And you thought it was bad when Fox aired the last four episodes of Arrested Development as one barely-advertised, two-hour chunk opposite the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics!
Here’s a short list of the ways NBC has slighted the series finale of Smash: The network is airing this 120-minute block after a week-long break… on a Sunday instead of its usual Saturday timeslot… on Memorial Day Eve… directly opposite HBO’s highly-anticipated Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, a movie that appeals to 100 percent of people who currently watch or would theoretically watch Smash. Oh, and finale is also coming the same day that the entire Internet-speaking world will be too busy binge-watching season 4 of – guess what – Arrested Development to pay attention to anything else.
Yes, Smash’s second season was largely a disappointment. But even so, NBC is certainly adding insult to injury by airing the finale tonight at 9pm – after treating the show poorly basically since the curtain fell on season 1.
Smash’s sophomore outing – which was, admittedly, heavily publicized – premiered this past February, nearly nine months after the series had exited both the airwaves and the zeitgeist. It opened with two back-to-back episodes that were clearly not designed to air together. (According to showrunner Josh Safran, he actually didn’t know until after the episodes had been shot that they’d be shown as a two-parter). The show was then preempted for a week due to the State of the Union address, further alienating its fair-weather season 1 viewers.
NBC moved the series to Saturdays at 9 p.m. in April – a justifiable decision, considering Smash’s expensive nature and low ratings. The net wasn’t justified, however, in later deciding to switch the show’s timeslot to 8 p.m., leading many of its few remaining viewers to miss it because they hadn’t reset their DVRs.
Does any of this really matter, given the iffy quality of Smash this year? Probably not – but it’s only fair to note that Smash’s failure isn’t entirely its creators’ fault. If the series had returned sooner and its scheduling had been consistent, it wouldn’t necessarily have been a better show – but at least more people might have watched, increasing the chances that Ivy, Karen, Tom, Julia et al would have one more shot at getting things right in season 3.
So farewell, Smash. You weren’t perfect – not by a longshot – but you also didn’t deserve to go out like this. I’ll be dimming the lights on my personal marquee (e.g. the bulbs around my bathroom mirror) in your honor.
(Oh, so you want to actually know what happened in the finale? Check back later tonight for my full recap of both hours.)