A dancing and singing prime-time special Sunday night on ABC is just what the doctor ordered for a morose nation.
This one-hour tribute to memorable dance sequences from the movies is a breath of fresh air for prime-time TV and for America generally.
As pointed out many times in past TV Blogs here, TV today is one of the saddest places on Earth.
The vast majority of TV content today is dark, pessimistic, and excessively violent. And that’s just the dramas.
Comedies are not much better. As also noted here many times, too many comedies today fail to accomplish what was once the whole point of comedy -- to make people laugh. Much of TV comedy today is dreary sarcasm.
In this context, this new ABC special -- titled “Step Into … The Movies with Derek and Julianne Hough” -- might as well have been delivered to Earth via parachute from Mars.
The show is an exuberant, high-energy, all-singing, all-dancing, one-hour tribute to memorable movie dance sequences -- from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “Viva Las Vegas.”
It is also “all-smiling,” which is another one of its features that distinguishes it from almost everything else on television.
The participants in this show are actually happy, and grateful that they have been given this opportunity to sing, dance and entertain.
Derek Hough and younger sister Julianne are the stars who take center stage in this show’s re-creation of dance numbers from the two musicals mentioned above plus “Beauty and the Beast,” “Chicago,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “La La Land” and more.
The first one up is the Hough sibs’ re-creation (and adaptation) of the title number from “Singin’ in the Rain” (pictured above), even though the original was a solo performance by Gene Kelly.
Their performance is sensational. And it sets the stage for what is to come -- a series of high-stepping tributes featuring the Houghs either together or singly accompanied by top-drawer dance ensembles and guest headliners.
The show’s dance scenes are held together by a mild storyline in which the two Houghs are invited by a network executive just two weeks ago to produce and choreograph this wide-ranging tribute special in what will amount to 10 days.
The performance scenes that follow come to life in the process of their preparations. The whole thing is just too charming for words, thanks to these two Houghs.
They are entertainers extraordinaire -- a brother-sister act that is rare if not nonexistent today.
Indeed, the two most famous of these duos had their starts in show business way back in the 1920s -- Fred and Adele Astaire, and Buddy and Vilma Ebsen, who were sometimes billed as “The Baby Astaires.”
For some who read this, an entertainment special such as this one might feel out of sync with a world that lately seems to be going mad. And maybe it is.
But if America has problems, producing great entertainment is not one of them. It happens to be one of our most-enduring exports. This special is a gift from ABC to America and the world.
“Step Into … The Movies with Derek and Julianne Hough” airs Sunday night (March 20) at 10 Eastern on ABC.