Catching Up on Some Television Reviews

 Posted by on March 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm  Television
Mar 292012

I’m a little backed up on my viewing, and my DVR is getting kind of full.

Smash: I’ve seen about 4-5 episodes and I really enjoy it. It’s made of cheeeese. Yummy good cheese. A famous Broadway musical-writing duo (Debra Messing and Christian Borle, who looks like somebody but isn’t) are putting together a musical about Marilyn Monroe. Anjelica Huston is financing, and everyone has drama. The two contenders for Marilyn (one of whom eventually becomes a member of the chorus while the other gets the lead) are Ivy (Megan Hilty) and Karen (Katherine McPhee). The weak link is McPhee–I can’t imagine anyone wanting her as Marilyn; she lacks the energy, the oomph, and the physicality. She’s a lovely singer but Hilty blows her out of the water, and her wholesome family back home is dull. The rest of the show is a lot more fun and I’m definitely NOT cleaning it off my DVR.

Comic Book Men: Is more or less exactly what you’d expect from a show about Kevin Smith’s comic book store. It’s funny and nerdy and awkward and a little obnoxious. In the episode I saw, I was surprised that the video really only illustrated the podcast. Seriously, we watch them record the podcast. That’s not fun. But otherwise it’s fine if you love that sort of thing. Cleaned it off the DVR anyway, though.

Alcatraz: It’s a mysterious time-travel supernatural weird premise blended with a present day cop procedural. The procedural is the weak link. The lead actor (Sarah Jones) is okay, but the supporting cast (Jorge Garcia! Sam Neil! Parminda Nagra! Leon Rippey!) is great. I saw and enjoyed 2 or 3 episodes, then my DVR went crazy and I missed two, and now I’ve got the rest saved. It’s worth revisiting, I like it.

So, anyone seen any of these? Thoughts?


  13 Responses to “Catching Up on Some Television Reviews”

  1. Despite the weak lead in Alcatraz I continue watching. Sam Neil and Hurley ♥ I like the premise but I have a feeling the big reveal of how the time travel is happening and why will be bland

  2. I watched Smash twice. I liked the musical-writing duo (the acting, the actors, their characters and dialog) well enough, but the “duel” between the competing Marilyn wanna-bes left me bored. Had forgotten all about the show until you posted this brief article.

  3. I’ve watched all the Smash episodes so far. Deborah, I agree with your yummy cheese assessment and also with most of your criticisms about Katherine McPhee. I don’t dislike her, but she doesn’t seem like someone who would be such a serious contender for that role.

    I find Ivy very interesting and Derek/Jack Davenport is very hot.

    I like Julia & Tom. As others online have mentioned, Julia’s family subplot is a bit convoluted and the son seems oddly miscast….at times it seems as if the role was originally written for a much younger boy and then they backtracked and decided to cast an older teenager. (For instance: I could see a young child longing for a brother, but a teenager of 16-17 would not, IMO, be so dead-set on getting an adopted baby brother…he’s not at the age where he’d really want it that much)

    Enjoying Anjelica Huston in her role. The little office rat, Ellis, is a rather annoying character though. (As someone else I know recently said, how does he just pop up everywhere?)

  4. I watched the first two episodes of Alcatraz because it had good ole Hurley, but i couldn’t get interested.

    I’ve been staying with Smash. It’s one of those shows that isn’t quite as good as you want it to be. The musical numbers are good, and I like most of the characters and actors (Anjelica Huston can do no wrong in my book!) I wonder if the problem is with the bad guys. The director is a d-bag and a jerk, but I could take that if I could believe that people put up with it because of his brilliance at what he does, but I see no evidence of that. He just bores me (I know that it’s hard to portray. I guess I want him to be Roy Scheider in All That Jazz). The same goes for the double-dealing toad assistant. He comes across too bland and dull to be any fun.

  5. I like Alcatraz. This week’s was good, they finally answered a number of questions they’ve been tantalizing us with. Of course it was the season finale, so any more questions are now cliffhangers. Only it’s no so likely they’ll renew it since ratings weren’t particularly good.

    I do like the intelligent dollop of “magical” unreality cleverly stirred into the mix. It makes it unusual. Actually I’ve been following three programs in all that do this. The others are Awake and Grimm. Awake is very good – the best of the three. It may not turn out to be unreality after all, only we don’t know what’s real and what’s not. It’s the story of a man in a serious car accident, who lost either his wife or his son. When he goes to sleep he wakes up in the other world, every time. In one world, his wife is alive and mourning the dead son, and they have difficulties because he hasn’t accepted his son’s death since he sees him every night in the other world. Same in the mirror world, where his son is barely speaking, disturbed as he is by his father’s apparent lack of deep mourning. The funniest bit is that in each world he sees a psychiatrist, very different from each other, who try to convince him that the other world doesn’t exist. He’s a cop. and in the procedural element of the show is sometimes able to use insights form his other/dream world to lead him to solve cases. There have been some indications from the showrunner that only one of these worlds is real. But which? I recommend catching up on it.

    Grimm is sort of silly, but I like it enough to follow it. It has a really good supporting actor, and is quite imaginative.

    Smash – well, I liked it, especially the actual development of the musical Marilyn, less so the annoying private lives of several of the characters, some of whom are absurd caricatures, like Ellis. But it’s bee interesting. Until this week’s episode, which was just godawful. I’m not sure I’ll continue. One more, so see if it can recover. If not, that’s it for me.

  6. I like Smash, very tasty cheese. But I wonder how it will play once the ‘marilyn musical’ makes it to Broadway. Haven’t see the most recent episode yet, but I look forward to it. I agree about McPhee, she’s sweet, but ain’t no Marilyn. But I suspect somewhere along the line, the Ivy character will need some intervention. And I love the music of the Marilyn musical so far, I hope it will be released.
    Haven’t seen the other two, might try Alcatraz.

    • I’m now one episode behind on Smash. I think they can drag it out forever. Workshops, out-of-town trials, money woes, it can take years to open on B’way, they established that from the beginning.

  7. Love the show and the musical concept of Marilyn. I agree some of the personal plot stuff is dull and can just go away. Megan Hilty as Ivy (Marilyn) is amazing, she totally owns the part and makes a very believable Marilyn in my book. McPhee I can take or leave, but Hilty outshines here whenever they share a scene together.

    I see the show going places, it’s already renewed for season 2 (yea!) As someone mentioned, it can take years to get a show to Broadway, once you get past the workshops, fundraising, rewrites, and revisions, etc. Debra M’s character (don’t remember her name), said it could take five years to get a show on Broadway.

  8. I initially liked Smash. I now find myself bored–very bored. I like the Marilyn musical numbers but the rest are too contrived. More troubling, I cannot get invested in the characters. Ivy is likeable and interesting as is Tom; the rest, not so much. Ellis is absolutely creepy and the Karen character is just dull. I really hate that I feel this way because there is so much that I want to like about this show. I will try it one more week and then I cancel my DVR setting.

  9. I finally caught up on the last couple of episodes of Smash — what the hell happened? SInging at a bowling alley? Is this Glee all the sudden? (a show I’ve stopped watching btw). Highly impractical And do you know how slippery a bowling lane is?? So contrived and and too damn cutesy. Hated the sexed up bedroom Madonna/Marilyn that Karen had to do that the producers sneaked in to rev up the show. I hope this show gets back to its original premise, but it if gets more like this, I’ll be very tempted to quit.

    • Yeah, that bedroom Marilyn sequence was awful. The notion that the workshop was a disaster was ridiculous–they showed it great, for TV, but somehow the money people saw something bad. And they’re throwing in Footloose type sequences. The Times Square drunk song was the worst.

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