NBC’s Smash Returns to Prime Time

Posted February 5, 2013 by J Matthew Cobb in HiDef

NBC’s Smash is making a “smashing” return to prime time

If you don’t know what Smash is or have never watched a single episode from last season, Smash is like  Glee wrapped around The Voice, but it’s in the hands of Steven Spielberg. That, my friend, makes a world of a difference.

With Spielberg’s hands wrapped around this drama, the show was already poised to be a breakout. E-hem, or a “smash.”

Explosive drama with mind-blowing plots and clinging cliffhangers surrounds its smart template of entertainment, while pretty decent compositions – mostly originals – transform the series into a 3-D Broadway musical. The synergy of the songs sorta reminds you of all the familiar TV musical-like shows (GleeFame High School Musical), but the stars hardly breaks from their character into song like the Disney movies or a traditional musical. Instead, the songs are normally etched into the story lines as the characters run from audition to audition, while interacting with the hustle of New York via karaoke bars, socials and in those very intimate one-on-one moments.

Fans of Smash are more likely to watch this season to see what happens to the characters of Karen Cartwright and Ivy Lynn (played by American Idol finalist Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty, respectively). Originally designed as bitter rivals, the two develop a weird bond at the end of Season 1 that shakes up any preconceived expectations. Early on, some critics predicted that the characters would eventually dry out and teeter towards the edge of boredom, believing that the focus of the show would eventually be all about the music and the desperation the characters had to inherit fame. But all those theories were squashed as a naive Karen used her middle America charm on Ivy, who’s been very hard on Karen. Ivy wants the spotlight and wants to be cast as Marilyn. She will do anything and everything to get the role, even sleep with dashingly handsome director Derek Wills (played by Jack Davenport).

Let’s face it: We Americans have a mighty fixation with men bearing a strong English accent. And that feature has worked wonders on Derek; who went from being a coldblooded pest at the beginning of the show to being a rough-and-tough guy with pretty good qualities. The insertion of a character like Derek adds more heat to the fire, which makes Smash so irresistible.

There’s a few reasons why Smash is beguiled by even the show’s biggest followers. And it’s been known across all media outlets that critics (and fans) have a love-hate relationship with the show. No one liked the evil doer Ellis Boyd (Jaime Cepero), who did whaever he could to try to get a co-production credit on the Marilyn musical. Luckily, Ellis was fired from the show by Eileen Rand (played by the stunning Anjelica Huston). We may or may not see him again, but I’m pretty sure Season 2 will find some clever way to resurrect him, or someone just that irritating, back to the set.

And then there’s the back-and-forth rendezvous that Debra Messing‘s character (Julia Houston) is having with her husband and Michael Swift, an old flame. We’ve learned in the last episodes of Season 1 that Houston was willing to do anything in her power to salvage her marriage, but as we all know – good dramas do not walk on beds of flower petals forever.

The major breakthrough in the budding relationship of musical co-partner Tom Levitt and ensemble member Sam Strickland (played by Christian Borle and Leslie Odom, Jr. respectively) also left us captivated last season. The idea of an interracial gay couple on prime time. Who didn’t see that coming? The couple is still in their early dating phases and have too many kinks they need to work out. Sam has too many insecurities and the bad idea of mixing “business with pleasure” is still a lingering cloud over them. But there’s a weird chemistry there that works. Expect to see some kind of evolution (or de-evolution) of the two in Season 2.

The show is also landing a very interesting constellation of guest stars. So far the show has landed cameo appearances from pop singer Nick Jonas, Broadway star Bernadette Peters and big screen actress Uma Thurman. Season 2 plans to turn the heat up on the dial in Season 2, as Jennifer Hudson (another Idol alum) and Will & Grace’s Sean Hayes plans to drop by. Even Broadway legend Liza Minnelli will be making her way into the show.

With so many surprises to come and after a very long wait, Season 2 of Smash promises to be an even bigger “smash” in the ratings.

Smash returns to NBC on Tuesdays 9 (8 central). The two-hour season premiere begins on February 5, 2013.




So what do you think?
Excited about the new season?

Will you be watching?
Like the new trailer?
Share your thoughts. 


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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