Smash Series Premiere Review: Be Our Star

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At the conclusion of the Smash series premiere, Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee - as Ivy Lynn and Karen Cartwright, respectively - sing to the writers and director of Marilyn The Musical, "Let me be your star."

This serves as the same message Smash is giving to NBC - or, really, that NBC is bestowing upon Smash - as rarely has a network placed so much stick on one series.

Raza Jaffrey on Smash

But past failures must be ignored for a moment. For, in this case, the Peacock has chosen wisely.

I discussed the premiere at length in MY ADVANCED REVIEW, but allow me to briefly sing (pun... intended!) its praises again here:

This was my favorite pilot of the 2011-2012 season. In 43 minutes, Smash took us behind the scenes of the Broadway musical world; introduced us to a variety of layered characters; established back stories and feuds between many of them; and set up a rivalry unlike any on television, one between two aspiring stage stars, battling for their first big role.

I loved the use of music, the original songs, the toggling between simpler audition numbers and those same productions on a grander scale. Great production all around and great performances, too.

I've already seen the next three episodes and there's no letdown in any of the pacing, dialogue or overall mature, intelligent way Smash approaches a universe that no other series has ever dared touch. So let's band together, give this opening night a standing ovation and embrace NBC's new star.

What did you think of the Smash premiere? Grade it now:


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (119 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Just not interested in a Broadway stage show. Will not watch in the future.


I taped it so I could watch "Castle"...sure glad I didn't miss Castle for this stupid show. I won't bother to watch it much more if I do at all. Castle has it beat by a long way.


Very weak. My husband made me watch this with him due to the excessive hype on Super Bowl Sunday. There was not one cliche left unturned, not one stereotype left behind. The writers must have watched "All About Eve" on a constant loop before digging in to write the pathetic script. The "conflicts" are contrived. The characters are an insult. Give us a break. Is everyone from Iowa a guileless fool? Do all gay men flap around like bitchy birds? Is every seasoned theater veteran really a soul-sucking black hole of immorality? Cringe-worthy TV at it's worst.

Uss biddle dlg 34

Make it an R rating show on Showtime ... I'd hold out for a McPhee sighting... But once the show opened with McPhee singing Over the Rainbow......her big moment week on AI.... I'm screaming CORNY!!! Too insider New Yorky for my interest.


And I missed the Terry O'Quin show (HFO)for this crap. With such big name stars and producer and how musical show Glee has done was worth a shot. WRONG.


Became boring after the first 15 minutes - prob won't watch it again


Good show, I probably won't continue watching because it's not the kind of show I usually enjoy, but well done nonetheless! I gave a B.


Oh, puh-leeze! Will no one call this out for being the kind of cornball hoakum it is? There is every corny showbiz cliche in the business in this thing, from... where do I even begin? The naive ingenue from of all places... Iowa! Why is it always Iowa? Doesn't anyone get the news there- a career in theater is hard? Did her parents just wake up from a 24-year sleep and just get the news, their daughter wants to be an actor? And the brilliant, predatory director? The hard-boiled producer- in the midst of a divorce? The chipper little song-writing team... oh, but Debra Messing's husband wants her to stop this silly song-writing and concentrate on the adoption... hey, if they want to keep that perfect apartment, she'd better get writing! Oh... OK, they have the biggest smash on Broadway! Hey folks, the Sopranos and series like it brought actual realism to television 13 years ago. Why is it that we're still being fed this goo?


i didn't like it at all, I thought it had a great cast but the music grated after a while. And the plot was kind of 'soapy'. It will no doubt get great initial ratings due to the amount of hype but its not as good as HFO or Castle (despite this sites ongoing slating of HFO every week!) and so no room on the DVR for it.


It's an excellent pilot, I think. I immediately love "Karen" (Katherine McPhee) as a character though it's kinda hard to like everyone else for now. They just seem kinda scattered around with their own respective plots (divorce, adoption). The performances are great by the way. Definitely worth checking out. I'm giving it a "B".

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