Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=leartojugg-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B00005JPI6&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrWhen The West Wing ended, I was thrilled to hear that creator Aaron Sorkin was writing another series. It was Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a behind-the-scenes drama of an SNL-like show. That premiered at the same time as that Tina Fey show.

I cannot express the love I had for The West Wing in its heyday. I am, however, a sucker for the majesty that can occasionally be found in Washington. Studio 60 was to be my test for whether Sorkin could keep my attention with something else. Here is my verdict:

Sorkin at his best can, I swear to Yoda, make you cry.

This series only lasted one season. It just couldn’t pick up an audience, and it seems the networks don’t give scripted shows much of a chance these days. I was grateful that NBC let them finish the story arc. I picked up the DVDs for some road entertainment, which was silly with my overflowing DVR. But one season isn’t much of a commitment.

Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford played the lead roles. Best buds who returned to run the show that started their careers. Whitford, of course, came straight from The West Wing and Perry did a few episodes there after Friends ended. Timothy Busfield, who rocked my world in his recurring role as a reporter, came with them.

The pilot does not disappoint. The hook, provided by Judd Hirsch (and ohhh, was I hoping he would come back for another guest shot), was great and the pace was…so Sorkin. I swear that DVR was invented by someone that wanted to hear a piece of his dialogue one more time, every single week. The guy is all about the dialogue. The criticism is it is so sharp that you don’t believe real people are that sharp all the time. I don’t care. It is sharp.

For those looking for something juicy, it might please you to know that the relationship between Perry’s character and Sarah Paulson’s is based on Sorkin’s relationship with Kristin Chenowith.

Not every episode is great. The sending a coyote after a something that went after a ferret that went after the snake underneath the stage…even Busfield couldn’t save that thread. But you put up with that stuff in order to be there for the Christmas episode. It took me a week longer than necessary to finish these DVDs because I had to watch it three times. And I am pretty sure I watched it three times when it was on the air.

(sigh) I hear Sorkin is working on a new series, and he wrote the screenplay for the Facebook movie that is coming out this fall. Thought I was going to skip that one. But for now, I’m going to think about Sports Night.

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