Stars: Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia, Sam Neill, Parminder Nagra, Jonny Coyne, Robert Forster

Back in early February, when NBC premiered the highly anticipated Broadway musical drama series Smash, the critics were all hot and bothered—in the best way possible—about the pilot, lavishing it with praise. So curiosity was piqued, and, yes, the first episode was quite enjoyable, driven by a rousing climax and a potential star-is-born performance from Katharine McPhee.

So what the hell happened? Faster than the producers could say “We’re not a Glee rip-off,” Smash degenerated into an amalgamation of overly melodramatic acting, annoying characters, and conflicts transpiring with all the emotional resonance of an iCarly episode. Smash will return for a second season at the top of 2013, but will its viewership? Count those of us around these parts out.