Editor’s note – this was written a while ago but I didn’t know it because the new writer (ROBERT BODDEN) messed me up with his weird and provocative messages.  So whatever.  Just critique his critique!

NBC may have a new hit with the musical series Smash. The series takes viewers behind the scenes of the creation of a broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. If you were expecting a Glee ripoff you were completely wrong. Smash is about as far from Glee as you can get without losing the musical aspects altogether. There are no thirty year old teens singing in high school hallways taking slushies to the face. Smash is all grown up and set right in the middle of the broadway scene. What they do have in common are excellent musical musical numbers and a talented cast. Also, Glee started with several stereotypical characters (the flamboyant gay kid, the dumb cheerleader and the obnoxious yet talented girl) and through strong writing turned them into characters you can care about. Smash has its own stereotypes in place (womanizing director, talented newcomer, talented veteran that competes against newcomer) but Smash has a strong cast that will hopefully be able to make these characters more than just what they appear to be.

Smash has a strong cast and crew behind it. It is produced by Steven Spielberg and stars Debra Messing and Christian Borle as Julia and Tom, the writers of the musical; Anjelica Houston as Eileen the producer, Jack Davenport as Derek the director and finally Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty as Karen and Ivy, the two women up for the lead.

The pilot episode introduces us to Julia and Tom, a pair of friends that have written several hit musicals that are now taking on another project: a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. They decide to write a song and see how it turns out. Singing the number is Ivy, a ten year musical veteran starving for a leading role. During the performance Tom’s assistant records everything on his phone. Before you know it the video has hit the Internet and creates a lot of buzz giving the pair the motivation to continue on with their writing of the musical.

Karen is your typical young actress with dreams of making it big. She has a supportive boyfriend to encourage her, but she also has parents who are concerned she is wasting her life following a dream that will never happen. On the other side of the coin is Ivy. She appears to be very confident at first glance and believes the part of Marilyn is her, until the producer hears Karen. It appears a major plot point the rest or most of the season will consist of them competing for the part.

Derek is brought on board to direct the production and we are treated to a typical scene of the director trying to seduce the young actress (Karen ). It are scenes like this that will hurt Smash more than anything. It is a tired cliche. Hopefully as the season carries on the writing will tighten up the character driven moments making them as strong as the musical performances. Smash has some great talent behind it but strong actors can only carry a weak script so far.