There’s so much to see on television these days, but so little is worth seeing.
We sat through the first half hour of Smash, the musical about the making of a musical, sort of an adult Glee. The main stars, Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston, were good, but the rest of the cast was only so-so. And there wasn’t much gleeful about it, and very little music. It began with a portion of Katharine McPhee singing her old Idol standby, “Over the Rainbow,” but only a tiny portion. Later on we hear Megan Hilty, the other singer vying for the role of Marilyn in the musical being planned, sing an original song for the show. And that was pretty much it. If this was to be a copy of Glee, then where was all the music? Don’t get me wrong, I love Broadway musicals and all the backstage stuff that goes with the production of musicals. But this didn’t impress me. Maybe I should have seen the whole hour before judging. But I didn’t, and I don’t think I’m going to try another episode. There was just too much crash and not enough Smash.
Too much to see on the tube, too little time.
And the same can be said about the pilot of The River. This was a two-hour pilot and we gave it a full hour before turning it off. It looked too much like a low-budget Lost, a story about scary magic deep in the Amazon. Too much nonsense, too little Lost. The search party looking for Dr. Emmet Cole, the main character in a reality adventure show, doesn’t find him, but they do find his boat, The Magus, maybe the nastiest, rustiest ship you’d never want to sail on. And inside a sealed compartment they find a beastie that escapes into the surrounding jungle, and we just know it wants their blood. The camera work borrows too much from Blair Witch Project--you know, the shaky hand-held shots that wander shakily all over the place. And there were just too many implausibilities, like their making this nasty ship river-worthy again, like the young girl who gets what looks like a six-inch cut in her thigh, gets it stitched up, and then we find her shoulder-deep in the river helping to free the ship from the guck that seems to be holding it. I don’t think so. Steven Spielberg has a hand in the production of The River, but I think he should get it out. His hand, that is.
I must be getting old and losing my hearing. These two shows, like too many others, seem to care little about letting their viewers hear the dialogue, rushing through it too fast to catch, or covering it over with too-loud background sounds and music. Or maybe it’s just my cantankerousness again that finds so little worth watching on television.