Neither ‘Smashing’ nor Dashing

Courtesy of NBC

Courtesy of NBC

The brand new season of NBC’s musical drama “Smash” has come back with an all-new second season. Introducing new characters and plotlines, all while re-imagining the original characters, “Smash” desperately tries to hang onto its viewers.

“Smash” revolves around a group of playwrights who are trying to create a musical. Julia Houston (Debra Messing) and Ton Levitt (Christian Borle), both of whom comprise a successful writing team, come up with the idea of creating a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. They enlist the help of producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) and director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport) to get the musical off the ground and toward a future on Broadway.

Meanwhile, Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) and Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) are two actresses both struggling to star on Broadway, and the two potential stars clash heads when they are both given callbacks for the role of Marilyn.

With the pilot pulling in over 11 million viewers, “Smash” was the highest rated drama series from NBC in four years. However, after ending the first season with a little over half of their original viewers, “Smash” needed a great comeback for its second season.

In order to retrieve some of their viewers, the show brought in Jennifer Hudson, who unfortunately did not prove as useful as projected. Her character, Veronica Moore, was introduced in the first episode of the newest season, and although the number of viewers did not show it, her performance was stellar. Covering songs such as “I Got Love” and “Soon As I Get Home,” Hudson is a force to be reckoned with.

Hudson is not only a fantastic singer, but also a great actress. After appearing in three episodes so far this season, she has been able to develop her character very well.

Returning for a second season, Hilty has come back better than ever. Conquering many songs including “(They Just Keep) Moving the Line,” she continues to represent the best of Broadway. She continually captures, without struggle, the rollercoaster of emotion that makes up her character, Ivy.

Although most of the actors in this show do a great job creating and bringing these characters to life, there are some that fall short. Katharine McPhee has come far since her time on “American Idol,” but the shift from just singing to acting is not a transition many can make. McPhee’s portrayal of Karen is less than brilliant. She has a very monotone speaking voice, and her singing voice is only a little better than her speaking. Although McPhee’s tone has greatly improved since she was on “American Idol,” she still struggles with the range of her voice compared to the other actors and actresses.

Aside from the actors, the plotline of “Smash” proves to be relatively linear and shallow. The creators will throw in a plot twist once in a while, but other than that, it is very easy to tell where the storyline is headed. On top of that, the show has very little depth to it. Very few of the roles are given backstories, making it hard to understand why certain characters do the things they do.

“Smash” would be a great show if the plotline of the show was written better. It already has such talented actors and actresses that if the script is written with more unpredictability and a deeper meaning, the show would truly be a “Smash.”

Not recommended: The plot of this TV musical is lackluster and shallow.