Just 10 weeks after debuting to much excitement, once-fawning critics are now universally disgusted with NBC's musical series Smash. And though it took a little longer in the case of predecessor Glee, that show too has gone "off the rails in such grand a fashion that even its biggest supporters can't help but shake their heads in dismay," writes Kevin Fallon in the Atlantic. Both shows have had their moments, "but every good theater performer knows when it's time to take a graceful bow and exit the stage. Let's draw the curtain on the TV musical."
When Glee premiered, many doubted the concept would work—TV musicals of the past have largely been infamous failures—but the show, initially, proved them wrong. Now, however, ratings are in the gutter for both Glee and Smash, and many other TV musical projects have been abandoned. It's just too hard to tell stories in song for 20-plus episodes each year, while also achieving that "tricky balance between realism and razzle-dazzle those shows need to work," Fallon writes. "Something's not gelling when Mamma Mia! rakes $600 million at the global box office but an episode of Rob trumps Smash in the ratings." Full column here.