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Sorkin & Schlamme + Perry & Whitford = Potential Greatness

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ready for prime-time
Despite what my esteemed colleague James17930 might think, the first four years of The West Wing were the glory ones. This was because of Aaron Sorkin (& co)’s crackling dialogue and fantastic, can’t-wait-for-the-next-episode storytelling, as well as Thomas Schlamme’s ‘walk and talk’ direction.

Well, three years after Sorkin left West Wing, he and Schlamme are back with my most highly anticipated show of 2006, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Judging from the pilot, which I saw last night, the show could indeed become a great one. It feels like the West Wing, with a slightly different cast (excluding, of course, Bradley Whitford and Timothy Busfield). Heck, they even use the same font for the credits. This could either work to the show’s advantage, or detriment. West Wing was often hilarious, but always had the weight of world politics behind it, enabling it to switch gears into high drama when needed. Studio 60 has the potential to take itself too seriously, and I was actually surprised that the show wasn’t funnier – but I’m not going to be too judgmental after only seeing a pilot.

It’s great to see Matthew Perry in a role with more weight than Chandler Bing (don’t get me wrong, he was the best part of Friends). And I’m really looking forward to the camaraderie between him and Bradley Whitford – the chemistry between the two is immediately obvious, and can only grow. The rest of the cast seems promising; I’m not sure if Amanda Peet has the chops yet, but only time will tell.

I’m sure Sorkin has a lot to say about the world of television, as well as everything else under the sun. He’s taking the same route as he did with the West Wing pilot and launching an offensive against the Christian right (like they don’t get picked on enough), so fasten your seatbelts — it’s going to be a fast-paced and extremely enjoyable ride.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. James17930 permalink
    Tuesday, September 19, 2006 12:01 pm

    I never said seasons 5 – 7 of West Wing were better than 1 – 4, just that I don’t see the same drop-off in quality that everyone complains about.

    They definitely have a different tone than the Sorkin/Schlamme years, but they are just as good.

  2. Wednesday, September 20, 2006 8:57 am

    I accept your opinion.

    For me, the big thing with West Wing was the humour and the playful interaction of the cast. I found that sorely lacking in the later years. The stories themselves, and the plot arcs were just as good, but far less enjoyable.

    I didn’t watch season 7, but in season 6 especially I found the characters were going around spouting political-babble just for the sake of spouting political-babble, often without the humour that made the show so enjoyable in the first place.

  3. James17930 permalink
    Wednesday, September 20, 2006 10:27 am

    What are you — a Republican?

  4. Wednesday, October 4, 2006 12:12 pm

    I just finished watching the first 2 episodes of this. Liked’em, gonna keep watching. It’s nice to see that Matthew Perry’s style can work in a sorta-drama setting as well. It’s too bad that Amanda Peet’s style can’t.

  5. Wednesday, July 4, 2007 5:37 am

    And now I just finished watching the last episode of this. I’m sorry to see it go — for a while I wasn’t, it had a hell of a slump in the middle; but the last five episodes, which were all part of one huge story, taking place over the course of about five hours, were really good. And again, I really enjoyed Matthew Perry in this setting, along with Whitford, Steven Weber, and the occasional drop-in from Timothy Busfield.

    It’s too bad it didn’t make it, but at least they knew the end was coming, and they made this unwanted early conclusion work perfectly fine as a series finale.

  6. Wednesday, July 4, 2007 7:28 am

    Yeah, I drifted off in the middle, and missed most of the post- X-mas episodes.

    We did manage to catch two of the last five episodes, and I completely agree – if the series had been like this the whole way through, it wouldn’t have had a problem (or at least, more people would have been sorry to see it go). Hopefully I’ll be able to watch the last three episodes at some point.

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