Sunday, July 01, 2007

Relative Superficialities: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

I was a big West Wing fan. I did stop watching it for years after Aaron Sorkin left, but...I think it was sometime last year...after I loaded up my Netflix queue with the rest of the series, I was surprised that I still enjoyed it pretty well, and made it through to the end.

So I was pretty excited when Studio 60 was coming out and loved the season opener.

But then - as, I would wager to say, a majority of critics and fans would agree - the show quickly went south. I stopped watching it.

But I didn't delete it from my DVR timer and - from time to time - I would stick my toe back into the Sorkin pond.

I think I might have missed some episodes, but some days ago I started working thru the last few episodes - specifically, the last 4, which are written as a three-parter and a season (which turned out to be a series) finale.

I was really surprised; they were really good! I think I read somewhere that Sorkin did re-direct the show mid-stream toward a focus on the relationships and less of a focus on the drama of doing a comedy show (a premise that never worked). The last few episodes reflect that and are well worth seeing.

One of the most interesting plot threads as the show moved towards its series finale was the faith of Christian cast member Harriet Hayes and her interactions with others on the show. During some genuine crises, she separately entreats both Danny Tripp - who exec produces the show - and Matt Albie - the show's head writer - to pray with her. They respond in opposite, very real ways.

So if, like me, you liked the concept and beginning of the show but dropped off along with the show's quality, this is just an encouragement that you'll likely enjoy the final few episodes of this show.

You can view them online on the show's site or download them for $1.50 apiece on iTunes.


brad said...

i really enjoyed the studio 60. i thought it had some incredible writing...the kind of stuff i hadn't seen for tv in years. i was extremely disappointed when they took it off the air. so i followed some blogs to find out what was happening. apparently, the show they replaced it with, 'the black donahues', did worse than studio 60 and they decided to finish out the season.

i will be extremely surprised if it is back for a second season. however, i was thrilled they picked it back up and wrote a proper ending.


Claude said...

I'll give you three out of the four episodes, but the last one was pretty poor. There was way too much wrapping-up going on and a lot of the resolutions went a long way toward unraveling plot points that were established much earlier:

--Jordan was all about Danny since the day they met?
--Matt & Danny quit five years ago? Weren't we told repeatedly that they were fired?
--Mary the lawyer drops off the face of the earth, as does the whole storyline about the company that cuts hostage deals.
--No Darius the last several episodes. I'm guessing the actor playing him just plain bailed out.
--Other missing persons: only about five seconds of Cal. And Tom's parents were in the building the entire time but we never saw them.

Danny said something about "nine different kinds of dumb" during the episode; there's a quick five right there.

Don't get me wrong; I love the Sorkin but this was all kinds of problematic, especially considering that he likely knew that the series wouldn't be back.

Perhaps next time he comes up with a show he won't use it as a form of therapy.