You're probably thinking that I must know some powerful people in high places to get to see the premiere of Smash three weeks before it's heavily promoted premiere date.
Well, I do not. But some powerful people in high places did think that it would be a good idea to release the pilot online and offer it as a free download on iTunes three weeks before its Feb. 6th premiere date.
At first, I didn’t really see the logic behind this. Shouldn’t they want everyone to watch the actual premiere so that the show gets good ratings? But then I realized that it was actually a pretty brilliant move. Because here I am writing (and thus promoting) about the premiere before it airs, which will perhaps lead to some people watching it who might not have otherwise.
Yup, I’m playing right into their little evil plan.
Although, the creators and producers must be pretty confident in the show to make a bold move like that. But, to be honest, I can’t blame them. This show has some big names attached. It did, after all, stem from one of the many ideas rolling around in Steven Spielberg’s mind, who is also billed as an executive producer. The cast also includes a range of acclaimed individuals, such as Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing, Brian d’Arcy James, Christian Borle, and Katharine McPhee. Not to mention, the filming quality is more in the ballpark of movies rather than television.
"Smash" is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire - to be a "Smash." The series centers on a desire to create a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe - written by the successful songwriting duo of Tom (Tony Award nominee Christian Borle, "Legally Blonde: The Musical") and Julia (Emmy Award winner Debra Messing, "Will & Grace"). Julia recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband Frank (Tony Award nominee Brian d'Arcy James, "Shrek The Musical") of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. A rivalry soon forms for the lead role between a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beauty Karen (Katharine McPhee, "American Idol") - who is trying to find fame in the big city against all odds - and stage veteran Ivy Bell (Megan Hilty, "9 to 5: The Musical"), who's determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. A tenacious producer Eileen (Oscar winner Anjelica Huston, "Prizzi's Honor") discovers the "Marilyn" project and jumps on board with a brilliant director, Derek (Jack Davenport, "Pirates of the Caribbean" films) - whose talent is matched by his cunning and egocentric amorality.
Did I not mention there is singing?
I don’t mean that everyone suddenly bursts into song and dance in the middle of the street (although I do think that that is perfectly acceptable behavior)...it’s a show about a Broadway show, so of course there will be singing.
But please, please, please, do not compare this show to Glee (and I in no way mean that as an insult to either show). Yes, they both have singing, but, in my opinion, the comparison ends there.
As a lover of all things Broadway and theatre related, I had high expectations for this show that I didn’t think it would live up to. And, I have to admit, most of this had to do with the fact that I was pretty dubious of Katharine McPhee as the star of the show. Yes, we know she can sing, but act? With this kind of heavy-duty role and among a cast of Oscar, Emmy, and Tony winners and nominees?
But, she proved me wrong. While, this was still only one episode, I thought that Katharine McPhee did a pretty darn good job of living up to the high-pressure role.
Overall, I’m pretty excited to see how this show goes. Anjelica Huston and Debra Messing both delivered top-notch performances (I also really enjoyed Megan Hilty's performance as Ivy!). The songs were well-written and performed, and the storyline and characters were well built-up and developed. You will particularly enjoy the show if you are any kind of theatre nerd.
Those guys at NBC certainly do know what they are doing. It’s a pretty safe bet that I will watch the pilot again when it premieres Monday, Feb. 6 at 10:00 p.m.
If you also are curious and do not wait until then, you can watch the episode online here or here, or download it for free on iTunes.
Who knows, maybe Smash will be a smash!