NBC took a big chance last night: they did something old-fashioned. (BIG GASP) They decided to revive 1965’s classic “The Sound of Music” and bring it to live television. Live television was a staple back in the old days of the 1950’s and 60’s; and has faded away in favor of “reality” television, murder, and walking corpses as our way of relaxing after a hard day’s work. Today’s pace is fast, and TV reflects it, though it is losing popularity in favor of online activity and its instantaneous and connected communication.
At first, I sort of shrugged off the notion of the live 3-hour drama; but then I heard people criticizing its star, Carrie Underwood, even before the show had been aired. This bothered me greatly. Of course, nobody can ever compare to the iconic Julie Andrews in her role of Maria, but what ever happened to fairness? Whatever happened to the idea of giving someone a fair chance before you condemn them? I felt sorry for Carrie Underwood having to endure such flack, so I decided to watch the show to see for myself – which is the right thing to do before you criticize.
I did have an even greater interest in watching the show rather than to just see if it was good or not. I have a bit of a background in communications/broadcasting, so I was intrigued to see how they would accomplish the difficult task of a live musical of that length. Let me tell you I was greatly impressed! The sets were magnificent, the camera work remarkable (they must have used at least a dozen moveable cameras, none of which were ever spotted) and I still can’t figure out what kind of microphones they used.They should be given an “A” not just for attempting this, but for pulling it off.
Was the production perfect? No. I thought that the sound was a little bit off. At times the orchestra music was louder than the singers. Some of the acting wasn’t perfect, but this is partly because we are used to seeing television acting, and stage acting is a bit different. Some might see it as overstated or “hammy.” But the singing – perhaps the most important element – was well above average.
Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
I would give NBC’s live production of “The Sound of Music” a thumb’s up, for several reasons. First of all, I want to applaud them for taking such a big chance and trying to bring us quality television, even if meant going back in time to do so. They stuck their necks out for doing so, and they should be commended. I wish that more network executives would avoid the “following the crowd” mentality, and stop playing it safe.
Most people I talk to say that “television stinks” and there’s hardly ever anything that they want to watch. Well, maybe it’s time to take a good look at this. Maybe it’s time for some bold decisions. It doesn’t matter if you look forwards, backwards, or sideways: good is good. That is why they call it “classic.”
Good job, NBC! If anyone criticizes you, don’t listen to them. Keep taking chances!