I have to admit that I was a huge fan of the West Wing. I thought it was “the most intelligent show on television“. The last season (or was it two?) though — after Aaron Sorkin stopped writing — it really jumped the shark. I was still pretty sad to see it go. I have the first three seasons on DVD and I’ll likely get the rest. It was brilliant; the writing, the acting, the direction were all better than any other television show in years.
I have been anxiously waiting for the premiere of Studio 60. There was a big chunk of me that was doubtful, even a little scared, that it wouldn’t be very good. I felt the same way about the new Batman and the new Superman. How could Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme possibly create another show as good as the West Wing? Sure they had Bradley Whitford again, but would he be able to be anyone other than Josh Lyman? And Chandler as his co-star? And why in the name of all that is good and holy would they possibly want to go up against Monday Night Football?!
And yet, incredibly, the pilot was awesome. The second episode was awesome. One of the very, very few good things about football in Los Angeles is that it tends to not conflict with anything else. MNF is usually put to bed by 9 out here, so only 95% of NFL fans in the country are going to get screwed out of watching the new best show on television. Yeah, I said that. It’s the best show on television. I can say that. Rescue Me is on hiatus and the Sopranos went on permanent hiatus a few seasons ago.
If you’ve been paying attention to this site for the previous 6+ years then you probably know that I am a huge fan of Gilbert & Sullivan‘s The Pirates of Penzance. I almost fell off the bed when I realized — immediately, of course — that the grande finale of the “finding the cold opening” sub-plot was going to be A Modern Major-General! Not only did Sorkin and Schlamme manage to do it again, but I actually think that Studio 60 is going to be better than West Wing was.
Watch this show.
- No, there is not really a Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. There actually aren’t really any studios at all on the Sunset Strip. There are a ton of great bars and clubs, though. The studios are all much farther East on Sunset and not near what you would consider “the Strip”.
- The show is similar to the West Wing in that you can’t really call it a comedy and you can’t really call it a drama.
- I don’t think Amanda Peet was a very good choice as the president of a television company; she’s simply too young. The jury’s still out, though.
- Matthew Perry is better than I had expected; he’s not just Chandler.
- If you get a chance, read “Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live“. It’s pretty obvious that Sorkin did.
- NBC is apparently trying to promote Studio 60 with a pretend website, but we’re already two episodes into the first season and still almost every link on the mock site is broken.