Like Glee before it, I was tempted to avoid watching this show like the God damn plague but after missing Saturday's premiere of it on SkyAtlantic, I caught one of the repeats of Smash and well, it made for an interesting(ish) hour.
The premise for this show is simple - songwriting partners Tom Levitt (Christian Borle) and Julia Houston (Debra Messing) decide to set up their own version of Marilyn Monroe the musical in spite of the fact that previous attempts of it had bombed and that we know live in a time where Monroe's popularity has extended to being a phone app. Amongst the plot, you've got discussions of adoptions (Julia and her husband), divorce (Angelica Huston's Eileen and her soon to be ex-husband) and two eager ladies competing for the coveted role of Marilyn Monroe as well.
On one hand, you've got the rather homely Karen Carthwright (Katherine McPhee, previously of American Idol), a mid-western gal living in New York with her English boyfriend (Raza Jaffrey) who makes an impression on Julia and company by actually turning up to the audition not dressed as the movie icon and belting out a popular Christina Aguilera song before getting a second audition of sorts with Simon Cowell lite director Derek (Jack Davenport). The same audition where her sexy routine resulted in her not bonking him for the part. Countering that, you've got the more ambitious Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty), who I have to admit I found ten times more interesting than Karen as a character.
As an opening episode went, it set everything up nicely for Smash. The characters aren't particularly well defined just yet (the gay characters in Tom and Ellis are walking cliches and Derek is nowhere near as intimidating as the show tries to imply) but there's potential and while being a Broadway based show will not be enough to stop people comparing it to Glee, I have to admit, I'll be sticking with the show for the time being and with a second season already commissioned, it's certainly going to have enough time to really stand out. At least worth giving a glance at. Not quite addictive but maybe, just maybe it might be someday. Oh and I'm linking two of the standout numbers from the first episode as well.
National Pastime: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EvkN1PnZOw
Let Me Be Your Star: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huaauJ48JUs
Smash airs Saturdays at 10pm on SkyAtlantic.