Is Aaron Sorkin a brilliant enough writer to save two networks (the fictional NBS and the real NBC)? If the pilot episode is any barometer, the answer is a resounding YES!
STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP is everything this TV addict hoped for. In the same way in which he made us root for a fictional sportscentre (SPORTS NIGHT), and an idealized White House (THE WEST WING), Sorkin yet again creates an environment where viewers will be rooting for the underdog.
In the pilot episode we’re introduced to a critically acclaimed late night sketch show (not to be confused with Saturday Night Live!) that is on the brink of creative implosion (it’s no longer funny). After a public relations disaster that occurs in the opening scene (A ‘classic’ Sorkin lecture extolling the evils of television and how low networks have sunk to pandering to the lowers common denominator), it’s up to the newly appointed head of the network, Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) to save both the network, and the show.
McDeere decides, against her bosses wishes (Steven Weber plays Jack Rudolph, the executive you’ll love to hate) to bring back the two men who led the show during its creative peak, Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford). The two must help bring the show they once loved back to prominence and respectability.
Like every Sorkin show, the decision to bring back Albie and Tripp will lead to romantic and political intanglements, but unfortunately, with only 44 minutes to play with, we’ll have to wait until future episodes to see sparks fly. Needless to say the pilot was everything a Sorkin show is known for. Fast pacing, smart dialogue and characters so idealized and likable that you can’t help but wish you could drop everything and go work as a lowly paid intern on the set of ‘Studio 60’ And clearly, I’m not the only one willing to drop everything to be apart of this show. Sorkin has assembled one of the most talented casts in recent memory to populate the set of STUDIO 60 including, Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, Amanda Peet, Sarah Paulson, D.L. Hughley, Nathan Corddry, Evan Handler, Carlos Jacott and Timmothy Busfield.
With STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP, it’s clear that Sorkin has hit another one out of the park. Let’s hope that an audience addicted to Dance competitions, singing contests, and reality TV, can make room for some quality TV that might, I dare say, actually make you think.