Thursday, May 24, 2007

'Studio 60' Returns Tonight

Welcome to post No. 200 here at the TV Guy. I'm going to wait until No. 201 for the post-"Lost" commentary tomorrow.

Meanwhile, welcome back "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" (NBC, 10 p.m.) to your TV screens for a few more weeks, not that you'd know it from NBC's lack of promotion. You'd think that with the lack of anything else new on the tube, the network could throw at least one advert letting fans know it was back, but I guess it was too much to ask.

It's not surprising, really. When I blogged initially about "Studio 60," I raved about its sensational pilot. Has the show lived up to the potential it showed early on? No. Was it still one of the better shows on the air when it was on?

In my opinion, yes.

Sure, the Matt-Harriet subplot never worked for me, and it was a mistake to do the Danny-Jordan show when they were stuck on the roof, and the two-parter in Utah with John Goodman was a dud, and some of the characters like D.L. Hughley were underused, and the characters of Jack (Steven Weber) and Jordan (Amanda Peet) spent more time hanging out on one set than any network executives normally would, but...

There was something to this show. It had charm, it had humor, it had intelligence. The episode with the New Orleans musicians was a great hour, and like most Aaron Sorkin shows, I think it takes the better part of a season for it to find its sea legs. Look at the first seasons of "SportsNight" and "West Wing" and see how up-and-down they were.

I think there was enough of "Studio 60," had it aired on a different night, that it might have sustained a second year, but it was also a very expensive show to produce with all of the talent attached, so I can understand NBC's decision to end it. And if it came down to "Studio 60" and another season of "Friday Night Lights," then NBC made the right call.

But I don't understand NBC's need to bury the remaining few episodes (hopefully, they won't pull a "Kidnapped," and air the rest on after poor initial ratings on the show's return.

Sometimes, writers like Sorkin come up with great ideas, and sometimes, networks like NBC give them a chance. And sometimes, these things just don't work out. Hopefully, that doesn't mean the networks and producers won't try again in the future.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: Other than NBC burning off the remaining few "Studio 60s," there isn't a whole lot new airing right now.

There is the second episode of "On The Lot" (Fox, 9:30 p.m.) as the network will run it in a similar format to "American Idol" with twice-a-week airings. Hopefully, you caught Episode 1 on Tuesday, in which candidates had to pitch an original script based upon a logline they were given. Having actually taken part in a pitch contest, I can say it's the most miserable experience imagineable if you suck at it like I did. The first guy on "On The Lot" who pitched pretty much sounded exactly the way I did when I attempted to pitch at the Austin Film Festival last year, so that brought back some painful memories.

Fox is airing the debut of "So You Think You Can Dance" at 8 p.m. Also, for people who missed out on one of TV's best new shows, you can catch the re-airing of the "Ugly Betty" pilot (ABC, 8 p.m.)


zodin2008 said...

I would strongly recommend to anyone reading this Blog to try the "Betty" pilot out and you will likely become a fan for Season 2.

As for your "Studio 60" assessment, I pretty much agree. It was still really good, though most TV critics who loved the pilot, started to savage it; I disagree.

I think it was still better then say 90% of what CBS has on the air. But what do we know. We like writing and acting. Most Americans like procedurals (snore) and reality (crap).

I will honor your request to not talk about "Lost", but I will say it was my favorite of all the season/series finales. The 'finale' I have not had the chance to catch up on yet on my DVR is "Veronica Mars". But I have a hard time believing "Veronica" or any show can top "Lost" when "Lost" is on fire.

Phillip Ramati said...

Considering it was the finale of VM, I thought it was a letdown. It's not as if the producers didn't have an inkling the show was ending; they could have done something with more finality.

Jonathan said...

I do have to combat you a bit here Zodin. What exactly is your definition of a procedural because I would put "House" and "Bones" in that category, and both of you seem to like those quite a bit. I'm a fan of "Bones" not so much of "House." I think the essence of a procedural in the end is if the protagonist works for you. I love Emily Deschanel's Temperance Brennan, and I find Hugh Laurie's (While a good actor) House to be annoying.

This is exactly why, and I am not ashamed to admit, I love "CSI." Screw the two spinoffs, but the original at its core has always had William Petersen's beautifully acted, Gil Grissom at its core which I think puts it quite a few notches above the blandness of David Caruso and Gary Sinise's portrayals of their characters on the two sister shows. Back in season five when Quentin Tarantino directed the season finale, he made the comment that Grissom is the best T.V. detective since Columbo (One of my all time faves), and I can agree with that to a point. And while the past couple seasons of "C.S.I." have been a little drab, this past season has been excellent with the on-going storyline of the "Minature Killer" and all of the different heights they've taken all of the characters to. It was a reinvention of the show this season, and it worked like gangbusters. I urge all of those who have wandered away to come back when this thing hits DVD.

Not saying I disagree with you completely, Zodin. Along with the two spinoffs, I don't get the fascinations with "Criminal Minds" or the "Law and Order's" for the most part either. I just hate that with all of the copycats out there, the original "CSI" has been thrown into this grouping, because it is miles above all of its procedural competition.