September 26th, 2006


Studio 60

I forgot to mention I'm enjoying Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip as well. I've watched both episodes and so far it's keeping me interested. The cast is great (hi, Chandler!) and Sorkin's writing is crisp, if a bit formulaic at this point (open with references to something personally or professionally mysterious that the audience doesn't understand, keep referencing it obliquely throughout the script, tell audience what it is at 45-minute mark, where it comes into play to save the day).

The level of gravitas, though, makes the show almost seem like a spoof. It was one thing on The West Wing when the fate of the world would be at stake, but this is about putting on a TV variety show for God's sake. "Oh no, they cut the sketch!" isn't the same as "Oh no, a military junta has overthrown the President of Zimbabwe!" Seriously, are we supposed to give a shit that a sketch got cut?

But it's the actors who sell it, who make it work despite its gross self-indulgences, and who keep me coming back. I don't know how Sorkin's going to fill a whole season with behind-the-scenes-at-a-TV-show drama and keep it compelling and watchable, but I'm willing to take the trip and see. I also don't know what they're going to do on 30 Rock, Tina Fey's sitcom covering the exact same ground, to keep it distinct from Studio 60, and I have a feeling that unless it's Newsradio-level brilliant it'll fail because of it's similarities. We'll see.

(Oh, and in case you have an office pool going, the first canceled series of the new season is Fox's "Happy Hour". They say it's only on hiatus, but we all know what that means. Especially if something is placed on hiatus after only two episodes have aired.)