Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip -- an early look
I'll have a full review of the Studio 60 pilot after the show premieres this Monday (NBC, 10pm), but here's a sneak peek at what you can expect, and my first impressions.
I haven't seen all of the pilots yet. I've seen many of them, and Studio 60 stands so far above them it's almost like they have to say, "this isn't television, it's Studio 60," but HBO already snagged that tag line. Besides, there's nothing else on TV that's more TV than Studio 60, since it's set in the world of television.
First off, you have Aaron Sorkin as the creator/writer. Nothing else really needs to be said, except maybe list his resume: The West Wing, Sports Night, A Few Good Men, The American President, as well as an uncredited script doctor on several movies, including Schindler's List.
Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford star as Matt Albie and Danny Tripp, the genius head writer/producer (respectively) of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, an SNL-like show. They were ousted from the show four years ago, and now after an on-air meltdown from the creator/producer of the show (Judd Hirsch), the new head of the NBS network, Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) wants to rehire them, not only to calm any fallout from the controversy, but to also bring Studio 60 back to its former glory). McDeere's hardass boss, Jack Rudolph (Steven Weber) isn't too keen on the idea, but he also wants Studio 60 back to where it once was and wants to please his bosses too.
I'll save all of the nitty-gritty details on how the duo comes back to the show, what secrets they have in their past, who has slept with whom, who likes whom, who dislikes whom, etc for my review on Monday night. I've seen the first two episodes of the show and it truly lives up to expectations, but that's to be expected with Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme behind the scenes and the actors listed above in front of it (oh, and I haven't even mentioned the supporing cast yet: D.L. Hughley, Sarah Paulson, Timothy Busfield, Nathan Cordrry, and others). And this won't be just a fluffy behind the scenes look at an entertainment show. Judging from the second ep, Sorkin will be confronting some heavy issues (religion, censorship, the media). It just so happens it also happens to be deliriously entertaining too.
I really hope NBC (and viewers) give this a chance to catch on.