Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, The Complete Series - DVD review
I almost didn't want to review this DVD set. Did I really want to go back into those murky waters again and bring up all those old disagreements? But here we go...
Actually, the DVD set for Studio 60 is much like the TV series itself. It starts out brilliantly and then as it goes on it starts to get worse and worse. But then it ends nicely!
Pretty standard packaging, just a regular box containing three plastic holders housing two DVDs each. The artwork on each plastic holder is fairly interesting. Instead of a large pic on the front and the info on the inside, all the episode info is on the front and back of each individual holder, including pics from episodes and promotional pics.
I'm impressed by both of these, for two reasons. One, the sound and video are good, period. And two, the sound and video are both better than I remember them from the NBC versions, if that's possible. Picture-wise, it just seems cleaner (you can see things in the background a lot clearer than I remember from the original run) and the sound isn't as "loud" as I remember. The sound seems to have a better balance and you can hear all the dialogue now (a must for any Aaron Sorkin show). I remember the pilot especially being really loud and busy originally. It's not that way on the disc.
Now here's where the disappointment I mentioned comes in. There's only one commentary. That's right, just one. And that's a shame, because if there's any short-lived show that needs a lot of commentaries to find out what creators, cast, and crew think of what happened it's this one. The one commentary is on the pilot, and it's done by Sorkin and director/producer Tommy Schlamme. It's fairly interesting, as they explain how and where the pilot was shot and how certain actors got their roles and how Amanda Peet juggled a Broadway show with filming the pilot, but the lack of commentaries on the other episodes really stands out. It would have really been nice to get some commentaries from some of the stars.
There is a feature on the last disc (this is what I mean by the disc ending nicely like the show), called "The Evolution of Studio 60". It's actually pretty good. It's hosted by Timothy Busfield, who gives a tour of the set. Interestingly, it was filmed while the pilot was filmed, so it's long before they knew the show would only last one season. When Busfield introduces Matthew Perry, he says "you might remember him from The Whole Ten Yards," and when he introduces Bradley Whitford he says "he's probably best known for Revenge of the Nerds 2." The feature also includes interviews with all of the cast members and a time-lapsed view of the set construction.
So...if you liked the show, you'll like the DVD. It's nice to have the whole series in one set and know that it actually has an ending to the story. You can watch the first few episodes and say "wow, this show is fantastic!" and then watch the "Harriet Dinner" two-parter and say "these are two of the worst episodes of any series I've seen this year." But overall Studio 60 was quite a good show. Certainly one that deserved a second season. More commentaries would have been really welcome on this set, but all of the episodes are here uncut and unedited, so we can be thankful for that.