Despite what the press may have you believe, Smash is a show worth your time. Here we take a look at how it has evolved and why you should come along as Smash moves to Saturday nights.

It’s no secret that Smash’s ratings have been less than stellar. A few weeks ago it hit record lows and the situation has become so dire that the network was cornered into moving it to a Saturday night time slot. (Were you as shocked as we were to learn that original content still premiered on weekends? Because, yeah. Who even knew that was still a thing?!) The most likely scenario to expect from the change is that the show will move to its new spot, where it’ll become lost in the chaos of the weekend, limp along until the final episodes of the season play out, to where Smash will reach its ultimate demise.

But here’s the thing. Smash is actually a good show.

Now before everyone starts lighting those torches and sharpening those pitchforks, allow us to have a moment of your time to present the evidence. Hopefully though, you can try and leave those pesky expectations at the door and judge the show for what it is. Not for what is has been or what everyone is saying it is. If you’re intrigued and like what you see then maybe you can tune in next week! But if not, that’s ok too. Just continue to not-watch and we’ll let this thing play out as expected.

Dropping the Dead Weight

Smash - Season 2

Smash had a lot of trouble in its first season. There’s no denying it. Plot direction was shaky, there were several irrelevant characters with lackluster talent, and some of the magic of the premier was lost. But virtually everything the fans passionately disliked was eliminated. Julia’s (frequently irritating) son Leo and (often distracting) husband Frank were phased out. The manipulating personal assistant Ellis was written off. And even Karen’s adulterer boyfriend was dropped along the way. They cut out all that unnecessary jazz and put their energy into constructing characters worth following.

Fans can’t really ask for more than that. The production listened to the audience’s feedback and agreed with them. They recognized there were weaknesses and instead of sticking to their guns despite the problem, they chose to rectify the situation. There are quite a few shows on TV right now that could afford to learn this same lesson. It may have taken Smash a while to settle into itself, but it got there in the end. And, it would be very sad if this was a ‘too little too late’ situation because there’s still so much in this show to enjoy.

Old Favorites Remain

Old Favorites Remain

You know how on some shows there’s just that one character everyone loves? Well, on Smash that prize goes to Tom Levitt. Seriously, Tom is a perfect human being and what Christian Borle brings to the role is priceless. If you have a problem with Tom your judgment is going to be seriously questioned. It’s not just his mannerisms, kindness, or talent that makes you fall in love with him – it’s also his relationship with Julia. Those two are family. The richness Debra Messing brings to her half of the pairing is absolutely heart warming. Their relationship makes people believe in friendship. Long after all the couples on this show fall apart, Tom and Julia will be as strong as ever.

Derek is another character that hasn’t lost the qualities that make him special. He’s still an arrogant, bossy, entitled ass… But frankly, these are the things we love about him. We love how he can command a room or take charge of a situation. Because at the end of the day, we know that he does it to get the best out of a show or a person. He pushes and antagonizes to make things better. Not to mention, this season Derek has expanded a bit and we’re finally getting to see some of his vulnerabilities that were only hinted at before.

On top of all that, the focus of the show has shifted back to the theater. No more cheating partners, scheming assistants, or mamma drama. The show is centered around two up and coming shows – Bombshell and Hit List.

Which brings us to…

Jeremy Jordan and Andy Mientus

Jeremy Jordan and Andy Mientus

Easily the best new additions to the show – Jeremy and Andy play the friendly and professional theater duo Jimmy Collins and Kyle Bishop. The two characters are introduced as a composing and writing team at the very start of their careers. Jimmy is a scrappy and slightly troubled soul that is also spilling over with talent. Since he’s not the easiest to get along with, Kyle his best friend and business partner often acts as his – charming and sweet – doorway to the world.

Now, we can admit these aren’t the most original characters in the world… But, the actors who inhabit these guys have made them incredibly compelling and watchable. It takes a special kind of talent and chemistry to really pull off the type of relationship that Jimmy and Kyle have. The two are life long friends but they’re also trying to break into an extremely competitive business… Add to that the underlying romantic tension between the pair and you have a recipe for something quite entertaining.

Jeremy and Andy have impressed us week-after-week with what they’ve brought to the show. Andy gives Kyle a youthful and optimistic spirit that somehow avoids becoming naive or bland. He’s sweet, real, layered… And every time he’s on screen you have to force yourself from smiling like a loon. Jimmy on the other hand is a bit abrasive and impatient and the audience is supposed to wonder why Kyle would put up with him. Although, from the second Jeremy comes on screen, his charisma takes over and you fall in love instantly.

This isn’t even highlighting their outstanding vocal performances on the show! Which are absolutely swoon worthy bee-tee-dubs. If you don’t love either of these songs then we recommend you get your ears checked. Fast.

‘Smash’ – Broadway Here I Come

‘Smash’ – This Will Be Our Year

Broadway Quality Performances

Smash

There is no need to kid ourselves about this one. Musical theater just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. You either enjoy it or tease, mercilessly, those that do. But here’s the thing. A lot of people just haven’t been exposed to Broadway or theater culture. Not everyone has access to theatrical venues much less the finances to afford ticket prices. In reality this sort of entertainment is still kind of reserved for a fortunate few.

There is so much fun to be had in musical theater! Shows like Glee have really popped open the door to this demographic and shown that singing and dancing kids can be extremely successful. That being said though, Glee has its own type of audience. It’s not geared for adults nor does it have the on stage Broadway element of Smash. Take a look at these for example:

‘Smash’ – Public Relations

‘Smash’ – (Let’s Start) Tomorrow Tonight

And if those are a little to Classic Broadway for you, maybe something a little more contemporary will satisfy your apatite

‘Smash’ – I Heard Your Voice in a Dream

Tell us one place we can see something like this on TV other than Smash? There HAS to be an audience for this type of thing. A sizeable and interested group willing to tune in every week. And frankly, part of that group is probably you. How many of you have fallen in love with Rent, Chicago, Across the Universe, or Moulin Rouge, or even Footloose?! These are all different expressions of a singular concept. Story + Music = Entertainment. And Smash is just a new adaptation of the musical genre.

Maybe the tide has already turned and it’s too late for this show to regain its footing. It’s really not because the show is a flop. It’s because the audience gave up just a little too soon or because the intended viewers never found the show to begin with. If the network wants to let Smash go, so be it, but we refuse to let it go down with a bad name. Because, at the end of the day – this was the show brave enough to invest in televised musical theater – and that’s something to be proud of.

What do you think of ‘Smash’? Is it something more people should be watching or a show that has reached its end?

Hollywood reacts to ‘Begin Again’ director’s candid criticism of Keira Knightley’s acting skills

Should the trust between actors and directors ever be broken?

10:33 am EDT, May 30, 2016

After Begin Again director John Carney’s candid comments about Keira Knightley’s acting went viral, Hollywood has taken to Twitter to defend the British actress.

In case you’ve somehow not heard the story, here’s the sitch:

Over the weekend, The Independent released an interview with Irish director John Carney, in which he had some harsh words for former colleague Keira Knightley.

The pair worked together on the 2013 musical rom-com Begin Again, where Knightley starred opposite Mark Ruffalo as a promising young folk singer recovering from a broken heart.

Carney evidently wasn’t satisfied with Knightley’s performance, claiming she “always has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done.”

Related: Exclusive: Keira Knightley, Joe Wright talk Anna Karenina and the choice to set it in the world of theater

Going on to praise both Ruffalo and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s performances, Carney said, “I think that that’s what you need as an actor; you need to not be afraid to find out who you really are when the camera’s rolling. Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that.”

“I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars,” he continued. “I don’t want to rubbish Keira, but you know it’s hard being a film actor and it requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don’t think she’s ready for yet and I certainly don’t think she was ready for on that film.”

Carney concluded, “I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.”

Now, Carney clearly had a frustrating experience working with Knightley on this film, and his distinction between ‘proper film actors’ and ‘movie stars’ may be legitimate in theory. Begin Again certainly wasn’t the great critical hit that Carney’s Once had been, and at the time of the movie’s release, Keira Knightley herself admitted that she struggled with the material, not being a singer-songwriter herself and having no great appreciation for music.

“It’s terrible. I know nothing about music whatsoever,” she told The Guardian. “I was always more into reading and drama. I was such a geek. … There’s often a huge link between music and memory. And I’ve got such a bad memory.”

But the issue Hollywood professionals have with Carney’s comments seem to have less to do with Knightley’s specific performance, and more about the fact that Carney made these comments at all.

Ava DuVernay certainly makes a great point about why Carney should have stayed silent:

Both industry professionals and notable journalists have joined DuVernay in speaking out against Carney. Here are some of their reactions:

All the same, there are some that find Carney’s candidness refreshing.

What do you think? Should John Carney have held back his criticism of Keira Knightley out of professional courtesy? Or was he right to share his negative experience?

John Carney rose to international fame with Once in 2007, and this year he’s coming out with a musical drama titled Sing Street.

Spectre director Sam Mendes is officially not returning for more James Bond movies.

While we wait for (almost certain) confirmation that Daniel Craig won’t reprise his role as 007 in the next James Bond film, we can at least contend with the knowledge that Sam Mendes will not direct Bond 25.

The two-time James Bond director came on board the franchise for the wildly successful Skyfall, but his follow-up Spectre was not considered as great of a success.

Even before Spectre‘s release, Mendes was talking about quitting the all-consuming franchise, saying at the time, “I don’t think I could go down that road again. You do have to put everything else on hold.” But it was only during a Welsh literature festival that he finally confirmed his departure.

Related: Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra doesn’t want to be a Bond Girl, she wants to be Bond

“It was an incredible adventure. I loved every second of it, but I think it’s time for somebody else [to direct],” said Mendes, as quoted via The Sydney Morning Herald. “I’m a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters.”

Bond 25 is likely to be completely new chapter of the franchise, with Daniel Craig set to follow Mendes’ lead and officially announce his departure soon. Everyone’s been expecting him to bow out ever since his controversial promotional campaign for Spectre, and it’s even more likely now that his two-time collaborator has called it quits.

On the speculation about who might replace Craig, Mendes says, “I can guarantee that whatever happens next it will not be what you expect.”

“[Bond producer] Barbara Broccoli chooses who is going to be the next Bond, end of story. And without that there would have been no Daniel Craig because public support for Daniel was zero. It was her saying: ‘That man over there, he’s going to change the whole tenor, I’m going to cast him.’ That turned the whole thing on its head,” says Mendes.

Rumor has it that Tom Hiddleston is in talks to be the next James Bond, but until we learn more, we can speculate away as we wish! It’s also time to start making those Bond 25 director wishlists. Anyone know if Ava DuVernay is available?

How will ‘The Flash’ finale affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?

Or will it at all?

11:00 am EDT, May 29, 2016

In the final moments of the Flash‘s season 2 finale, Barry made a decision that could have major ramifications for the other Arrow-verse shows.

It looks like The Flash is headed in the direction of Flashpoint, a comic book story in which Barry saves his mother and creates an alternate future in which he never became The Flash, and the world is in chaos. I’ll do a more in-depth look at this story later in the hiatus.

On The Flash, the death of Barry’s father sent him on a downward spiral that resulted in him going back in time and stopping The Reverse Flash from killing Nora Allen. Barry watched as his season 1 counterpart faded away as the timeline changed before assuring his mother that she was safe.

It’s early, but I’ll take a shot at theorizing what this change could mean not only for The Flash but the other Arrow-verse shows as well.

The Flash season 2, episode 18 recap Barry, Caitlin, Cisco

‘The Flash’

All we know about The Flash‘s third season so far is that Tom Cavanagh will be back as a series regular, indicating there will be some version of Harrison Wells in play. I believe that is likely to be the Earth-1 version of Wells, the one who Eobard Thawne murdered and whose identity Thawne stole, since the original timeline of those events has been changed.

There is also a good chance that when Barry returns to the alternate future he’s created, he’ll no longer have his speed since there would have been no impetus for Barry to become a CSI. Without being at his lab at CCPD, he wouldn’t have been thrown into a rack of chemicals when he was struck by lightning, thus granting him powers.

It’s also likely Barry also won’t be as close with the West family, since he wouldn’t have been taken in and raised by them, which will be heartbreaking.

We also know that the original Harrison Wells’ particle accelerator wasn’t meant to go active until several years after the one Eobard Thawne-as-Wells created; he wanted to expedite the process so he could return to his own time. If that timeline remains the same, there won’t be nearly as many metahumans on the the loose since the particle accelerator created the majority of those we’ve met.

Flash and Arrow crossover

‘Arrow’

Stephen Amell doesn’t know whether the Flash finale will affect Arrow, though it will be odd if it doesn’t since time across Earth-1 has been changed. “I do know that we’ve done a lot of work on Arrow to introduce the other shows, for lack of a better term, and now that that’s all done, we’re focused on doing the things that we do well for season 5,” he tells ComicBook.com.

He adds, “Arrow is at its best when we’re dealing with problems in Star City. We’re not a time-travel show, we’re not a multi-Earth show, though obviously [we do that] with crossovers and stuff like that. We’re Arrow, we deal with Star City, and I feel like we’ll be better off focusing on that.”

Considering Barry was directly responsible for the Team Arrow’s survival in Nanda Parbat at the end of season 3 as well as when Vandal Savage attacked in the season 4 crossover, though, it seems impossible that such a major change in time wouldn’t affect the group in some way, especially if there is no longer a Flash.

One change I wouldn’t mind seeing would be Laurel’s survival, but I won’t hold my breath.

Legends of Tomorrow season 1, episode 1 recap team

‘Legends of Tomorrow’

One reveal from the Flash finale that seems especially likely to impact Legends in some way is the appearance of Jay Garrick, Henry Allen’s Earth-3 doppelganger. In the comics, Jay Garrick is one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America, which the Legends finale introduced via Rex Tyler.

John Wesley Shipp has teased that the writers are excited to explore more of the Jay Garrick character, and he speculates that will include the JSA. It will be interesting to see if he crosses over to that show at any point.

As for the time travel change, if the team does take on the role of the Time Masters, as they’d considered doing before Rex Tyler’s arrival, that seems like a major event for them to take notice of.

It’s also worth noting in the comics during Flashpoint that Leonard Snart is a hero in Central City known as Citizen Cold — I’d love to see Wentworth Miller (who will recur on both Flash and Legends next season) play that part for a bit.

Supergirl season 1, episode 18 airs tonight Kara, Barry

Bonus: ‘Supergirl’

Some are theorizing that this change may, somehow, merge Kara’s world with the Arrow-verse now that Supergirl is on the same network with the other shows. I’m not quite sure how that would work, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it since Kara and Barry are an absolute delight together — and we know a major four-series crossover is in the works.

All that being said, there is also the possibility that the Flashpoint events will remain on The Flash, such as in an alternate universe, because of the concern that too many viewers of Arrow in particular don’t also watch The Flash and don’t want to have to catch up just to understand the show. This is a complexity of having a shared universe.

While I understand that concern, however, I feel like storytelling concerns should take precedent. And if you’re going to create that shared universe, you need to embrace what comes with that, including shows having direct affects on one another.

How do you think the ‘Flash’ finale will affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?