Smash Season 2 DVD Review
an ambitious television series
with one of the best concepts attempted in television to date: the
series is a
musical featuring original songs and new renditions of popular
music, and the songs are highlighted throughout the episodes, while the
a story of creating a Broadway musical, as the characters of the show
attempting to make a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe, entitled
cast included talents who were involved with Broadway theatre, music
backgrounds, and high profile television and film productions: Debra
Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Jack Davenport, Christian Borle, and
excellent actors of immense caliber and range made up the splendid
get to know their characters as creative directors, producers, writers,
composers, and actors working to bring Broadway productions to life.
problem with all of that wonderful, feat-tapping jazz? The drama behind
scenes. As the tagline on the season two DVD set proclaims, "Follow
Dream. Watch Your Back.", and that message could probably be said about
the production of Smash itself. This
was probably, essentially, the main
thing that led to the series cancellation following its two year run.
premiered to gigantic ratings and over the course of the first season
ratings fell and were not anywhere near what the show began with, and
already beginning to consider writing the show off with cancellation.
was critically well received though, at least in regards to the early
and there was still a loyal fan-base of viewers tuning in weekly. It
renewed but with some changes in places. Starting with the decision to
series creator from working on the show.
Rebeck was supposedly difficult for the other writers to work with as
requiring them to send scripts to her for re-writes before they went to
production, and this is a show that wouldn't be made with writer-room
(which most shows apparently do not attempt, with exceptions being
shows like The West Wing and Mad Men).
If the show-runner was really
creating all that drama for the other writers, it was never felt on the
The show spoke for itself as a quality production.
writing was good. Rebeck is talented, and created one of the best shows
NBC has aired in the past decade. Yet the creative rug was
out from under her and she was fired from the show because of
from other writers on the show and also apparently a head producer (not
producer Steven Spielberg, who apparently wasn't aware the drama was
within the production).
enters the second season of Smash.
The show has some brand new writers (entirely new to the production)
brand new show-runner who wasn't even involved with the series during
season outing. The new creative director of the writing became Joshua
Safran (Gossip Girl), who began the second
season on a bad note which didn't manage to wrap up any of the season
finale cliff-hangers or continuing plot-threads. Instead... REBOOT time
I wasn't impressed as the show began writing off characters with one
write-offs and plotlines were ignored or forgotten. The show felt like
strange, hollow, and cold version I wasn't familiar with and it felt
giant network-created disaster.
I loved was seemingly still around, but it didn't feel the same at all
characters felt, well, as out of character as one might imagine with a
show-runner who hadn't worked on the show before. The season also began
much touted multi-episode guest appearance from singer/actress Jennifer
whose appearance was essentially wasted by having her simply singing
beautifully) while she was supposed to have a good story arc.
an immense talent but the writers gave her nothing to work with and she
of her run on Smash simply singing songs
(admittedly, with near perfection), which was not a thing the series
when it was trying to retain viewership and find new audience members.
should have been a ratings boost by introducing a cool
story arc, simply seemed to feel like the typical
network-executive idea: "Hey, as long as we have Jennifer Hudson, we're
guaranteed a ratings boost, no matter
long before I was feeling like writing off the show as most of the main
felt like an out of character shell of the former characters that made
world of the first season. It's no
surprise knowing that most of the loyal viewing audience ditched the
it started to be something drastically different. Smash
was quickly becoming a ratings bomb.
the series didn't just continue declining in quality from there. With much surprise, Safran actually managed to
become the "most improved" writer of the show and brought something
good to the table in the second half of the season and going in to the
ending. Concluding the show on a good note
be a priority. The show was essentially guaranteed cancellation by that
and yet the last episodes of Smash were
season introduced a new plot-line involving some new characters, which
something the show didn't necessarily need. This secondary plot was so
off-putting, essentially taking away time from the main one: the creation of the Bombshell Marilyn
production. However, it grew on me, and became a
good part of the season overall. The developed storyline fit well with
show, but the music was a different thing. The new songwriting for this
side-plot involved too many composers; some good, some downright
also didn't help that a lot of the choreography was new for this new
side-plotted musical called "Hit List" and that the series also had
multiple choreographers, unlike during season one, where one immensely
person handled the behind-the-scenes work on a grand scale.
best qualities of the show remains intact. That is the writing duo of
Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who continued to write new songs for the Bombshell musical element on Smash and
during other key moments of
the series. The songs they wrote were great and one essential element
the show was as good as it was -- the
music -- the original music of
immense quality that was brought to life by the cast.
of the day, Smash: Season 2 isn't as
bad as I thought it might be when I heard the original show-runner had
Nonetheless, I can't help but wonder if the show is something that
be on air today with many more seasons to go if the network had simply
the show to creatively flourish on its own terms: the creators terms.
series wasn't flawless in season one. Who knows what would have
know is that Season 2 starts off bumpy and with a lot
of bad episodes, then returns to being a quality production by
the time the second half of the season rolls around. I enjoyed the
last few episodes and the series finale were worth the trip and fans of
Smash will certainly enjoy revisiting it
after the rocky start is overcome. The series was never flawless.
was one of the more ambitious and entertaining shows on television.
engaging songs, musical numbers, and some memorable characters it was a
show. Smash's run may be over but
hopefully there can be a Broadway revival. One can dream.
Season 2 arrives
with high quality transfers of the episodes that mirror the PQ found on
first season set release. The show looks splendid for the most part,
PQ which represents the series well, and that will please series fans.
the musical numbers, Smash looks at its absolute best with lush colors
impressive wonderment throughout the presentation. The image has that
modern television show "look" that works well for it.
5.1 Dolby Digital audio isn't a
showstopper, perhaps, but during the musical numbers it definitely
liven things up quite a bit with some nice surround activity and space
the musical qualities of this show. The sound design is relatively high
quality. It certainly impresses for a television show and one in which
the main attraction is the music.
SDH subtitles (for the deaf
and hard of hearing) are included.
only bonus materials are
"never before seen dance numbers", deleted scenes, and a quick
outtakes reel. The dance numbers are essentially rolled in with the
sequences to show moments cut from the broadcast version.
are several deleted scenes
included across the season's release, with some deleted footage
each disc. The cut funny-moments are cute and charm, but are just the
cast outtakes you can find on any DVD release. There aren't any great
materials (or an option to select-a-song for standalone playback, which
hoping for with both seasons).
not a smash hit. It crashed
and burned by the series finale, at least when it came to ratings. The
season was generally consistent and high quality for the entire run.
started off abysmally and went through peaks and valleys where the show
downright bad before returning to a state of generally high-quality
The series picked back up and managed a good final run of episodes.
bad relatively no one watched these episodes as it aired as the show
been salvageable then. However, the series final episode basically
show on a rather (surprisingly) good note. Fans won't feel like the
lacks an ending.
miss Smash. It was one of the best
shows created in the past few years of television. There were some bad
plot-lines, annoying characters, and the overall quality of the
in many ways inconsistent. But when it was good, or should I say great, it was amazing, and the show
managed to be a fun, thrilling, and memorable musical-show unlike
seen with television to date. I love the show and I genuinely hope it
discover a growing new audience on DVD. Because, when you get down to
it, Smash really was a 'smash' creation;
something downright beautiful, memorable, and
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.