Sports Night (TV Series 1998–2000) Poster

(1998–2000)

User Reviews

Add a Review
118 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
9/10
This is television at its best.
P Carr29 June 2003
The short-lived (45 episodes) "Sports Night" is available in a six-disc DVD box set. If you're a fan of the show, you know what you're getting. Otherwise, read on...

The two biggest questions about "Sports Night" have always been "Will non-sports fans like it?" and "Will sports fans like it?" The answer to both questions is a qualified "Yes."

To answer the first query, the comparison I like to make is to "ER". "Sports Night" is about sports (and television) like "ER" is about emergency rooms. You probably liked ER if you appreciated good television drama with interesting characters, whether or not you cared for medical shows at all. Similarly, if you appreciate brilliant television writing and human drama mixed in with witty dialogue, you will enjoy "Sports Night". At least a casual knowledge of sports and/or television will aid the viewing process, but neither is necessary.

As for the latter question, the target audience for "Sports Night" is not congruent to the viewers of, say, ESPN's "Sportscenter". If you watch "Sports Night" for the sports element, you will likely be disappointed. Most of the athletes referenced are fictitious, and celebrity cameos are non-existent. The sports banter is enjoyable for a big sports nut like me, but the average sports fan probably won't care for this show, much like the average doctor or nurse I know doesn't care for "ER".

So why is this show both unique and of high quality? Let me count the ways...

The writing is the core reason for the quality of "Sports Night". Sharp and snappy dialogue largely defines the show, but the fast pace would be worthless without the intelligence of the words. The Aaron Sorkin-led writing team has created a sextet of lead characters, two anchors and four producers of varying responsibility, who are all well-educated and quick-thinking. Their mouths keep pace with their minds, as the dialogue is as fast or faster than real life, and much more intelligent. There are few pregnant pauses for laughter, as a laugh track was used early on but later wisely discarded. The words form a smart, sexy, and funny world, a world that makes one actually long for such a place. Sorkin later gained prominence with "The West Wing", which employed the same verbal style that Sorkin perfected during his time on "Sports Night." If you liked "West Wing" for its writing, you'll eat up this show as well.

Similar to their characters on the show, the actors (at least at the time) were largely unknown by the general public. This enhanced the team atmosphere of both the show itself and the show within the show. Everyone seemed to rely on everyone else in both worlds, and as with many ensemble casts, the anonymity also let the actors become their characters to viewers. Another reason the characters are appealing is that they each have evident flaws and idiosyncrasies. Many of these imperfections are understandable, recognizable, or easy to relate with, further endearing the characters to viewers.

Rarely is the editing of a television show noteworthy, but keeping up with the back-and-forth dialogue of "Sports Night" is quite a chore. The quick cutting meshes well with the writing. Additionally, the reverse camera angles are a breath of fresh air in a world flooded with three-camera sitcoms. Of course, the question arises as to whether this is a sitcom or a drama or a dramedy. But that's for another place and another time.

Unfortunately, outside of the 45 episodes, there is no bonus material on this 6-disc set. The only pleasant touch is the "Play All Episodes" option, which allows you to just that with each disc's shows. Since each program is only 22 minutes, you can enjoy a handful at a time without getting off the couch. This is also a dangerous feature, as the addictive nature of the show combined with the absence of commercials entices you to watch hours at a time.

It is strange watching a television show without commercials, but this program fades in and out of black where each break would be. That gives enough of a pause in the show for the feel of a commercial, and after the first break or two, not having to watch ads is a blessing.

The reason I so highly recommend that you buy the DVD set is that "Sports Night" is not broadcast regularly in syndication. You can find it sporadically on Comedy Central, but not at any sane hour. So get the box set because of the show's rewatchability. It doesn't quite contain the memorability (I'm inventing words everywhere) or pop culture labels of "Seinfeld", but it does have a similar ability to entertain time and time again.

Bottom Line: If you appreciate a truly well-done TV show, particularly in the writing department, get and watch the box set. You won't regret it.
64 out of 66 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
great television
Marty-G1 December 2002
I never caught this on TV, but I bought the DVDs, and am very happy I did! What a great show. In turns funny, touching, intelligent, entertaining... this show covered all the bases.

The chemistry between the characters is just phenomenal, one or two episodes in, things really start warming up and you find yourself completely hooked.

Great writing on TV doesn't come along that often, but Sports Night (except for the occasional smart-ass moment) proves to be as well-written as anything I've ever seen... it's amazing what they managed to squeeze in in these 20 minute episodes.

And don't worry if you're not a sports fan - you don't have to be to enjoy this show.

The DVD box set is unbelievably plain - 42 episodes and that's it - no booklet, no supplements, no commentary. But fortunately, the material itself is so good, I can forgive Buena Vista for this. Also, the laugh track is a little infuriating to begin with, but it gets toned down in later Season 1 episodes, and removed altogether later in Season 2.
25 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One of the Best Shows Ever
Justin Harris4 December 2001
I have seen a lot of sitcoms, and this is one of the best.

Offering a level of realism and intelligence rarely seen in a sitcom, Sports Night should have been destined for greatness. Alas, it wasn't. ABC pulled the plug on this amazing piece of work much to early. (ABC, by the way, should be flushed down a toilet after THAT blunder.) Rarely does any show on television, dramas included, engage the viewer in such a way as this one did.

The show is filled with great characters, dialogue, and plots. Further more, much like the Simpsons and Seinfeld, you really get to know and like just about every character on the show, rather than merely the main characters. The people whose names you may be hard pressed to remember offer up as many enjoyable moments as the 'stars' of the show.

I would wish that this show would be picked up again by some other network looking to continue this amazing show, but that is something out of fantasy. In the real world, it just can't happen like that. Which is a real shame.

For all of you who missed it's original airing on ABC (who could've done a MUCH better job promoting this show), I advise you to catch it in reruns on Comedy Central. You'll be glad you did.
29 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
You can tell it is an Aaron Sorkin project!
Shapster118 January 2003
If you love the snappy fast paced dialogue of The West Wing then understand Sorkin got his feet wet with this light hearted comedy about an all sports station competing with ESPN and FOX Sports.

I for one found this show in mid flight when ABC had it and was sorry to see it canceled. I was also gratified many tv critics complained that intelligent and fast paced humor could not survive the rating wars. It was just recently on Comedy Central and I would set my VCR to record it at 3:30 am each night (morning). I looked forward to the twenty plus minutes a day to watch it (I skipped commercials!). I found the show went by far quicker than the regular sit-coms on tv now and that told me one thing...this was a well done show with good performances from some really excellent actors. For those that did not like the show...have you really taken stock of the pool of talent this show had?

Peter Krause is now a bedrock performer on HBO's Six Feet Under. Robert Guillaume, whom we all got to love as Benson from the original "take it to edge" comedy SOAP and then the Benson spin off is terrific. Integrating his real life stroke into the fabric of a show's Managing Director's stroke was brilliant. Josh Charles did a good job, Sabrina Lloyd will be heard from, and we discovered a fine young actor in Joshua Molina who has gone on to play good roles in The American President and has now emerged as a character that will endure in The West Wing. Felicity Huffman also does an outstanding job as Dana, the show's producer.

For you naysayers take a look at the guests on this show. Can one quibble with William H. Macy, Ted McGinley, Terri Polo, and Lisa Edelstein? This show had sass, verve, energy, and dealt with some very real subjects such as the one where Natalie (Lloyd) is accosted in the locker room of a pro football team by one of it's star players. Does the name Lisa Olson ring a bell? Or how about the one where the star running back (African-American) at a Tenn. college refuses to play so long as the school flies the Confederate flag. Was this not a current and highly charged issue?

I cannot tell people that were not fans of the show what to like. What I can say is if you like very fast wit, quick "you gotta be on your toes or you might miss the next sarcastic or sardonic line" dialogue, or if you just want to see 1/2 hour go by in a flash then see this show when (if) it comes back on. My advice is tape it if it shows again at the 3ish in the morning time slot OR it is now on DVD (the entire two seasons.
23 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Another brilliant show axed by the moron executives of network tv
Joshua Bozeman21 August 2001
This is another example of how the executives who rule tv are total mindless idiots, and I mean that in the harshest way possible. The networks leave so much garbage on, ABC itself airs Who Wants to Be A Millionaire (a horrible excuse for a show) 800 times a week, they leave crap like Dharma and Greg on, yet they axe Sports Night? Sports Night is by far one of the best shows on tv...ever. Ever! A show with such brilliant writing is rare, but Sports Night had it right on the money. There wasn't one bad thing about this show. It's smart, it's funny, it's dramatic, it's beautifully shot, the casting is perfect..I could go on for days. I never saw the show on ABC, and have just recently discovered it on Comedy Central (shocking, they DO play something besides Saturday Night Live 10 times a day!) I am amazed at the end of every new episode I see. This show is just packaged so nicely, and I must add, the chemistry between the cast members on the show is unbelievable...this show is in my top 3 of best shows on television, and it only goes to further my disgust with the network tv powers that be...shame on you for running garbage season after season after season, and tossing aside a jewel like this. The head of NBC tv programming was named one of the biggest losers of 2000 by TV Guide for cutting Freaks and Geeks (another brilliant show)..I definitely think the head of ABC programming for 2000 should be added to the list as well. Sports Night- a definite 10 out of 10.
41 out of 51 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
The Best Show You Never Watched
hilarycb230 October 2004
TV Guide voted it 'The Best Show You're Not Watching' ('If they're not watching it, how do they know?' demanded Peter Krause, accepting the award.)

Sports Night was West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin's first venture into television. Its focus was a fictitious sports show, the struggling 'Sports Night' on cable channel CFC ('A third-rate show on a fourth-rate network'), and the dramas lived out behind the scenes by the characters: Dan Rydell (Josh Charles, in one of the most marvelously complex and multi-faceted performances ever to grace the small screen) and Casey McCall (Peter Krause, now better known as Nate in Six Feet Under), the two handsome, charming, talented and hopelessly neurotic anchors; the producer, Dana Whitaker (Felicity Huffman), confident in her professional abilities but insecure in her personal life; associate producers Jeremy Goodwin (Joshua Malina, now to be seen in Sorkin's other show), geek extraordinary, and his girlfriend, the forceful, opinionated Natalie Hurley (Sabrina Lloyd); and, overseeing it all with quiet dignity, veteran journalist, now managing editor, Isaac Jaffee (Robert Guillaume, known to a generation of viewers as 'Benson', whose dry delivery makes his every utterance a joy, and whose mere presence lends the show gravitas). A critical success but a ratings failure, it lasted for a scant two seasons comprising 45 half-hour episodes (less commercials and credits, more like 22 minutes apiece). That was enough to gain it a small but dedicated audience, and a fanbase whose numbers are still growing. The release of this DVD boxed set has helped to bring Sports Night, never to date aired on UK TV, to a new and appreciative audience.

Some aspects of the show, which ran from September 1998 to May 2000, haven't aged well – the frequent establishing shots of the New York skyline dominated by the twin towers of the World Trade Centre send a jolt through the system every time, whilst a passing reference to the Spice Girls seems laughably dated. But the dialogue (much of which Sorkin recycled for use in The West Wing) is as fresh and vibrant as the day it was penned, the story lines as compelling, the characters as real, human, endearing and, frequently, maddening, as ever seen on TV – and a great deal more so than most. The performances throughout are assured and compelling, the timing split-second, the direction flawless; and Sorkin's trademark walk-and-talk dialogue and long tracking shots through a standing set will be instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with his work.

Two criticisms: season one is plagued by a laugh track, superimposed (presumably in a fit of madness) by the US network; and there are no DVD extras, only the 45 episodes. But, really, that should be enough. Wanting more is simply greedy. But, of course, I do want more. And so does everyone else who loved this show.
25 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Most well written show ever?
vamp8829 November 2002
I never missed an episode of this show during it's original run and even recorded all but a few. I was thrilled to see this was released on DVD. I've turned a few people on to this show via my video tapes and we all love it. The reason to watch this show isn't the guffaws. You smile and snicker more then laugh out loud. But for shear entertainment you just can't beat it. The characters are real and you can relate to all of them and more importantly you care for all of them. The real genius of this show is not just the story and characters, but the dialogue. The way the actors deliver the lines, and the lines themselves are a joy to listen to and what makes this show watchable again and again. You will never get tired of listening to the verbal volleys between the actors. I can't say enough about the writing and acting of this show. Borrow it, rent it, buy it, whatever you have to to see it. Give it just a few episodes (ignore the lame laugh track on the first episode or 2) and I guarantee you'll be happily addicted to possibly the most well written (and acted) television show ever.
24 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Best Half Hour on Television
BigEd-44 November 1999
If you can only spend a half hour a week in front of the tube, spend 9:30 - 10:00 (eastern, 8:30 central) watching "Sports Night", the best written show on television. If you have unlimited time to watch any and every show on, start here and begin weeding out the rest.

Aaron Sorkin is the David Mammet, Billy Wilder or Cameron Crowe of the small screen. (And let's not forget his big screen credits, including the screenplays for "The American President" and "A Few Good Men".) His scripts are crisp, clever and funny as can be.

Add the fantastic pacing of a group of talented directors, and you have the one show on TV that compels you to tune everything else out so that you can savor every second of wondrous activity.

To that we can add a great cast. Josh Charles becomes your best friend. Peter Krause and Felicity Huffman create the greatest romantic tension you will find. Joshua Molina is brilliant. Sabrina Lloyd chews scenery with pure joy and a wink. And Robert Guillaume gives consistently spectacular performances, both before and since his stroke.

Don't miss this show! If you do, you'll never get your wasted 30 minutes back.
19 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
one of the best TV shows ever
JamieWJackson11 August 2003
Too bad we can't rate TV shows on IMDB, eh? I wonder what this one would get; I'm sure it would be very high.

Like practically everyone else, it seems, I ran across SN after it had been canceled and was in reruns on cable. It took about 15 seconds to fascinate me, because it was obviously a show about a sports show that somehow wasn't about sports (which naturally made me wonder what it _was_ about), and because the writing was so excellent. Oh, and the acting was good too ;-).

Given all the comments already posted, there seems to be nothing left to say about this program so I'll close by ranking it alongside Babylon 5 and Northern Exposure as one of my all-time favorite shows ever aired on television (the similarities to NE are possibly worth exploring). Really enjoyable stuff; terrible that it only lasted such a short time.
12 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
Weak cup of Joe...
dan-80020 March 2007
I'm glad I didn't watch this series until first catching "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip", which is basically just a re-tread and re-imagining of "SN". The comparisons don't end with script structure and "witty" dialogue - they both have similar actors, characters, and well... everything. Since "SN" was canceled, I suppose "Studio 60" is now as close as you can get. For some, that's a good thing. Not for me.

It is undeniable that this is an entertaining series. The characters are all fun (if way too nice to be believed), each beautifully performed by a very talented cast. The stories are engagingly manipulative. And it's just a cool idea - a series about a Sports show that isn't about Sports.

Unfortunately, Sorkin is absolutely enamored with his own voice, and as such all of his characters adopt this voice. It is not them. It is not what Danny or Dana or Casey would do or say - it's what Sorkin would say if he *were* any of these characters, complete with very self-conscious, clipped, repetitious quips. He writes like a playwright writing as a playwright is supposed to write. Not only does his style not work, it's grating, obnoxious, fairly unoriginal, and - worst of all - totally takes us out of the moments he struggles so hard to create.

Would that were my only complaint.

In addition to some seriously poor production values and editing (probably the result of being forced in front of a studio audience - not Sorkin's choice), not to mention a dopey theme song that continues to rear it's ugly notes, this series (and "Studio 60" to an even greater degree) suffers further from being produced by someone way too close to the subject material. Both shows practically scream "I'm a TV producer! I should make a TV show about making a TV show! That way I can show off all my knowledge of the subject, as well as inject the show with as much obscure information as possible to make me seem even smarter than I already am! Did I mention I'm a hard-working TV writer who won a Writer's Guild award? I'll have my main character be a hard-working TV writer who won a Writer's Guild award! Did I mention that my favorite writers are Paddy Chayefsky and Gilbert & Sullivan? I'll have my Pilot teaser be a rip-off of "Network", and then have my characters espouse their love for Paddy Chayefsky and do a send-up of "Pirates of Penzance"! Did I mention that I have a coke problem? I'll have my main character..." and on and on.

The show's plots also leave a lot to be desired. They are rife with obvious set-ups for lame jokes, and practically shameless "After School Special" or "Christmas at Sports Night" moralizing (the "This is sexual harassment, and I don't have to take it!" episode really stands out, particularly since Natalie is a cloyingly quirky character that no real person would stand working with). While entertaining and inherently watchable, the stories are neither quite as smart as Mr. Sorkin believes they are, nor as intelligent as he himself is. He should - nay, does - know better.

It amazes me how much Sorkin has in common with M. Night Shyamalan - they both have enviable raw talent, are in love with their own works, and yet try so hard you just know that they're incredibly insecure about their own abilities. If they would stop with such egotistical nonsense as forcing their own personal stamp on their projects, and instead just worked to make a great movie or TV show, the entertainment world would be a much better place.

It's true, "SN" is weak. But I suppose bland coffee is better than none at all.
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Above average relationship (comedy)-drama with likable characters but no unique features
The_Smoking_GNU18 January 2015
My Tweets about Sports Night while binge watching the show:

Watching "Sports Night", so many familiar faces.

Sports Night, end of season 1, the workplace relationship drama is starting to grate on me.

(With hindsight) Y2K episodes in TV shows are really lame.

After one and a half seasons of Sports Night I still don't have a clue what good sports reporting is supposed to look like.

Sports Night reminds me of how boring American sports are. At this point most of the Sorkinness I enjoyed on The West Wing has vanished.

"By the way, I met a girl named Suzy today. It sounds like she's the preferred vacation spot for all the men you date."

A "Hooker with a Heart of Gold" storyline.

It seems I'm not the only one who is watching Sports Night / The Newsroom and thinks, was I wrong to love The West Wing?

Sorkin's Sports Night is just another mediocre show, but the scene involving the punchline "You're wearing my shirt, Gordon." is magnificent

Verdict on Sports Night: Above average relationship (comedy)-drama with likable characters but no unique features.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
Finally got around to watching it.
emptystomach246 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I can't believe how underwhelmed I am with it. For the longest time, all I heard was how great this show was and how it was one of the best written shows of all time. Give me a break.

Basically every single character is incredibly annoying & at many times completely insufferable. For the most part I find Dan alright, but besides him, Isaac & Rebecca are the only two characters I don't want to slap every other time they come on screen.

I have never been or heard abut a work environment that was so into each other's personal lives. Every one is so involved with everyone else's sh!t and they are all so open about it. It's extremely unprofessional and I've never experienced intrusiveness of that manner at any job or social/work environment I've ever been apart of, and I was in a fraternity.

Another thing that bothers me is how they are so mean to Sally. Because she is not apart of the super best friends? Oh, she is gunning to be Dana's replacement. What a b!tch!! You know, because we want Natalie to be the next in line cause she's a good buddy so let's be super rude to this other worker who we aren't great friends with. It doesn't make sense & it makes me hate the characters even more.

99.9% of the show takes place in that office/studio. Not showing your characters in any other setting besides the workplace make it limiting. I feel like I'm just watching the same episode over again half the time. And don't say stuff like 'Lost' only took place in one setting. It was a large island outside. Not a confined floor in a building.

And one example of something that really bothered me was when Casey went on the View and the clothing assistant approached him afterward and basically called him out for not mentioning the woman who picks out his outfits when Star Jones complimented him on this suit. And then he just took it. What kind of assistant would have the balls to say something like that to the on air talent? Do your job & shut up. Just another dumb thing that was put in to, I don't know, add drama to the show? It would most likely not happen in real life, and if it did they would fired for talking to a superior like that.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Sports Night
STINGHERSHEY7 June 2005
This show is amazing. I can't even believe it only was on 3 seasons, I would like to know if there are any lost episodes. My husband and I love, love, love this show. It is philosophical, thought provoking, holds symbolism, the communication dialog is with rapid succession, incredibly paced, just amazing. The shows flows with humor, and is really not about sports. Its about relationships, the ups & downs of life, new discoveries, etc..I just can't express enough how wonderful this show is. This is and was the best show ever in the history of television. I just don't understand why it was canceled. Oh, might I also say the direction is awesome. I have not seen West Wing, but will be checking this out. I am just not into politics. But am curious about this show. In closing, I wish they would bring Sports Night back, and all the original characters. Thank you.
8 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Sports Night, We Hardly Knew Ye
Quicksand4 November 2001
Shows on the lowly art form that is Television, that have the audacity to engage one's brain-- from "My So-Called Life" to "Homicide: Life on the Street"-- never, ever last very long. Or long enough.

I kick myself every time I see this show on Comedy Central, because I never once watched it on ABC-- it's all my fault it was canceled. Well, not really-- what the heck would ANYONE be doing watching ABC in the first place? Especially a show as great as this, sandwiched between what was probably a lame 30-minute sitcom, and a lamer 60-minute pretend-drama?

"Sports Night" is neither of these things-- never have television characters been so real, never have I just sat riveted in front of the TV, taking such wonderful joy and happiness in the dialogue and the way the actors loved to speak it. Knowing there will never be another "Sports Night" episode is like coming to the end of a really great novel-- you carry the story with you, but the characters are gone forever. You miss them, but it is, alas, beyond your control.

Aaron Sorkin, who writes such great dialogue (see also "A Few Good Men," and later, "The American President") created a good and wonderful thing, and I only wish more people had had the courage to follow him. For now, we're stuck with the ridiculously preachy and self-absorbed (but high-rated; go figure) "The West Wing," but that can't go on forever.

If Sorkin CAN go on (and we're rooting for him)-- then I know I, for one, will follow him anywhere.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Smart!
saraarts10 August 1999
It is rare that I am moved to joy by a network TV show, but Sports Night has done it.

I'm a total geek. I don't do sports. Why should I like this show? Because it's smart. Really smart. They use big words. They talk fast. This show has wit, irony, outright human silliness, and even some slapstick, as well as drama, intrigue, and politics. Most of the time, there is no perceptible laugh track to insult me, although I think the producers tried it on somewhat subtly for a couple of episodes. Also, this show isn't really about sports, it's about life, all the tenderness and humiliation and care that everybody puts in and takes out every day.

Although it waxes a bit self-conscious and preachy at times, and even though there's a whole lot more romance happening in this office than I ever saw anywhere I ever worked, it's a new show and it holds a lot of promise. I really hope it survives to flourish, prosper, and deepen, and that the producers continue to leave the laugh track out.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
I just don't like it for many reasons.
Phoenix-2428 July 1999
What's the deal with all this subtlety? I don't want to spend time trying to recognize all those little plot twists and turns. I want my shows to be plain and obvious, like all the other shows on TV. Speaking of which, this show has a complex plot that changes from episode to episode! Where is that standard sitcom conclusion at the end where nothing ever changes and everything remains the same? I miss that! I want everything wrapped up in 22 minutes so I can stop wondering what is going to happen next.

And the writing! I'm not very smart, so I need the shows I watch to use tried and true cliches that I'm sure to see coming, since I've seen them previously in other sitcoms. This has nothing but out of the blue witticisms and banter that moves so fast you actually have to pay attention. I don't want to have to think when I watch TV!

And is it a sitcom or a drama? Sometimes it's one, sometimes it's the other. It's like watching two shows at the same time. I don't like that, I need to have my entertainment clearly delineated into specific categories.

Also, why call a show Sports Night when it has almost nothing to do with sports? It's all about these people's lives, who just happen to do a sports broadcast. So call it Making of Sports Night instead, because I confuse easily enough as it is.

Of course I'm being sarcastic. Sports Night is so good, it goes off the meter. There are no other shows to even compare it against. It is the best-written show on television today, possibly ever. The only real complaint one might say is that this show could be before its time. It is intelligently written, unlike almost every other show on television today. The characters are smart, and don't have to have all the answers handed to them, nor do they even have all the answers. Bad things happen, as well as good, just like in reality.

Seriously, it is the best show on. Period.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The best TV dramady of the late 1990s
brg3621 April 2004
Thank goodness for Aaron Sorkin, the genius responsible for both West Wing and Sports Night. Sports Night -- which, I am told, was cancelled in 2000 only because Sorkin couldn't keep up with doing two shows at once and chose to focus on West Wing -- follows the lives of the anchors and crew of a studio sports highlight show (similar to ESPN's SportsCenter) and does it with a fast, fresh originality generally missing from television today. You don't need to be a sports fan to appreciate it (although a basic knowledge of the sports world certainly won't hurt you); the show's secret is in its blend of subtle humor -- you'll rarely laugh out loud, but it's a guaranteed half hour of smirks and chuckles -- and drama. It does neither perfectly, but combines the two better than any show I've seen. The characters are likeable but struggle with real problems that remind me of my own life and the lives of my friends.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Brilliant Television
Happy_Scrappy19 November 2002
Many people call Sports Night a great sitcom with great writing and great acting, but I would disagree. While it is true that Sports Night has some of the most Mamet-esque dialogue ever seen on a network show, and every bit of acting is top-notch, I would disagree with calling the show a "sitcom". In my opinion, Sports Night is anything but a sitcom. "Friends" is a sitcom, "Malcom in the Middle" is a sitcom (albeit an unusual one that tries and succeeds in breaking the mold), even one of my favorite shows of all time, "The Simpsons", is a sitcom. But Sports Night is not. Sports Night cannot be called a dramatic show by any means, either. The best thing to call Sports Night is great television. It is quite simply that, and nothing less. The situations feel like real life, only better. The characters love their jobs, and they feel so real that when you turn on ESPN you expect to hear the voices of Dan Rydell and Casey McCall come over the TV at you and tell you about the Laker's latest win (or, as the case seems to be at the moment, loss). The situations so flawlessly arise and dissipate while intermeshing with each other that the show can almost feel intrusive at times, like you are watching something that you shouldn't be watching. Observe Dan's public apology to his brother Sam in "The Apology" and tell me that that isn't great drama. Then, look to Casey and Dana fighting in the back of the set as Jeremy walks in with Dana yelling, "Yea, you better wanna see me naked!" and tell me that that isn't brilliant comedy. Hell, I have a new way to end a conversation that I don't want to be involved in thanks to the show, "Y'know what? Right now, the length of this conversation is way out of proportion to my interest in it." I can wax lyrical about the verbal riffs, the situations right out of real life, and the riches presented by the recent box set, but it isn't necessary. All I need to say right now is: If you are a fan of David Mamet, quirky characters, or simply great TV, do not miss this show.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Best-written show on TV
ptgullas21 October 1998
I first came across this show as I was flipping channels during the final game of the ALCS...and I didn't change back until "Sports Night" was over. It really is as close to perfection as a TV show can get. The acting & directing are first-rate, but the writing is what makes "Sports Night" really stand out from all the chaff that's out there. The dialogue is smart & funny, and there are a lot of very thought-provoking elements. The writers have enough respect for the viewers to not spell out every plot point, letting you make the connections for yourselves.

It's too bad that my VCR is broken, because the script is so full of subtleties & symbolism (yes, symbolism!)that each show should probably be viewed more than once. I know that some people cringe at the somewhat pretentious term "dramedy", but this is a very enjoyable & accessible show that deserves a lot of support. I agree with the previous poster who said that if you like this show, write ABC and say so! I would hate to see this show get cancelled.

Maybe this show's only flaw is its title, "Sports Night", which when I first heard it, conjured up images of a sitcom where a bunch of overweight guys sit around on Monday nights to watch football & complain about their marriages, but believe me, this show is NOTHING like that. In fact, it's a show that's head & shoulders above everything else on TV. You owe it to yourself to check it out. (Tuesday nights at 9:30 on ABC)
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Perfect in every way
loopydate3 May 2002
"Sports Night" is, without a doubt, the greatest show in the history of television.

Let's start with the cast. My favorite character is Dan (Josh Charles), simply because his own neuroses often mirror my own. He's had his ego stepped on more than once, and he is wary of putting himself out in the world for fear that it will happen again. I also find that I have a lot in common with Jeremy (Josh Malina). We're unathletic types with a desire for sports (and, coincidentally enough, the office brunette). Sabrina Lloyd (Natalie) is one of the most beautiful women in the history of television. Felicity Huffman (Dana) and the amazing Peter Krause (Casey) have the best "will-they-or-won't-they?" chemistry since the first season of "Friends." And, what can be said about Robert Guillaume (Isaac) that hasn't been said already?

The writing is impeccable. As an aspiring writer, Aaron Sorkin is the pinnacle of my desired position. His work with "SN," as well as "A Few Good Men," "The American President," and "The West Wing" is the best ever produced. His way with the spoken word is unparalleled.

In fact, I was inspired to become a writer after watching the "Quality of Mercy at 29K" episode. The sheer human joy expressed by Dana after seeing "The Lion King," and her subsequent ultra-moving conversation with Casey was the most heartfelt moment I've ever seen on television.

DANA: I didn't know we could do that! Did you know we could do that? CASEY: Well, when I forget, something usually reminds me.

From there, Dan's scene with the homeless man at the end further solidified in my head that this is what I want to do with my life.

Thomas Schlamme and the other directors of "Sports Night" made the show the most visually dynamic program on TV, and I'm glad to see that "West Wing" has continued the Sorkin/Schlamme working relationship.

I regret not watching this show when it was on ABC, but I thank God for Comedy Central. My only gripe is that CC puts the show on at 2:30 in the morning (and even then, only a couple of days a week). If CC gave "Sports Night" a spot in their daily primetime lineup (may I suggest at 7:00 as a lead-in to "Beat The Geeks?"), it would please loyal "Sports Night"-owls a further reason to worship the Comedy Central higher-ups.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
GREAT FREAKING TELEVISION!!!!
n0rmnbates15 April 2002
This show is posible the best written comedy on television! Aaron Sorkin is a genious! His show Sports Night is a great blend of writing, acting, and directing, this show is the best! Now that the show is only in syndication, few people know about it, but i think that this show should come back! Bring Back Sports Night!!!... sorry, but this show is GREAT!!!!!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
SO good, thanks Comedy Central!
thepjfan12 April 2001
I am so happy that Comedy Central picked up the old episodes of Sports Night, allowing me to correct the error on my part that stopped me from seeing the first season. This was an incredible show. The acting, the timing, and the writing were all first-rate, some of the best from TV in a long time. I can't help but think that reason people didn't warm to Sports Night is because of the fast-pacing and blurry line between sit-com and drama. I thank Comedy Central for showing the episodes now because I can finally see Casey again, and Dan, and Dana, Jeremy, Natalie and Isaac. Little things, like Casey doing the crossword without hesitation for Dana, and Dan knowing everyone on his girlfriends floor from just the sound of their voices, those got to me. I have nothing bad to say about Sports Night, if only there was more TV like this on, the viewing public deserves better than most of whats available, and Sports Night was just that, a lot better.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
When I rewind the tape, I always have to wind a little bit more.
Clive-Silas30 September 2005
Finally, FINALLY, we, that is to say me and the other two people in the United Kingdom who are even aware of the newly launched abc1 satellite/cable channel, get to see Sports Night, the half hour comedy-drama that was too good to stay on the air on which the estimable Aaron Sorkin cut his writer-creator teeth before giving us the West Wing. The first time I saw The West Wing, I sat there afterwards with my mouth agape, and I said to myself, "My God, the sky is falling. The Americans now make better television than we do." I'm taping each episode of Sports Night so that I can wallow anew in wonderful, new (to me) outpourings of brilliance from the Sorkin typewriter. But if I pause or rewind the tape, because I have one of those antiquated video machines where the sound does not come straight back when you press Play, I'm always having to rewind just a little bit more. Because invariably I can see that in that brief silent period - not more than a second or two at most - the actor's lips are going like an express train, and, what is more to the point, I know that unlike just about any other programme I can think of, every syllable will be worth hearing.

I'm so glad to finally be able to see this virtually unknown gem. Sorkin has left The West Wing and no doubt has followed the siren's call to the silver screen, but that is a waste. Aaron Sorkin is a man who has developed the art of Television to far greater heights than anyone could have imagined; it is his natural home and I hope we will see a great deal more of his work on the medium he made his own.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Top telly!
Kell Smurthwaite8 November 2004
I've been watching Sports Night since ABC1 started up over here & was instantly hooked. I'm not a fan of West Wing, so I wasn't expecting much from a programme by the same writer. What a pleasant surprise - Sports Night is well written, witty, absolutely hilarious! My only problem is they keep repeating the same episodes on ABC1 - I want to see the rest of it! The cast of this show are superb, with wonderful chemistry. Especially well played is the interplay between Casey & Danny - what a double act! And the constant will they/won't they of Casey & Dana keeps everything ticking along nicely.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Despite all its flaws, an absolute classic
hobo_hobisho27 July 2004
Let me preface this by saying that I fully recognize Sports Night's flaws. The repetitive dialouge can be a bit grating, and at times it does smack of trying too hard. But the acting on this show is amazing. Josh Charles and Joshua Malina in particular stand out. The first few episodes of the show are a bit shaky, but as it finds its legs, the show grows to be incredibly funny, witty, and moving. The friendships depicted between the characters are not the superficial, material-based friendships so common on TV these days. The lead characters care for each other, and the viewer can absolutely feel that. Robert Guillame (Sp?) as Issac Jaffe is amazing. The only character I dislike is that of Dana--played brilliantly by Felicity Huffman--but even Dana's annoying quirks become lovable as part of this amazing television experience. I fully recommend watching Sports Night for a laugh, or even a cry. Don't be deterred by the flaky edges--at the center, this show is rich and fulfilling.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews