A new showrunner! New cast members! No more Ellis! There has been hoopla surrounding the many changes made to Smash for months and on Tuesday, the lovers, and hate-watchers, finally got a peek behind the curtain at just what Smash 2.0 really is. So is it really a better show? Or is this tune still slightly off key? We weigh in on the musical drama's 10 biggest changes (so far):
1. New musicals: While we absolutely love "Let Me Be Your Star," the idea of listening to it — or any of Bombshell's songs -- for another 13 episodes makes our heads hurt. Thankfully, Smash has a new musical that is way more iPod-worthy, Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan) and Kyle's musical-in-the-making Hit List. And there are not enough adjectives in the world for us to properly praise Broadway's leading lady Ronnie Moore. Any excuse for Jennifer Hudson to caress our eardrums with her velvet pipes is fine by us!
2. Eileen straightens out: Now that she's facing serious legal issues because of the money she borrowed from Mr. Hunky Bartender Whose Name We Can't Remember, Bombshell's feisty producer (Anjelica Huston) is playing nice... for now. Since partnering up with her ex-husband, she has thus far resisted the urge to throw a drink in his face. We're kind of on board with her working with the enemy, as long as it doesn't lead to any funny business.
Verdict: Too early to call
3. The new Ivy: Karen (Katharine McPhee) didn't wait long before using her newfound power to oust Ivy (Megan Hilty) from Bombshell. But instead of fighting it like the peroxided puma we once knew, Ivy gracefully bowed out, Heck, she even said she agreed! Is this really the same woman who was so cold and calculating last season that it made us hot under the collar? We love that without Bombshell, Ivy's now free to pursue other leading lady roles (in Jimmy's musical, perhaps?), but we wish our bad girl still had some edge. With squeaky-clean Karen getting so much attention, we need someone to provide our weekly dose of bitchery.
Verdict: Too early to call
4. Drug free is the way to be... or is it? After nearly downing a handful of pills in the season finale, it was revealed that Ivy resisted the urge and kicked her pill-popping for good. Although it feels a bit abrupt — how do we explain Charlie Sheen if it's this easy to quit? — it's nice to know that our girl won't be running around Times Square with angel wings anytime soon. But don't kiss those crazy hallucination-driven musical sequences goodbye just yet, thanks to an increasingly alcohol-dependent Derek. Sure, the Robert Palmer number was a bit laughable, but at least this time Smash seemed to be in on the joke.
5. Karen's got a new roomie: And she's the worst. Well, maybe not the worst. This is Smash, after all, the show that taught us it's OK to hate a child (Peace out, Leo! You won't be missed). But Karen's generically not-generic roommate just rubs us the wrong way. From her "edgy" haircut to her "free-spirit" pushiness, everything about Ana begs you to call her things like "spunky" and "hip," but instead has us doing a classic Smash-induced eyeroll.
6. Sayonara, Dev: Karen moves in with her new roommate, Ana (Krysta Rodriguez), after she gives her longtime boyfriend the heave-ho and it couldn't happen soon enough. Fans will no longer have to suffer through their chemistry-free love scenes or the incredibly dull goings-on at Dev's workplace. This is a musical show — who cares about the mayor's office? Now if only someone could send Nashville that memo.
7. RIP, scarves: Last season, the only thing more hated than Ellis was Julia's (Debra Messing) affront to accessorizing. The self-proclaimed scarf aficionada (at least according to a parody Twitter account) was so often engulfed in patterned shawls that they became nearly as famous as the actress wearing them. But now, thanks to a helpful suggestion by Tom (not to mention becoming the target of much Internet fodder), Julia's shutting down her scarf addiction.
8. Julia is a single lady: Julia's wardrobe isn't the only notable difference between Seasons 1 and 2. After fans had to suffer through Julia's failed adoption, her affair with Michael Swift, the revealing of her affair to her husband and her clingy son's newfound teenage delinquency, all three of her leading men are now out of the picture. Now there's plenty of time to focus on, you know, the show. And Julia gets to live with the much wiser Tom, who will hopefully steer her in the right direction. Plus: Bonus points to the writers for getting the Will & Grace reference out of the way in the first episode.
9. Karilyn Monroe: Who will be Marilyn? That was the question that dominated most of Smash's first season. Now that drama is dunzo and to be honest, we're a little disappointed. We knew they couldn't keep the back-and-forth going much longer, but now that Karen's been crowned, we're finding ourselves hoping for another shake-up. Not only did Ivy make a perfect Marilyn, but we can't stand all the attention Leading Lady Karen is getting from everyone, especially Derek (Jack Davenport). She's already too big for her britches. Shut it down!
10. No more Ellis: Anyone who thinks that this isn't the best Season 2 change, we would like to offer you a delicious kale smoothie.
Final Call for Smash Season 2: Upgrade
What did you think about Smash's season premiere? Did you like the changes? Weigh in below!
Related Articles on TVGuide.com