Do you remember that cool show about behind scenes Broadway that we all couldn't help but sing along with? Yes! I am talking about none other than Smash! I was just as surprise as the next person when I found out that the end of Season 2 was actually the end! Well, I did some digging about the subject and found out some logical reasons as to why.
Tonight’s Smash season finale will also be the musical drama’s swan song. NBC has cancelled the show soon after poor ratings relegated it to the dreaded Saturday night slot. The hour-long network drama about the behind-the-scenes of Broadway had a promising start with a stellar pilot and solid audience numbers during its first season. What went wrong?
The Smash premiere received strong reviews, IGN even naming it “one of the very best pilot episodes from this entire TV season.” The plot wove the story of Marilyn Monroe’s rise to fame with the lives of two talented actresses, Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) and Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee), both would-be Broadway stars on the cusp of fame.
“Creator Theresa Rebeck and her team have managed to capture the grand and sweeping gesture that is musical theater and inject it with the immediate intimacy of television,” a Los Angeles Times critic raved in one review.
As writer Julia Houston (Debra Messing) and composer Tom Levitt (Christian Borle) start writing the next hopeful Broadway hit, Ivy and Karen compete for the role of a lifetime: Marilyn. The show seemed to balance the right mix of nostalgia and freshness during its early episodes as the songs from Marc Shaiman and Scott Witman brought Marilyn’s story to life.
“Smash is here as something bright, shiny and new … and making a very good first impression,” the IGN review declared. Unfortunately, the show would tarnish quickly.
"Must see TV" should be because the show is good, not because it's a train wreck you can't look away from. "Smash" was never able to:
1. Keep up the drama/pace set by the pilot. Thank the whole "Ivy is Marilyn. No Karen is Marilyn. No, it's Ivy. Nope, Karen. Or is it ..." that continues to plague the series.
2. Fully embrace the absurdity once it realized it wasn't living up to the drama promised.
3. Define its characters in realistic manner that respected the viewer.
By the time the second season aired we had already waited 9 months, not to mention the day and time switches. The plot had changed into more of an over dramatic soap opera by the time we were learning about the new Hit List musical. The show had started focusing more on back stories of even side characters instead of the original meaning of the show, which was to explain the behind the scenes of Broadway.
Smash ended up with record breaking lows, and it was time to pull the plug by the end of the second season. All though we may have had some great talent and music come from this show, there just wasn't a good enough story to captivate the audience it was trying to appeal to.
The crash and burn of the series Smash was due to the writers, the talent and cast did exceptionally. Some things are better left undone.