'Smash': Why we're giving NBC's musical drama a callback

smash-national-pastime.jpgIt may not be possible for any show to live up to the massive amount of hype NBC gave "Smash." But when you take away the millions of TV spots and billboards and the rest of the promotional avalanche, the show still has to be good. "Smash" is good.

When we first watched the pilot back in the summer, one of the first things we said was, "Man, this is a really well-produced show." There's a polish to "Smash" that not a lot of shows have, especially in their first time out.

As we got into it, though, what stood out more is how well-drawn several of the characters are at the outset. It's a pilot, so of course we're not going too deep in 43 or so minutes. But characters like Debra Messing's Julia and Christian Borle's Tom, Jack Davenport's Derek and Megan Hilty's Ivy, feel lived-in, and it feels very much like their relationships predate this moment in time.

And, of course, there's the music. The centerpiece of the episode is Karen's ( Katharine McPhee) version of "Beautiful" in her audition, and she knocks it out of the park (and holds her own as an actress as well). But the other songs (the originals are written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman) were strong too, and we really appreciate the way the show handles its songs.

As creator Theresa Rebeck said in our interview with her, "Smash" will not be a show where anyone can burst into song at any moment. They're often in the context of the Marilyn Monroe musical within the show, but when they're not, the show manages both to keep them grounded and expand them to illustrate the singer's emotions.

For those reasons and others, we'll be back next week and the rest of the season. What did you think of "Smash"? Is it going on your season pass list, or are you just passing?
Photo/Video credit: NBC
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