Tuesday, January 17, 2012

NBC Launches New Series 'Smash' Early, And It Delivers

Since the network upfronts last year, Smash has been one of the shows I was eager to check out.  Today I had the chance to watch the pilot episode and I have to say, NBC could have a huge hit on their hands.  (I totally avoided saying that they could have a smash.  Damn it.  I just said it.)

In order to build buzz on Smash, NBC has decided to release the pilot early for people to watch.  You can now find it virtually anywhere.  From On Demand services, to XBOX Live and the Playstation Network.  You can also take the jump here to download it on iTunes.

While some may question NBC's choice to offer the pilot for free, I think this is going to play to the shows strength.  It is a fantastic pilot, and theater fans will find themselves watching it over and over while trying to find the music for it.

What exactly is the show about?

*Some Spoilers Ahead*  

Here is the official description of the show from NBC.

There's nothing more exciting than the opening night of a hit Broadway musical, except maybe what happens getting there. While Wicked and The Lion King pack audiences in on the Great White Way, Julia and Tom, a successful songwriting team played by Debra Messing and Christian Borle, begin work on a new musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. When a tenacious producer (Anjelica Houston) jumps aboard, so begins the difficult task of casting the silver screen icon.
Ivy Lynn, a tough Broadway veteran, seems like the obvious choice. But enter Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee), a young girl from Iowa with a dream of making it on Broadway who walks in and blows everyone away. So who will get the part and begin a journey that will change their lives? It's an age-old story, but a star just might be born once again.
While everyone is consumed with putting the show together, real life has a tendency of getting in the way. Julia and her husband are in the middle of a complicated adoption; the producer's husband begins divorce proceedings which could threaten the finances of the show; and the brilliant but womanizing director could derail everything if he puts the young star in a compromising position. This will be a rollercoaster ride that culminates on opening night when the audience gets to determine whether or not the show is a smash!
In the era of The Voice and Glee, executive producers Steven Spielberg and Craig Zadan & Neil Meron (producers of Chicago and Hairspray), and songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray), bring you the blood, sweat, and tears of the making of a Broadway musical.

Yes, it is a musical.  No, it is not a GLEE rip-off.  Smash is able to make the musical numbers feel organic to the show.  This is by having most of them take place in auditions and rehearsal halls.  Though the final number from the pilot is pulled straight out of the school of movie musicals.  Karen and Ivy are getting ready for their call backs and heading to the rehearsal hall while singing another of the shows original numbers.  It builds and builds to an emotional ending that will leave the audience with goosebumps.        

This is one of the biggest strengths that Smash has against GLEE.  Original songs.  This show is supposed to take place on Broadway and that is the quality that is delivered.  From the fantastic performances by Megan Hilty and Katherine McPhee (who both absolutely shine in this), to the trained chorus.  The production value on screen rivals any movie musical that has come out recently.  In Smash, it makes sense to see a Broadway style number more than it does to see a supposed high school with no money put on full production numbers only for themselves.

While this is merely the pilot, I have high hopes for the rest of the season.  It will be great to be introduced to these new numbers each week.  If the quality of the music continues, it may be odd to not have the musical Marilyn be real.  Though I'm sure you can count on someone, somewhere, taking the inevitable soundtrack and staging their own version of the fake musical.

NBC could finally have the hit on their hands that they have desperately needed.

For more videos and information, visit the shows official web site: http://www.nbc.com/smash/

Smash officially premiere's on NBC Monday, February 6th.

What say you?

POPped by
Jungle Jesse

Images: NBC Universal

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