Easter TV Preview: The Sound of Music Live!

The Sound of Music Live! TV1, 7.00 Friday.


By Doug Coutts

The hills are alive with the sound of music. So sings Carrie Underwood in the opening few minutes of the show of the same name.

She’s not exactly telling the truth – there’s music, and it may well be live (although we don’t see the band – ever) but the hills are most definitely fake, as fake as the front yard of Oliver Douglas’s house in Green Acres but without the tractor and chickens.*

Thus the tone is set for the rest of the show – stagey sets, stagier acting but all the tunes you’ve come to know and love, although perhaps not in the order you’re used to (according to some whiney person posting on Reddit).

The show centres on a novice nun  – the head nuns don’t think she’s cut out for nunning, so they invoke a clause in an early form of the 90-day Trial Period legislation called God’s Will and send her off to be a nanny.

She meets a naval officer and his kids, they sing a whole bunch of songs and if you’re not bothered by the slow pace and studio settings, there are worse ways to spend Good Friday evening.

* Keep an eye out for the pool area – I’ll bet a schilling to a deutschmark it’s the Beverley Hillbillies’ cement pond.

What other critics said: 

“All through The Sound of Music Live, I kept hearing echoes of high school drama teachers screaming, ‘For the last time, we are not doing the [bleeping] movie version!’ NBC cautioned viewers similarly ahead of time; the stage version of The Sound of Music, which premiered in 1959, differs in significant ways from the movie. If viewers weren’t ready for that, the awkwardness and weak acting just made it all too much to bear.” — The Washington Post.

“Five minutes into [the] broadcast, it became clear that NBC had decided to closely follow the original Broadway production. Unfortunately, the crisp, high-definition broadcast looked like a soap opera with singing. Blocked with military precision for the best angles, the actors seemed most focussed on hitting their marks and not running into one of the dozens of cameras that were filming their every move. Advanced technology laid bare the hard work and the lazy shortcuts of the production.” — The New Yorker.

“Underwood’s casting seemed like a major hurdle for the show to overcome, and for the first 40 minutes or so, I was fairly certain I was going to give the whole venture an ‘F’ and write it off as a failed experiment. Yet despite Underwood’s inelegance, the show began to develop into something more captivating as it delved into darker territory about the rise of Nazism.” — The AV Club.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years.  He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at: Weakly Whirled News.

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One Response to “Easter TV Preview: The Sound of Music Live!”

  1. I think I will watch something on Netflix, I love Netflix :)

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