When I heard that Smash was cancelled, I kind of wrote it off, thinking that I would be forced to watch a cliffhanger that would never be resolved. I hate that. (Thanks for souring me on arc-based television, Reunion and Journeyman.)
So the final three episodes sat on my TiVo for several weeks. Since the TV season is over, they didn’t get overwritten, and I decided, hey, why not watch them? I’m so glad I did.
Was Smash a perfect TV show? Certainly not. Some of the plot lines were pointless and annoying. (Jimmy has a past. Julia has an affair. Rebecca eats peanuts.) But so much more of the show was actually interesting to me. I mean, when was the last time you saw a TV show that was, at its core, about the creation of art. There aren’t any politicians or lawyers or doctors or spies. There are dancers and singers and directors and writers.
In fact, the central relationship in the show is between Julia and Tom, the composer and lyricist for the Bombshell musical. There’s no sexual tension between these two (he’s gay), but there is certainly conflict as well as camaraderie.
The brilliant thing they did with season two was introduce a few new characters who are working on a different musical. They even got a new songwriter, so the songs from this show feel entirely different from the ones for Bombshell. This also gets our two rival Marilyns each into their own show. They both get to shine. Smart.
The final few episodes are the lead up to the Tonys. Both Bombshell and the newer show, Hit List, are serious contenders for a variety of awards. I won’t go into the various things that happen, but there are victories and disappointments all around. Everything comes to a close, which is nice. I think maybe they knew their number was up (pun intended), so there were a couple of nods to this being the final episode. (Which isn’t to say they didn’t leave things open enough for a season three. But at least it was subtle.)
As much as I did enjoy the resolution of the series, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to review the show a second time, if not for one particular number that sent chills up my spine. In the opening of the final episode, all of the central characters take part in an amazing cover of “Pressure” by Queen. Each character makes their way through the streets of New York to the empty theater where the Tonys will be awarded, and they collect on stage in a circle, singing their ever-loving hearts out of this awesome song. Man, that was some of the best TV I’ve seen in a while.
Now I’m a little more disappointed that the show is cancelled, but at least it left with a bang.