SMASH! Just like the movie Big, the musical Fame and the band Wham!, there’s something about the title of the new NBC series that promises quality. And Smash might very well deliver: it has a pretty good cast, and the much-loved backdrop of Broadway going for it. But the idea is a risky one, especially seeing as people are even beginning to lose interest in the monopoly of musical series, Glee.
With anything high-concept, there is little room for mediocrity. Musical TV shows like Smash often end up being either terrific or terrible. So, hopefully, the show won’t ever let itself slip into being terrible. Relative newcomer Katharine McPhee — who was an American Idol runner-up in 2006, a marginally successful recording artist, and had roles in The House Bunny, Shark Night 3D and an episode of Community — leads the cast as an aspiring Broadway actress. More renowned names, such as Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston, make up some of the artistic and production team developing the Marilyn Monroe musical in which McPhee’s character hopes to star.
Despite the inherent riskiness of the series, there are many reasons to be optimistic about Smash. Its cast is promising, its theme is appealing, and it has Steven Spielberg as executive producer. So, it won’t be a surprise if the new series lends a pretty viable hand to NBC this spring.
Smash premieres on Monday, Feb. 6 on NBC.