Entertainment

TV review: Won't get fooled again by 'Smash'

The Broadway-set "Smash" (8 p.m. CT Feb. 5, NBC; 2 stars out of 4) had one of the best pilots last year, grabbing my attention with its behind-the-scenes look at two actresses auditioning for the same role in a musical about Marilyn Monroe. It just as quickly lost me when all the sizzle of the premiere fizzled into boringly familiar, soapy subplots with cloying characters and some howler numbers.

For its second act, new showrunner Joshua Safran has dumped many elements that failed in the up-and-mostly-down first season. He's axed key characters and added interesting new ones, like Jennifer Hudson's theater diva Veronica Moore and Jeremy Johnson's cocky songwriter Jimmy Collins.

Yet both of these characters have been saddled with lame side stories; Veronica has a stage-mom-from-hell in the form os Sheryl Lee Ralph, while Jimmy's combative insistence on not sharing his music (um, you're a songwriter?!) already grates on my nerves.

Camp can be fun, so the ridiculousness of some of the fantasy numbers works, I guess, as when smarmy theater director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport), feeling the backlash of his womanizing ways, gets shoved around by the women in his life as they sing "Would I Lie to You."

But what I loved most about "Smash" was the backstage pass it gave us into the making of a Broadway show. The addition of Chicago native Hudson is a masterstroke, but with all that other melodrama, "Smash" remains a hit-or-miss proposition for me.

My fantasy is to hear stars Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty use their marvelous pipes to sing The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," because I won't be fooled by "Smash" the second time around.


Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • TV filled with Chicago talent

    TV filled with Chicago talent

    By Curt Wagner RedEye's Show Patrol Chicago-born, bred or trained actors always are popping up on TV. I'll continue to update this list of actors who were either born in or around Chicago or spent a significant amount of time here. I stuck with actors from scripted series that have aired within...

  • Guide to February 2013 TV premieres, specials, movies

    Guide to February 2013 TV premieres, specials, movies

    Every February we celebrate Valentine's Day and Black History Month, but this one is extra special because we welcome NBC's "Community" back to TV after too long a hiatus. It's also when the high-profile Netflix series, "House of Cards," debuts. Back on the regular TV, "The Walking Dead" and "SouthLand"...

  • 'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    During an early morning jog along Lake Michigan with his wife and children Tuesday, John Corba spotted a man struggling in the water nearly 30 yards from the shore.

  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

Comments
Loading