this case, me) puzzled about the importance of it all – the plot spreads itself so thin that the story just can't hold together. It would have been nice to have longer or at least somewhat related scenes follow each other and less side stories. By doing that, the series' writers could intensify the viewers' understanding of the plot, the characters and their inner conflicts thus making the series more enjoyable. Additionally, lacking a clear leading character, an anchor around which the plot revolves leaves the viewer wondering who should they keep their focus on – the musical producers, each with their own dilemmas and hidden skeletons, the contenders for the role of Marilyn? Is it the producer's pesky assistant? Or have we missed the mark altogether and we are supposed to watch some Marilyn Monroe classic instead?

"...leaves the viewer wondering who should they keep their focus on?"
Smash will not get another chance to make an impression on me. I believe I have given it enough opportunities to prove itself as the musical drama I wished it would be. It is quite disappointing to see such great potential goes to waste. 

With Much Respect,
SaVa.



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