Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Every now and then, a new TV show comes around that could really be something special. It is pretty hard to tell just from a first episode, of course. Usually pilots are different from the rest of the series. Changes are made. The cast has to gel, feel their way into characters. But sometimes you can tell. You could tell with CSI, now, what—7 years ago? I could tell with Lost and House almost immediately. Tonight a new show premieres on NBC: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It might—just might—be one of those shows.

The show is about an SNL-type show, behind the scenes. The cast will most likely be pretty big, but the two main characters are Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford. For West Wing Fans, Bradley was Josh Lymon. Imagine Josh, but with a recovering coke problem.

As for Matthew Perry…you know how Chandler was by far the funniest of the Friends, but like Phoebe’s one time boyfriend Rog said, “I’d hate to be there when the laughter stopped.” You always knew Chandler’s humor was his mask to hide the pain.

Imagine all that pain brought to the surface. The humor is still there, but gone are the attempts to hide behind one-liners. Mark it down: Matthew Perry absolutely without a doubt will receive an Emmy Nomination for his character.

Chandler and Josh (I have not yet learned their Studio 60 names, so bear with me) are a talented big time writing/directing team. Four years ago, they were fired from Studio 60, that SNL-type show I was telling you about.

But tonight big things have happened, and they are called back to save the show. What are these big things? Well, that I do not want to ruin for you, as it is a pretty great TV moment, but let us just say that if the name Paddy Chayefvsky means anything to you, a treat is in store.

Even if it is not, you are in for an interesting ride. Creator Aaron Sorkin seems to know what goes on behind the scenes of a TV show. Not only has he created big shows before (like West Wing), but he actually had a show in the past about a TV show: Sports Night. (A show so good but so overlooked that I feel compelled to review the DVDs later in the week.)

If none of those shows ring a bell, where have you been the last few years? You should at least recognize Sorkin from The American President. He is known for his rapid-fire dialogue in talented enemble casts.

The only reservatin I had was Amanda Peet. I have always found her totally devoid of any talent other than taking off her clothes on Camera, and she seems way too young and stupid to be that awesome. However, Hyperion will reserve judgement, for a while. I have a feeling the rest of the cast should make up for her, which you can read about here.

What else can I say? If Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip works, it could be the show everyone is talking about this year. Hey, I am all for well-made procedurals (same type of show each week) and I love well-made cop shows. And I love the genre stuff if it rocks. But when is the last time we had a mainstream ensemble with this level of talent? Not since the heyday of West Wing. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip could be to Television what West Wing was to politics, LA Law was to, well, lawyers, what ER was to hospitals, what Pat Robertson was to all things evil.

Okay, that last one was a joke. But Pat Robertson actually comes up in the pilot, as does the insanity that is the FCC everytime someone dares to mention a controversial subject matter.


I must stop, or I will reveal the entire plot. Look: just watch it, okay? I do not have much to live for these days, and it would make me feel good if I got at least some of you to do the right thing for once.