NBC, Feb. 6, 10 p.m. ET/PT |
NBC's new backstage drama about the creation of a Broadway musical doesn't reinvent the genre-the phrase "Let's put on a show!" has been found chiseled on tablets in the ruins of Macedonia-but the story is put across with such bright, bustling conviction that you're won over. Smash is American Idol, Glee and Disney's High School Musical-shows that tap into the old-school charm and energy of song-and-dance-all grown up. Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and Christian Borle, collaborators on the score of a hit Broadway show called Heaven on Earth, start noodling around with the notion of a musical about Marilyn Monroe. Songs are rapidly composed and choreographed, while the talent hunt for the lead narrows down to two actresses: Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty), a chorus girl who embodies Monroe in all her boop-boop-de-doo lusciousness, and the less-experienced Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee, Idol runner-up from 2006), who embodies the star's warm vulnerability. The performances are all fresh and unmannered, steering clear of over-the-top Broadway caricature. NBC hasn't had a show this impressive since the first season of Heroes. Smash deserves to be a singular sensation.
ABC, weekdays, 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT |
The title suggests a talk show for Che Guevara, but the topic is personal transformation-diet, exercise and so on—overseen by a team including Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host Ty Pennington and Project Runway alumnus Tim Gunn. There's also a trainer, an OB-GYN and a therapist. But why not an economist, a masseur and a psychic? The intention is worthy, and I always enjoy Gunn's pealing enthusiasm, but this feels like an assembly line for the soul.
THE GOOD WIFE
After a wobbly fall, the legal drama is back on track as the case against Will (Josh Charles) heads to the grand jury. CBS, Jan. 29.
UP ALL NIGHT
TV talk-show host Ava (Maya Rudolph, whom all shall love) helps out with fund-raising for a preschool. NBC, Feb. 2.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards
Fresh off their Golden Globe wins, George Clooney and Meryl Streep are among the night's A-list acting nominees. TNT and TBS, Jan. 29.
The stars of Nick's hit show for the sippy-cup set tackle our silly questions.
THOMAS HOBSON (SHOUT)
Ever bust out your Fresh Beat moves in the club?
"We have!" says the Yale grad, 27. "The four of us have been known to break into 'Great Day' choreography for no reason. [People] have no idea what we're doing."
TARA PERRY (MARINA)
Major occupational hazard: chronic humming?
"I get 'Bananas' stuck in my head all the time," admits the Arkansas native, 26. "I see them in the grocery and go, 'Na-na-na-na-na ... You're in public. You need to calm down.'"
YVETTE GONZALEZ-NACER (KIKI)
The tour bus is gonna be cuh-razy, right?
"We're going to have language days," says the Miami-bred performer, 25, who toured with Engelbert Humperdink. "I'm going to teach Spanish. Someone's gonna teach yoga."
JON BEAVERS (TWIST)
Twist only wears blue and yellow. Are those colors dead to you now?
"There's an avoidance," says the 6'5" rapper, 27, "especially when I don't want some kid to start tugging on his mom's jeans as I exit the supermarket."
FOX's new crime drama The Finder (Thursdays) stars Geoff Stults (October Road) as a brain-damaged veteran whose mind now telescopes on tracking down and recovering people, evidence or whatever happens to have gone missing at the heart of a case. The premise might make sense if Stults had a Rain Man intensity. Instead he's laid-back and affably eccentric. The only thing he'd really be looking for is the nearest party.
I AM SPARTACUS!
YOU'RE REPLACING ANDY WHITFIELD, WHO DIED OF NON-HODGKIN'S LYMPHOMA LAST YEAR.
It's bittersweet. Andy did such an amazing job that I owe him the respect to do this as best as I can.
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO ALWAYS BE NEARLY NAKED ONSCREEN?
I was self-conscious at first. Now when I do wear clothes, it feels like something is wrong!
AND HOW ABOUT THE SEX SCENES?
Embarrassing! I'll be providing my mum edited copies of the show that don't feature any of that.
WHAT ARE YOU LIKE IN REAL LIFE?
I'm polite. It's always ladies first: door opening and not eating before them. I do this for my girlfriend [actress Erin Hasan]. My mum would frown at me and go, "That's not how we do things in this household," if I did it wrong.