|Original title:||Smash Season 1|
|Genre:||TV series, Drama, Comedy, Music film|
|Production country:||USA 2012|
|Running time:||Approx. 619 min.|
|Number of discs:||4|
|Languages:||German, English (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Picture format:||16:9 (1.78:1)|
|Bonus:||Music Video, Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes|
|Label:||Universal Pictures Germany|
Content: It started with an idea from star director Steven Spielberg. He wanted to produce a series that would trace the making of a musical as realistically as possible from the point of view of the creators, the producers, and the actors and dancers. From this idea, playwright Theresa Rebeck created Smash, a drama series centered on the making of a musical about Marylin Monroe. Award-winning composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who co-wrote the songs for the musical Hairspray, have been enlisted to write the songs for the musical, and many of the hired performers also come directly from Broadway. The best prerequisites, then, for an adequate realization of Spielberg's idea.
The first season centers on two successful musical writers, Julia (Debra Messing) and Tom (Christian Borle), who, together with the imperious but brilliant director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport), want to bring a Marylin musical to Broadway. Producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) is supposed to take care of the financing. But since she is currently in the middle of a divorce war with her influential husband, it proves to be extremely difficult to find financial backers for the musical. Nevertheless, Julia and Tom set about writing songs and casting actors. For the role of Marylin, musical professional Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) seems to be the perfect cast. But inexperienced country bumpkin Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) also makes a lasting impression at her audition. And while behind the scenes there is a struggle to get the musical on stage at all, a relentless battle also begins between Ivy and Karen to fulfill the dream of a great career on Broadway...
In the USA, Smash started in the environment of the successful casting show The Voice, which also brought the premiere excellent ratings. Critics were also favorably disposed towards the entertaining series. Unfortunately, not only the ratings but also the good reviews dropped noticeably in the course of the season. Nevertheless, a second season was commissioned, but after another ratings slump, it also marked the end of Smash. Why the series couldn't hold on to its audience is not really comprehensible. It's true that there are a lot of clichés and drawn out storylines. But alone the great ensemble of actors, which is enriched again and again by good guest stars like Uma Thurman, and the coherent mixture of humor, drama and music let easily forgive some dramaturgical weakness.
But not only that the series is well acted and the scripts are really well written in most scenes, Smash also works because the musical is really good. Shaiman and Wittman have written some very catchy songs that you can't get out of your ear and at times give you real goosebumps. Whether it's Let me be your Star, the beautiful Second Hand White Baby Grand or the love duet Mr. & Mrs. Smith are testament to the high quality of the music, which doesn't let up until the end of the season. Vocally, especially Broadway pro Megan Hilty and American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee stand out, both of whom can not only convince with their voices, but also make a good figure in terms of acting.
Who likes musicals and movies like Fame and likes American series between drama, soap and comedy, should not miss this DVD box set in any case. Because the only criticism you can really level at Smash is that the series gets really addictive really fast. Remains only to hope that the second season also makes it to Germany despite the failure of the TV broadcast on RTL II. Absolutely worth seeing!
Picture + Sound: The image of the DVD is very clean and has a good sharpness for a TV series, which at least in the bright outdoor scenes also smaller details well recognize. Every now and then, however, slight image noise and resulting blurring are noticeable, but not really annoying. The color scheme is well done, and it turns out very warm and engaging. The sound is primarily dominated by the dialogue and music, with the songs in particular being mixed very powerfully. It's not really mind-blowing, but it's perfectly adequate for a TV series. Good!
Extras: Besides quite a few cut scenes to individual episodes, which can be found on all four DVDs, the fourth disc has some more nice extras to offer. A music video for the song Touch me, a rather amusing gag reel and three featurettes about the making of the series and the music should absolutely satisfy Smash fans. However, insights into the casting or rehearsals would have been desirable. Nevertheless, there is for the offered additional offer still a satisfied: Good!
Conclusion: Smash is a really entertaining series, which can please with a lot of humor, drama, great songs and good actors and radiates with the numerous New York filming locations a quite authentic atmosphere, which remind in the best moments of the music film classic Fame. Of course, the 15 episodes of the first season are not entirely free of clichés, but this does little to change the high entertainment value. On DVD the series presents itself in good picture and sound quality, the extras are a bit superficial, but worth watching for fans. Therefore, the bottom line is a more than convinced: Recommendable!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp