So, by now, I am assuming that you have seen the pilot for the new NBC Drama, SMASH!
(if you have not, you simply must! It’s currently being splashed all over the Internet by NBC).
Unfortunately, I can already see all the comparisons with GLEE, which I wouldn’t mind so much, were they not what people are going to say that they are!
The thing that I like best about SMASH is that it actually has its roots in musical theatre, and not, as is the case with GLEE, where they’ve just bought in some Broadway talent – SMASH actually has a decent creative team behind it, many with a musical theatre background, and the cast are, technically, more accomplished than the season regulars in GLEE. In addition to this, you cannot mention SMASH without rejoicing at the talents of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, whose scoring is, as ever, sublime! There are original songs in SMASH from the outset, and, I would argue that these are actually stronger than the covers (Let Me Be Your Star deserves an award imo!).
Unlike GLEE, which rams a song down your throat every 6 minutes or so, over a tenacious story arc, SMASH is able to tailor the songs to the content in a far superior way owing to the talents of Shaiman and Wittman, and so the whole show just feels a lot more organic, and flows better. Vocally, the voices match the songs a lot better, and there is a distinctly more mature sound to the show. Scripting is also far superior, and plot holes are not as obvious. They’re originally going in for 15 episodes, rather than GLEE’s 22-or-so, and I think that this will help keep the pace up on the story more.
Anjelica Houston is a huge draw, for me, absolutely love her, and I do hope she gets a musical number, or similar, as the show progresses!
It is reported that the pilot cost a staggering $7.5m – and it is very very clear from all the promo that is being done across the World, that NBC are determined to make this show a success, which is great to see.
From the original concept, I note that the plan was to do a new show each season, and for the actual musical at the end of the show to go onto a Broadway stage. This excites me no bounds, and, if this still occurs, then it would be an amazing way to get new, fresh, content onto the Broadway stage! Original musicals, exactly what we need more of – especially if Shaiman and Wittman are involved.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not hating on GLEE, I was watching it well before anyone else in the UK had probably even heard of it, and I still love it, when it’s on form, but I do think that there are a lot of broad differences between the two, which will sadly be overlooked or mistakenly dismissed by the majority. Whilst SMASH is absolutely my current/new favourite thing on TV – I’m on the fence about whether or not SMASH will breakthrough and recoup all the money being plowed into it. Whilst it’s already had rave reviews from the pilot, I can see a shelf-life already, which concerns me a little, thus I am very interested in this new season, new show concept very much. I can already also see the haters and the GLEE maniacs who will try to kill this, ultimately more sophisticated show, off. SMASH is by the Company, for the proper musical fans, and I am not too sure if musical fans alone will be enough for a show – GLEE successfully also taps into the influential and lucrative teen market and subtly introduces them to the concept of musicals, and show tunes, whereas SMASH assumes that the interest is already there. Whilst this is great for me, it’s not going to be great for people who don’t live and breathe musical theatre already.
SMASH is WELL WORTH a look in, and if you’re reading this blog, or following me on Twitter, then I can confidently say that SMASH is going to ring all of your bells and toot your whistle!
For those who have seen the pilot, I’d be very interested to know your thoughts 🙂