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|Index||136 reviews in total|
This program is a marvelous combination of writing skills and acting talent, bringing together at least a good part of the team that created and sustained "The West Wing" through its finest seasons. There are wonderful characters who interact with warmth, intelligence and (mostly subtle but occasionally laugh-out-loud) humor. I want to learn more about these (fictional) people! Maybe this is not really what goes on behind the scenes of a "live comedy show" - but it feels like it could be the truth, just like "The West Wing" felt real and made you hope that our elected officials had the ethics, heart and spirit of the Bartlett administration! My only problem with this show is that I can never find it. Is is my imagination, or are they playing with the air dates and times? I was deeply saddened at the passing of John Spencer and extremely upset that "The West Wing" left the air. I rejoice that so many of its fine points are brought together in Studio 60 - but it's almost a hide and seek game to find it! My purely personal and selfish choice would be Wednesday nights at 8:00 or 9:00. That is a perfect time. I got used to that time for the "West Wing." Now that night holds no interest for me at all. Why not just slide "Studio 60" into the original "West Wing" slot and let it live there?? What would be wrong with that? I have found nothing else worth watching on that night. "The Closer" "House" and "Monk" are on other nights, and I don't want to have to choose between them....
Network: NBC; Genre: Dramedy; Content Rating: TV-14 (language and adult
dialog); Perspective; Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4);
Seasons Reviewed: 1 season
Even though he only has two shows to his name, Aaron Sorkin's style is so distinct and instantly recognizable that most TV viewers already know what they are getting with "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip". So this review is strictly for the Sorkin fans, who may find it thrilling or befuddling to watch him spend every bit of capital he attained from "The West Wing" to go back to the behind-the-TV-scenes "Sports Night" well.
"Studio 60" starts off like a firecracker. Fresh out of rehab and angry as hell at the state of TV today, Sorkin opens the show with Judd Hirsh as the head writer for the title series, up to his intellectual ears in reality TV and network pandering to both the lowest common denominator and political interest groups, lashing out in and on-air meltdown of biblical proportions. Right off the bat "Studio 60" says everything I have been dying for a TV show to stand up and say: that it doesn't have to be like that and all it takes is one show that doesn't believe that the audience is stupid to make a difference. But is "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" that show?
On her first day on the job, NBS programming executive Jordan McDiere (Amanda Peet) must deal with the crisis at Studio 60 while being fought at every turn by programming president Steven Weber. As someone who believes in the Hirsch character's TV outlook, she hires highly regarded and controversial former writers Matt (Matthew Perry) and just-out-of-rehab Danny (Bradley Whitford) to add some class and edge to the late-night sketch comedy series. Studio 60, itself is a transparent "Saturday Night Live" satire starring Simon (D. L. Hughley), Tom (Nathan Corddry) and Matt's crush and the show's token Christian Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson). Timothy Busfield is a kick as the show's frazzled director.
How can it loose? Perry giving a bitter twist on his "Friends" persona, Whitford - the breakout actor from "The West Wing" - given a lead role and Aaron Sorkin back in his element. NBC taking it on the chin every Monday night. Sign me up. Even though it appears Sorkin has abandoned his trademark rapid-fire dialog and the history lesson are now limited to the fictitious history of the studio, his angry liberal rants and fairy tale romanticism is still in tact.
As much as I wanted to like his latest creation, if only for having the guts to cleverly lacerate its own network, it became hard to get past the elephant in the room. The show within the show makes no sense. The show is never able to decide if it wants to parody the inane political posturing, lame character sketches and Christian-bashing of "Saturday Night Live" or if it wants to be better than "SNL". All the characters walk around talking about how intellectual and satirical Matt and Danny's jokes are. Yet every time we actually see "Studio 60", it delivers a lame Tom Cruise impression in Celebrity Jeopardy, "The Nicholas Cage Show" or Hughley hosting "Pimp My Trike" (the most infamous 15 seconds in the show's history). I might as well be watching "SNL". The show smartly never shows us Matt's infamous "Crazy Christians" sketch. "Nations" is looking pretty good right now.
Oh, there is some great stuff here. The 2nd episode, "The Cold Opening" is from start to finish exceptional. In it we actually see the elaborate musical number the show has been concocting for the last hour (rare for behind-the-scenes shows to show us the final product so this was refreshing). A sub plot involving a ticking clock until show time that mocks Matt is icing on the cake. "The Wrap Party" in which Hughley seeks out an original, cliché-free black comic to write for the show is also fine work and "The West Coast Delay" in which the show races to prevent a plagiary accusation is a hoot. Also working is a budding relationship between Tim and freshman writer Lucy ("The Office's" Lucy Davis, always a delight) that under Sorkin's eye has an adorable puppy dog innocence (another Sorkin staple).
But before the fledgling first season comes to its end the show has lost its focus entirely. Sorkin makes two crucial mistakes. First, he becomes overbearingly single-minded in a mission to prove to the audience that the Christian right and the FCC are the two greatest threats to American life. Again and again Matt and Harriet go up against each other over false-premise debates about religion, gay marriage, middle-America etc. Second, his desire to get all the characters together (including the most likely of couples) buries the show in the same hopelessly romantic pabulum that helped kill "Sports Night". Both of these tones take away from what the show does best.
What "Studio" does best is recreate the sweaty chaos of getting a live show on the air and those late night writing sessions where no idea works. I love that most of the stories existing in the minutes before the show or between the end of the show and a wrap party that nobody seems to make it to.
"Studio 60" is an entertaining watch, brave for network TV, with solid writing and capable performances, but Sorkin goes on auto-pilot and allows it to wander of the reservation into an edgeless, warmed over "Sports Night" clone, toning down the TV industry inside-Baseball in an attempt to garner an audience that wouldn't appreciate him anyway. Only those that like "Studio 60" a lot will be the ones disappointed by it. Yes, I still think TV can be successful without pandering to the "Cheaters" crowd, but you have to take it all the way. Playing both sides against the middle doesn't work either.
* * * / 4
This show is utterly spectacular in the way that its fast-pace moves so
seamlessly from love interests to pop-culture references to actual
themes and motifs that truly need to be discussed and made available to
viewers today. Aaron Sorkin's initial scene with Judd Hersch ranting on
for minutes (which seemed like hours because they were filled with so
much truth that I didn't want to see it end) was the most brilliant
opening to a sitcom that I have ever seen and would challenge anyone to
find a better, more poignant way, to announce your shows presence,
authority and agenda.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this show is its unapologetic way of demanding that people take notice of themselves and what they are being subjected to as viewers and active participants in their television world. That world, and the one outside of our doors are not too dissimilar at all and need to be understood as one before we can ever make an abundant change. Sorkin gives people the ammunition to do just that. Just as he did with "West Wing" and, to a lesser degree "Sports Night" he delivers the goods that are abuzz in our society and makes them available for comment because he starts the ball.
Finally, his blend of characters and cast members is a stroke of brilliance and every one of them was born for their role and they embrace his ideas with their thought and passion that they've involved in this show.
What a winner! I am an avid TV watcher. If it weren't for my DVR, I'd have to quit work just to watch my shows. With that in mind, Fall is my favorite time of year with all the new shows to indulge in, as well as the returning shows. This year, the Fall schedule was a bit disappointing. It was a slow start. I recorded everything that sounded the least bit interesting. SMITH was on that list. Then 4 episodes later it was pulled. That was some quick decision making. RUNAWAY was also on that list - no idea what happened to that. Then there was Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Hated the first episode. Felt like I was missing something not being "in the industry", but gave it another shot and discovered a great cast ensemble and a clever and excellently written script. Since then I have fallen hard for these characters and their inner complexities. The story lines leave me wanting more at the end of every episode. Thank you for hanging in there even when viewer-ship wasn't what you had anticipated. Give it some time...
Although it seems that with its time slot, "Studio 60" will be gone after one season, this show is a keeper hands down. From writer Aaron Sorkin, this show brings insight in an abnormally engaging manner seen only in shows like the west wing, to a sketch comedy show much like that of "Saturday night live." So far Matthew Perry (Matt Albie), Bradley Whitford (Danny Trip), and Amanda Peet (Jordan Mcdeere) have all brought forth multi-leveled characters all of which are eye-candy to watch. Hopefully the writers of the show can keep this one rolling because this show is a refreshing reminder of what good ideas, good writing, and good acting are supposed to look like when they are all blended together. Should this show find a better time slot on NBC there is no doubt that the greater majority of the television watching country will agree.
Studio 60 has some nice elements. There were some moments that were
smart, some that were funny. But as a whole, the show never really
We'll at the very end, it got pretty good. After they turned it into "The West Wing". At the very end, they started dealing with war, and the military, and the kinds of big issues The West Wing dealt with.
No the reason the show was fascinating was psychological, not artistic. There was lots in the press at the time about the on-again, off-again relationship between Sorkin and Kristen Chenoweth. In the show, Sorkin wrote a TV producer and a really talented performer who were parallels of them. Week after week, Sorkin would show us the conflicts between these characters. Sorkin was still trying to explain himself, win the argument, or accept blame for the conflicts in his own life.
It was fascinating and creepy to watch art imitate life.
I'm from Ireland and maybe I don't have the right to comment on the
idiocy of Americans canceling this show but screw it...
Was it not action packed enough that it bored you or was it that it was just too intelligent for red neck sons-of-bi***es and too liberal that it made you feel uncomfortable and question your ability to follow big words? The few in America that did watch this amazing series will know of the disappoint of the departure of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and I aim not my attack at you.
Shows like Over There and Studio 60 were controversial voicing their views on the war in Iraq. Both are canceled. I suppose Americans don't like to hear how their government lied to them and just what the troops and family's waiting back home go through.
Many people are going to disagree with me and that's fine. People are allowed to express whatever they feel. Studio 60 wasn't just a show it was a whole different world, one in which pulled me in like Alice in Wonderland. It was quick and sharp. You miss a second and you'll lose the conversation. But like Alice in Wonderland "off with it's head" was the order.
I don't normally quote Frank Capra, but I can't figure it out. "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," is one of the best television shows ever made and right now it's on the brink of cancellation, and I can't figure out why. People watch the inconceivably boring "Lost," rather blindly and yet an intelligent well-written show that both brilliantly criticizes and embraces television and is more funny and purely entertaining than any other show on television. The only thing I can conceive of is that people just don't get it. I've heard one criticism that the SNL-like skits within the show aren't funny, but I think they are just as good if not better than SNL's. (I mean, if you can't see the humor of Santa Clause on "Dateline's, To Catch a Predator," than you just don't know funny, or have a very low ability to analyze intellectual humor.) Besides, the show's not about the skits that are on the air, it's about how they get written and the people that write them, and the rest of the people that put the show on, so people looking for funny skits are missing the point, and also don't know that most people who write comedy don't laugh at every little joke, at least most good writers don't. They're people who've studied and honed their craft for years, and know why something is funny and why it isn't and if it works how well it works, and on how many levels the joke works, they don't need to laugh, and they actually rarely do. I've seen every episode of the show so far, and watch many of them numerous times on Bravo and on the internet, and I laugh hysterically every time, and find it the most entertaining show on television, and quite arguably Aaron Sorkin's greatest work. Anybody else who feels this way, and I know more people are out there, I feel every commitment should be made to keep the show on the air. It is television at it's finest, and shouldn't be thrown aside just because it's over some people heads and doesn't include guns, violence, sex, or reality shows where people pick a number, and get cheered. Keep it on the air NBC, and shame if you don't.
I started watching "Studio 60" on the second episode which aired after
the first episode of "Heroes." I was hooked immediately. The writing is
typical Sorkin brilliance and verisimilitude while the issues are
closer to my heart as a Christian in the arts/entertainment business
than the issues of "The West Wing."
A few months ago a Conservative think-tank issued a statement condemning "Studio 60" as being anti-Christian. I think the only way someone could say that is if they saw the pilot, read into it, and never watched the show again. Christianity is represented only slightly less than fairly here, and I think it's ironic that a Conservative/Christian group would begin to boycott a show that addresses Christian boycotts.
I love this show and did a little dance when it was picked up for the back 9. Way to go, Sorkin!
Anyone complaining that "Studio 60" is simply a liberal propaganda
machine clearly hasn't watched the show. While it is filled with very
liberal points of view, one of the show's main characters (played ably
by Sarah Paulson) is very much a pro-Christian conservative character.
Furthermore supporting players are often of a more conservative nature
(John Goodman as a small town judge, as well as Tom's parents sen in a
n episode to name a few) and are generally portrayed favorably. The
shows does in fact lean liberal, but the writing is so crisp and clever
and the performances so "on" even a "moderate" like myself can watch
and enjoy the Republican bashing that does go on. It is a point of
view, and all great entertainment with some sort of message has one.
That being said, there is one distinct fault with the otherwise funny and involving show...the show within the show. We are supposed to buy into the "Studio 60" show they work on as being popular and perceived in it's reality as "funny". It is not. Or to be fair, it rarely is. Some funny concepts, but not a funny show. This hurts the credibility and honesty of the drama. If one can look past this and hope the show within the show improves, there is a lot to admire here. The production values are stellar, the cast very strong on their toes even with the most rapid-fire banter and the concept an interesting one. May be worth opening your minds to it on Mondays.
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