Sunday, August 20, 2006

Studio 60

I have to say that "Studio 60" is probably the show I've been anticipating the most since I heard about it. Created by Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme ("The West Wing"), it boasts one of the most talented casts on television with Bradley Whitford, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Tim Busfield, Steven Weber and D.L. Hughley. In fact, my only worry was that "Studio 60" wouldn't meet the high expectations I had for it.

It didn't; it surpassed them.

"Studio 60" takes place on a "Saturday Night Live" style show. When the show's producer, Judd Hirsch has a Peter Finch-styled breakdown on live TV — basically, he is mad as hell and won't take it anymore after one of his sketches is pulled by the network — the new network president Jordan McDeere (Peet) scrambles into damage control, re-hiring the show's original creators Matt (Perry) and Danny (Whitford). Both of them are reluctant to return to the show, especially since Matt has written a new movie that Danny is set to direct and both were fired years earlier by the head of the network (Weber). Worse, Matt used to date Studio 60's female lead, Harriet (Sarah Paulson).

Sorkin, who hasn't written for television in three years since leaving the "West Wing," is at his absolute best here. The dialogue is smart and snappy, truly reminiscent of Wing and "Sports Night." The relationship between Matt and Danny is patterned after the relationship between Sorkin and Schlamme, and Sorkin's views on his life and TV come through very clearly through "Studio 60."

My only slight criticism is the title cards used to introduce the scenes involving certain characters, similar to the late, lamented NBC series "Boomtown." It struck me as a tad unnecessary and gimmicky, and hopefully won't be around after the pilot. But pointing out this one little thing is like dating a supermodel and complaining you don't like her shoes; it's easily overcome.

SUNDAY'S BEST BET: Comedy Central rolls out the Friar's Club Roast of William Shatner tonight at 10 p.m. Sometimes, these roasts are classic, such as the one done for Jerry Stiller a few years ago (watching Jerry dance with Sandra Bernhard while she sang him Heart's "Magic Man" was truly priceless). Other times, these roasts fall flat.

But Shatner, who constantly parodies himself and re-invents himself, should provide the roasters with plenty of material. Among the roasters is Kevin Pollak, who does one of the best Shatner-as-Capt. Kirk impressions out there.

1 comment:

Zodin2008 said...

I figured you would enjoy the "Studio 60" pilot. The cast is unbelieveable and has such a 'Sorkin-esque' feel to them.

Not that she isn't always sexy, but I think in this role, Amanda Peet came off esspecially sexy & interesting.

Also, the chemistry between Brad Whitford and Matthew Perry is superb.