Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sneak Peak of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

As a relatively new culture blog, I don't generally have access to the kinds of resources I would love to have, like screeners and free cds and movie tickets, so when the chance arises for me to view something a little ahead of schedule, well, I jump at it.

With a leaked version of the pilot for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip floating around the internet a few days before it will become available on Netflix and other rental services and at least a few weeks before it is to air on NBC, I got just such an opportunity.

And you know what? It looks like it is going to shape up to be a good dramatic series, and I was someone who was very skeptical about the show shaping up to be so good. I mean, the network is also working on another series, 30 Rock with former SNL head writer/cast member Tina Fey, along with Rachel Dratch, Tracey Morgan and SNL uberguest host Alec Baldwin, and I was all prepared to hitch up to that series and leave Studio 60 for the critics to decide upon before committing.

Now, I've never watched an Aaron Sorkin show... ever. The only thing I had ever seen that he had a hand in was The American President, which wasn't my cup of tea really (presidential romance just didn't nab me). So I got to come into this series clean.

It all begins with the executive producer of Studio 60 having a Howard Beale-type nervous breakdown on live television and the show develops from the aftermath of that event, and I sort of wanted to see what was going to happen next, which is always a good thing for a drama is it not.

The writing is sharp, the characters, even at this early point, look like they have enough dimension to them to be interesting and develop in ways that will be compelling, although I don't really have a sense of who D.L. Hughley's character, Simon Stiles, is going to be just yet. It also pleases me immensely to see Matthew Perry really stretching himself into a role that makes me forget about his long-run as Chandler Bing, and I think this part was a great move on his part.

I am not a huge fan of Amanda Peet, but she brings a kind of slinky sensuality and slyness to the role of Jordan McDeere, the new NBS network president who cobbles together the beginning of a solution for a failing late night show by bringing back two rising writing stars who were unamicably let go from the show 4 years earlier. Though truth be told, probably the most interesting character to me at the moment is Sarah Paulson's Harriet Hayes who has an interesting perspective on things and position in the drama so to speak, but I will leave it at that, because to talk about her character in more detail would take some of the joy away from the show.

But it is a good pilot, as I now want to know more about this little corner of the Hollywood experience, and there are still questions whose answers are still to be revealed, so I will be watching this show on Mondays(I just hope they don't move it into a 9PM slot, because, 24 will win out, at least with me).

It looks like NBC has yet to tackle someone with lawyers to remove the pilot of the show from certain sites, so you may still be able to catch it too, but if you don't it starts its run September 1st, and it is well worth watching.


Mr. Fabulous said...

Are CDs, tickets, etc. stuff you think you will eventually have access to? That would be cool.

MC said...

You never know. Stranger things have happened. I used to be a reviews editor, so I could get my hands on some stuff to work with, and I am open to doing so.

kristinaQ said...

For movie screenings and stuff like that, check out the forums at People are always posting info about movie screenings in various cities. There's also this one survey company (a LEGIT one of course) that I've gotten invitations from for early movie screenings. :-) Hope that helps for now

MC said...

I would like to note that I am not so much seeking the free stuff so much as the access (I am not greedy or anything ;) ) I do appreciate the tip however Kristina.

RC said...

i've heard good sunset strip screeners have been well received, but what's that other new one floating around...i think it's called Kidnapped...i heard it's not so delightful.

--RC of

Semaj said...

You know what’s interesting is some of those movie/TV promotional CDs have music tracks that will never see a commercial release. I would love to get my hands on some of those.

I guess this show could turn out good, giving that most pilots are pretty shaky. And the writers have to work out the problems over a season.

MC said...

RC: I've heard bad things about Fox's rival show "Vanished"

semaj: I know about that... or they get added to versions for other countries, which is a shame, because those are some awesome tracks.

Ben said...

Glad I stumbled on you. I've adopted the DAUNTING task of reviewing every new piece of crap coming to television this fall. I took a stab at Vanished today and planned on doing Studio 60 tomorrow.

It is not a guarantee, but I think Vanished is going to kick the pants off of studio 60. Mostly because the american public is generally dumb. Studio will enjoy some success, but it is going to be more like Arrested Development success (and audience).

Vanished is the next Lost, I'm sorry to report...

Stop by my site sometime. I've plowed through Sundays and almost through mondays this fall. It starts with the post titled "What's on TV."

MC said...

I look forward to reading your thoughts on Shark, Smith and 30 Rock.

Jeremy Barker said...

I have high hopes for Studio 60, perhaps higher than they should be, but hey, I always liked Josh and Chandler. If you care to catch up on Sorkin's work, skip The West Wing and head directly to Sports Night. I'm no sports fan and this show still hooked me. Wonderfully dry and quick.

MC said...

See, I am a fan of a particular sport, so it may be up my alley. I do know that things on shows usually get better from a pilot as things start to fall into place narratively, so even the small problems with the show will probably not be so by the fifth or sixth episode.