Best Bets: Grammy Awards, "Smash" and Paul McCartney's new album

This NBC musical drama put a bright, sexy sheen on one of filmdom's most timeless tropes: Hey, kids, let's put on a show! Which "Smash" did, embedding songs and dance into the story of how a Broadway musical comes to life. Sure, "Smash" took knocks for unbelievable plotlines, cardboard characters and trite show tunes. It gave new life to the term "hate-watch" (that act of watching something solely to delight in its awfulness). So what? With a show-must-go-on defiance emblematic of Broadway, "Smash" never flagged in its unique charm and meticulous artistry. And if anything about it seemed over-the-top, its naysayers should consider the recent cockamamie real-life fraud that sank the Broadway musical "Rebecca." As "Smash" knows and demonstrated proudly, nothing is too wacky for Broadway. By AP TV Writer Frazier Moore. Will Hart

Katharine McPhee in a scene from "Smash."
NBC

(CBS) Music's finest will gather in Los Angeles on Sunday night for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.

British songstress Adele is poised to sweep the major award categories, with nominations in the Record, Song and Album of the Year categories (though Kanye West has the most nominations overall, with seven). She'll also perform during the ceremony, marking her first major appearance since she canceled her tour to undergo vocal cord surgery last year.

Special section: The 54th Grammy Awards

But before the Grammys are handed out, there are other things to take in.

NBC has been heavily promoting its latest drama, "Smash," which officially debuts Monday (the first episode has been available online for a few weeks).

The series focuses on the people involved in the creation of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, including the show's producer (Anjelica Huston), co-writer (Debra Messing) and the two actresses vying for the title role ("American Idol" alum Katherine McPhee and Broadway actress Megan Hilty).

Also making its midseason debut this week is "The River," ABC's adventure thriller about an explorer who mysteriously disappears in the Amazon and those who go searching for him. It premieres Tuesday night.

"The Walking Dead" makes its midseason return this week, returning to AMC on Sunday for the season's final six episodes. The first seven episodes of the zombie drama's second season aired last fall.

Also returning to television this week is Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Orange County," which begins its seventh season on Tuesday.

In music, new offerings will be available this week from Paul McCartney, whose "Kisses on the Bottom" will be released Tuesday. The album features a collection of standards ("I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," "It's Only a Paper Moon"), along with two new McCartney compositions, "My Valentine" and "Only Our Hearts."

Other albums being released that day include The Fray's "Scars & Stories," Air's "Le Voyage Dans la Lune" and Dierks Bentley's "Home."

Denzel Washington and Woody Harrelson both return to the big screen on Friday. Washington stars as a fugitive in "Safe House," who finds himself on the run with a young CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) when a safe house comes under attack. In "Rampart," Harrelson portrays a corrupt, violent police officer in 1999 Los Angeles.

New book titles this week will come from author Katherine Boo, whose "Behind the Beautiful Flowers" arrives Tuesday, and Julianna Baggott's "Pure" and Josh Bazell's "Wild Thing," which both hit shelves Wednesday.

Those looking to take in a movie at home can pick up "A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas," which comes out on DVD on Tuesday. The 3-D film features the stoner duo (Kal Penn and John Cho) getting into a series of holiday misadventures. Neil Patrick Harris reprises his role as a fictionalized version of himself.

Tell us: What are you looking forward to this week?

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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