LET ME BE YOUR STAR: Taking us behind the scenes in the über-competitive universe of the Great White Way, the new song-and-dance series Smash is a much-welcomed addition to must-see Monday night TV. This is no Glee. Smash is the real deal. Full of drama and razzle-dazzle goodness, the show follows two uniquely talented singer-actresses (Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty) who are vying for the I’d-kill-to-get-that-part titular role in a new musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, even as it charts the eventful personal lives of the creatives involved in putting the show together. Debra Messing, Christian Borle and the divine Anjelica Huston costar. Then there’s the original music. Oh, it’s absolute heaven. Not to be missed, Smash is a delicious new hit for NBC.
SPOOKS AND SPIRITS: Tasteful and old-fashioned, The Woman in Black is a stylish haunted-house frightener that emphasizes foreboding and suspense over blood and gore. Daniel Radcliffe (fresh from the Harry Potter franchise and Broadway’s How To Succeed in Business) plays a doting single father and attorney who travels to a marshy London village to settle an outstanding matter regarding an abandoned old house, only to discover a thick fog of superstition and the vengeful ghost of a woman who refuses to retire to the underworld. Although the film, directed by James Watkins, sometimes loses its way, it’s never less than watchable.