I agree with most of the critics that the series took a drop in quality in Season 5. With the departure of Sorkin, the characters began to make decisions that seemed inconsistent with the first four seasons (I'll write more about that in a separate article). Seasons 6 and 7 saw an upswing in quality, mostly due to the change in the whole premise of the show (making it about the Presidential Election rather than the Presidency).
The West Wing was a very deep and intelligent program and probably better than we deserve. Next up: Aaron Sorkin's other television contributions, Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
In Plain Sight has become one of my favorite TV shows. I didn't think that way last year, its rookie season, when the show lurched a bit to try and find balance between Mary's professional life as a U.S. Marshal in the Witness Protection Program and her dysfunctional personal life with an alcoholic mother, a troubled younger sister with a drug-dealing boyfriend, and an on-again/off-again relationship with a hot Latin minor league baseball player.
When it went well, it was very satisfying, but the show seemed to be struggling to find its tone. Well, this season is a whole new thing. Perhaps there were changes behind the scenes, perhaps the first year was about shaking out all those story strands and building a stronger foundation, perhaps it was simply the actors getting more comfortable in their roles. Whatever the case, In Plain Sight is now hitting on all cylinders.
His last show utilizing this concept, Studio 60, didn't fare so well and was cancelled after a single season. However, this program concept would also incorporate the discussion of politics, which Sorkin excels at, as proven in The West Wing. We may have a winner here.
Sorkin is certainly a multi-talented writer. He's written movies and plays as well as television. I believe he can make this sort of program work. I even confess to liking an earlier incarnation of this concept, Al Franken's Lateline.
So what do you think? Do you welcome a return by Sorkin to television or is his reputation overblown?
But this isn't any old list – our Top 40 TV Shows of the '90s is just the first in a new series of countdowns in which we'll put our AOL Television seal of approval on the top 40 series of every decade.
Every other month we'll tackle another decade, going all the way back to the '50s, to recall the best comedies (hello 'Lucy'), the best prime-time soaps (do you remember who shot JR?), the best cop shows, animated series and groundbreaking TV shows.
So kick off 50 years of silver-screen bests with the greatest shows of the '90s, including everyone from 'Beavis,' 'Buffy' and 'Simpsons' to 'Freaks and Geeks' and teens on the 'Creek.'
The box set costs $69.99 and contains a 10th anniversary book, behind-the-scenes featurettes, new interviews, blooper reels, commentaries by the cast and creative team, and deleted scenes. A complete series box set has been available since 2002, but that version had no special features.
A few weeks ago, AOL Television editors and TV Squad bloggers teamed up to name the shows they wished could come back from the dead.
Many of you wondered, "Where's Arrested Development? Freaks and Geeks?? Sports Night???" You took issue with some of the choices -- especially shows that had long runs, like The West Wing. For others, our picks were too edgy, like Keen Eddie.
So, we gave you the chance to strike back: We asked fans on both sites to nominate the shows you'd resurrect from the graveyard of television. Boy, was there a long list. We gathered together some of the best posts and here are the results.
Keith Olbermann has a new gig.
Or should I say "another gig," as he'll still be host of MSNBC's Countdown. But he's going to add a co-hosting position on NBC's Football Night In America, the pre-game show that airs at 7pm on Sunday nights before the NFL game that NBC telecasts.
Olbermann has a long history in TV sports, having hosted ESPN's SportsCenter with Dan Patrick years ago (he was one of the models for the characters on Sports Night) and his own show on FOX Sports Network that was good but didn't last too long. This will be his first job in network sports in several years, other than what he does on Dan Patrick's radio show. Olbermann will join Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis, and Tiki Barber, who started on NBC this morning.
[via TV Newser]
After viewing the frighteningly accurate parody of Studio 60 that MADtv performed I got to thinking (which is always a bad thing). I can't remember a producer/creator of any television show in recent history who has carried so many of his or her trademarks from one program to another. I guess you could say Dick Wolf does this from show to show, but the Law & Order series is probably considered a franchise. Aaron Sorkin has produced three different shows that have had similar structural elements, including actors and actresses. When viewers watch these shows they anticipate those features and are disappointed when they don't see them.
So, with that in mind, here are the five trademarks that Aaron Sorkin puts in his shows.
The walk-and-talk: Others shows have people walking and talking all of the time, but usually slowly down a straight hallway. Aaron has taken this concept and perfected it, making it all his own. His walk-and-talks feature characters going up-and-down stairs, through security gates, behind bleachers, and around corners. He sometimes makes these strolls seem like a relay race: two people will talk for a while, then one person will tag-out and a new conversation will begin with another character. Meanwhile, as they walk they begin and end conversations with so much information that you need to record the show so you catch everything missed. And, speaking about those conversations . . .
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