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134 of 138 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A step in the evolution of television.
On the one hand, it didn't crackle the same way Sports Night or The West Wing did, and plot inconsistencies and occasional heavy handedness revealed a show that never fully trusted its truth. Still, I can't shake the feeling that Studio 60 is a link in an evolution toward a new, more complicated, more interesting television. NBC should have given it more time to find...
Published on July 5, 2007 by travelertc

versus
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Art mirroring life
This is really two series glued together. The "first series," which runs to about half way, is the
series Aaron Sorkin and co. intended. And it's truly brilliant, at times even breathtaking.
Sadly, the "second series" is lamentably bad -- clearly the suits (the Jack Rudolphs and sub-Jack
Rudolphs) had decided that the show had to be "fixed up" and all the...
Published on January 18, 2011 by J. Patterson


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134 of 138 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A step in the evolution of television., July 5, 2007
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This review is from: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Complete Series (DVD)
On the one hand, it didn't crackle the same way Sports Night or The West Wing did, and plot inconsistencies and occasional heavy handedness revealed a show that never fully trusted its truth. Still, I can't shake the feeling that Studio 60 is a link in an evolution toward a new, more complicated, more interesting television. NBC should have given it more time to find itself. Doing that would have benefitted the network, the audience, maybe even the society (that's a lot of pressure!)

Imperfections included, Studio 60 made me laugh, it made me cry, it literally made me cheer, and it did what Aaron Sorkin's work always does: celebrate the human condition (instead of tearing it down, as many shows do.) Like other Sorkin series, Studio 60 focused on people of good will doing their best to support each other and create something of value. I inevitably felt cleansed when I watched it, and I didn't clear the episodes from my DVR until the DVD was in my mailbox.

As for the DVD, I wish there had been more extras on it than the Pilot commentary, and a mini-documntary made early in the season. It would have been fascinating to hear Mr. Sorkin and his partner Tommy Schlamme have an honest discussion of the strengths and weaknesses, successes and demise of this show. What can be learned from the path Studio 60 traveled?

I hope Mr. Sorkin keeps on evolving, and keeps on writing television, plays and films (and books, too), 'cause his dialogue excites my mind, and his work fills my soul.
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just saw the last show, June 28, 2007
This review is from: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Complete Series (DVD)
Just watched the last show. I still can't believe that it has been cancelled. Witty, intelligent, perhaps sometimes a bit "snotty" but always entertaining. Perhaps with all the drivel on television that now passes for entertainment, this show was just too smart and required the viewer to actually think about what was being presented, is why it failed. Could it actually be that if "West Wing" was first being premiered this fall that it would also not last one season? The chemistry between Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford needs to be seen. By the way, the ending was absolutely perfect. I really wish that one of the intelligent cable channels had picked this show up. How ironic that while Studio 60 was winding down, NBC had the nerve to show commercials for some really stupid show about singing bee?
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great show - wasn't given a fair run., July 23, 2007
This review is from: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Complete Series (DVD)
Unlike most reviewers here, I had never watched a single episode of any other Sorkin project. The only reason I even watched it in the first place was because I left the TV on after Heroes and listened to it as I washed dishes. As time went on, I found that I would forget to watch Heroes on a regular basis, but would always remember to tune into Studio 60. I loved the entire cast. They made such an amazing ensemble - particularly Matthew Perry, whom I had never seen do anything on TV other than "Friends." I was blown away by his performance but truly I loved EVERYONE (well, not so much Sarah Paulson, but I can't tell if it was because her character was obnoxious or if she was obnoxious... I loved her because Matt Albie loved her.)

I will miss this show - I really think it could have gone somewhere if it was given the opportunity to breathe. It was mis-advertised as a comedy - which it wasn't, there were funny moments, but it wasn't a comedy. Many critics didn't like how the depiction of the behind the scenes world of television was so "unrealistic" - well, it doesn't seem to matter much when the world that is being portrayed unrealistically is an ER, Hospital room, politician's office, etc.

I enjoyed the drama, I held my breath, I laughed, I definitely cried, I loved every moment and at the close of each episode, I would always look at my husband and say "wow, what a great episode"

Sorry to see it go. I'm getting the DVDs.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked West Wing you'll love this..., January 2, 2007
I used to work in the biz... sit com production. So, I didn't want to watch this show because I thought it would just be another inside Hollywood show developed by people who are enamored by what they do and thinking it funny/engaging to the rest of the world. I was wrong and am now addicted to this show just like I was for a time to West Wing. The dialogue is so engaging and smart - why do so many of us turn on TV and tune out when this type of delightful character banter is available for consumption? I will weep when this show gets canceled. I'm rather certain that the content may prove to be too narrow to engage middle America which is so very sad because there is more to this show than just an insider's view into TV production. Watch it and see...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written, industry-insightful, smart AND funny..., December 28, 2006
It's doomed.

Face it: their vocabulary is above elementary school level, the insider behavior is engaging and believable (except for their fictional ability to actually get smart and witty television on the air) and the historical and theatrical references are simultaneously witty and funny.

I found the visit by a blacklisted writer for Cid Caesar touching, and not even a little preachy (as some critics have accused). There is an abundance of drama (high and petty) and a paucity (oh, look it up) of slapstick. They deride the left, the right, the left for deriding the right, the law, the press... Everything except what every other cheap-shot comic in town is making fun of: Politicians, the daily paper and celebrities gone embarrassingly wild.

So who could watch this show? The usual sitcom fans would have to, at least once per episode, confess that they "didn't get that". The show is honest, thus immediately alienating the pretentious. The casual viewer would be lost after missing even one character-development-filled episode. The dialog is too fast for those on weed, and too subtle for those on meth.

Once you rule out the stupid, the pretentious, the lazy and the junkies it's just you and me watching the show, brother. And I don't think A.C. Nielsen will be impressed.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alas a show of intelligence biting the Dust, September 1, 2007
This review is from: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Complete Series (DVD)
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was a backstage view of a live comedy program like Saturday Night Live, Fridays, Mad TV, etc. The Inner working, the politics and the backstabbing is normal in any show.

So what made this different? Lets start with the writing. Aaron Sorkin did a TV show about behind the scenes show with Sports Night. However in Studio his wit is sharper. The story lines are well thought out, more thought out than 30 Rock.

Steven Weber, Matthew Perry, Bradford Whitford and Amanda Peet mesh as a cast, so why cancel a show wherethe cast works so well. Some of the scripts were uneven and sometimes puzzling in why they would do some of the things they do.

So why did this show fail? I think the audience wanted a show about a comedy show to be funny and not so dramatic.I wish someone would have given this show a chance...but the network didn't!

Well now we as a DVD audience can watch this show in his own season. We can enjoy what NBC passed on and dream what could have happened. another intelligent show has bitten the dust, pray for intelligence!

Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Art mirroring life, January 18, 2011
This review is from: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Complete Series (DVD)
This is really two series glued together. The "first series," which runs to about half way, is the
series Aaron Sorkin and co. intended. And it's truly brilliant, at times even breathtaking.
Sadly, the "second series" is lamentably bad -- clearly the suits (the Jack Rudolphs and sub-Jack
Rudolphs) had decided that the show had to be "fixed up" and all the usual manipulative devices
are wheeled out to try to make that happen. It's truly embarrassing to watch and those responsible
should be utterly ashamed of themselves. As William Burroughs once put it, "The machine eats up quality
and [excretes] quantity".
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp funny SMART writing that takes on the "network", June 24, 2011
When NBC backed the program they knew what was planned for the program and Green lighted it anyway. Great ratings & outstanding reviews. Controversy. NBC didn't like the show complaining about the way a Network runs.
Eventually NBC shoved this show from slot to slot, hiatus and finally killing it. Producer vs the Network in real life and on Studio 60 caused the cancellation of the show.

Studio 60, an irreverent comedy show with a brain, comes from the people that brought you West Wing. Fast paced, tacky, inappropriate, sharp and funny. The smart writing in this program requires your attention. You can't just glance. You have to watch. If that isn't your style, then you won't like this show.

The program is about the making of a show like Saturday Night Live. The pilot brings most of the cast together. But the show after the pilot sets the "stage" for the series. The CLOCK resets and mocks. Guest stars in the short lived series are varied and surprising. Even John Goodman appears as a Judge. No topic is sacred in this series. Race, religion, politics, drugs, unwed pregnancy, friendships, former lovers and all are open game. Some of the "comedy sketches" in the show inside the show are not as funny as they should be. And the last few episodes they tried to tie up story lines that were meant to take years to resolve so they feel a bit forced and rushed. But by that point, fans of the show wanted to see "how does it end" and the writers did a decent enough job doing that. If you haven't seen the series. Take advantage of the online opportunity and do it now.

I own the DVD set (from Amazon) but am thrilled to have it available on Instant Videos to see it on PC anytime.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I...am...eating...it.", November 25, 2007
By 
H. Bala "Me Too Can Read" (Recently moved back to Carson, California, or as I call it... the center of the universe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Complete Series (DVD)
STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP, here and gone. This was one of my most looked forward to shows of 2006, and I'm still resenting NBC playing Indian giver. If nothing else, this show confirms one thing in my mind: Matthew Perry can definitely act, his star making turn in FRIENDS not at all a fluke. This series showcases a more mature, more nuanced Matthew Perry. And he's still funny. In writing and co-producing the episodes Aaron Sorkin brings his patented standard of excellence and commitment. He again makes you pay attention, again makes you think.

For those who care, some SPOILERS follow.

The riveting debut episode deals with the shocking on-air blow-up of Judd Hirsch's character, the executive producer of the flagging live, late night sketch comedy show STUDIO 60. His 53-second tirade (ala Peter Finch's classic explosion from Network (Two-Disc Special Edition)) causes him to be summarily sacked and leaves the show and its personnel in shambles. This sucks for Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) as this is her first day as new president to NBS, the network which boasts Studio 60 as its flagship show. Jordan's first move, a preemptive act against the upcoming public and media backlash, is to immediately hire back the team of writer Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and director/executive producer Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) to ramrod the show.

Matt and Danny, longtime best friends, had been fired from Studio 60 four years before in a cloud of controversy. Initially reluctant, the duo eventually decide to come back on board and attempt to bring the eroded show back to its former glory. Down the season STUDIO 60 goes on to reveal a comprehensive behind-the-scenes peek at the high pressured crafting of a weekly live sketch comedy show, as well as dropping insights into corporate business and the media. Of course, with regards to the behind the scenes reveals, there's no way the show can really delve into some of the truly dark stuff the SNL folks got into. And then there's the chronicling of the personal lives of the key characters. Not too surprisingly I got most caught up in Danny's courtship of Jordan and, even more, in the rocky romance of Matt Albie and the gorgeous and devout Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson). Ive really rooted for these last two, and never more so than when, over a live Sting performance, Harriet declared to Matt, "You knock my socks off."

SPOILERS end.

What a great, thought provoking show this is and how that much lower has the overall quality of television sunk now that it's gone. I have to mention the actors. The ensemble acting is superb. Top-of-the-foodchain props go to Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, both excellent actors and sharing ridiculous chemistry in their scenes together. Also palpable is the rapport between Perry and Sarah Paulson. Amanda Peet lends a winning quality to Jordan McDeere. As the young, take-charge network president with something to prove, Amanda's Jordan is all guts and confidence yet hinting at vulnerabilites here and there. Another standout is Steven Weber, who turns in a dynamic performance as the ruthless, sneering, lovably loathsome NBS chairman. What happened to the nice guy from WINGS? I think Jack Rudolph sacked him.

To me, Sarah Paulson is a revelation. Her character is supposedly based on Kristin Chenoweth, whom Sorkin once dated. As Hannah Harriet Hayes, Paulson is simply stunning. The sequence in episode 5 "The Long Lead Story" - in which she unveils some personal life stories to a probing reporter - showcases a remarkable performance from her. Sarah Paulson glows. And she does a wicked Juliette Lewis impression.

With STUDIO 60 gone, this 6 dvd collection provides a kind of comfort, I guess. It even comes with two bonus features: a 24-minute-long behind the scenes featurette and audio commentary on the first episode by Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme. Even if, on the commentary, I got ticked off a bit as Sorkin and Schlamme insisted too much on detailing the background sets in lieu of giving interesting lowdowns on the actors and the dynamics of their characters' relationship.

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP is rich in characterization, brims with behind-the-scenes stuff and controversial topics, and is wall-to-wall with smart dialogue and brittle romance. It's dramatic, suspenseful, funny, romantic, and cathartic. So, naturally, cancel the damn thing, right? Let's go a bit into this. One reason (and, admittedly, a big one) for the show's downfall is that the sketch comedy as written by Albie and his writing team never quite lived up to the billing. This undermines the credibility of the characters, who are supposed to know funny. For every good skits like "Nicolas Cage - Couples Counselor" and "Meet the Press with Juliette Lewis" there are flops like "Science Schmience." And I do wish we'd gotten to see the "Crazy Christians" sketch. It's also been said that the ratings decline can be blamed on Sorkin being too talky and preachy in his writing. I happen to disagree, but I guess intelligent, opinionated writing can ruffle feathers. And, of course, the two lengthy hiatus during the season didn't help. But, in my eyes, all these so-called flaws are so easily circumvented by the sheer quality of the show that I was still shocked when NBS - I mean, NBC - pulled the plug anyway. Sad, sad day.

But what's done is done. Chalk this one up as something not meant to be and maybe too close to home for comfort. But Sorkin and company can hold their heads high. STUDIO 60, while it lasted, was a beauty, and I'm sure this series will be the stepping stone for some of these very talented actors to something good. Good, but not better. STUDIO 60, it knocked my socks off.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "God, Jack, there's about seven things that are funny about this.", April 6, 2008
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This review is from: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Complete Series (DVD)
I like to watch television series from start to favorite and have over three dozen complete runs to enjoy. My standard practice is to watch one episode a day for the series I am going through, although I might go back-to-back with a two-parter. But when I decided to watch the one season of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" I went through all 22 episodes in five days (it would have been less but I had other things to watch, classes to teach, time to spend sleeping, etc.). When my wife heard what I was doing she decided to lie in bed for two days and watching the entire series from start to finish. So that would be a pretty good indication of how much we liked the late and lamented television series from Aaron Sorkin.

I am enthralled the art of writing and so wish that when it comes to writing that my attention span was better suited to actual works of literature than writing reviews. With this television show I get to appreciate both the writing of the episodes and the parts in the episodes where people are writing. But the bottom line remains that I simply love the way Sorkin writes and have yet to reach my saturation point with watching (although I should really say "listening") repeats of "The West Wing" the way I have other series that I love (Yes, I know that Sorkin only produced and wrote the first four seasons of the show, but those were the best ones and I would swear that those who wrote in his wake were trying to emulate his style). It goes without saying that the same comments apply to Sorkin's first television series, "Sports Night."

Beyond that, I find this television shows particularly affecting. I think I got choked up more often watching "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" than for any single season of any television show I have ever seen. I do not just mean getting teary eyed over all of the life and death questions resolved in the final episode ("What Kind of Day Has It Been"), or when Harriet tells Matt "You knock my sox off," or when Danny tells Jordan "I'm coming for you." I mean things like when Matt bet Jeannie $10,000 that the number of people who liked her "Commedia dell'arte" routine is going to go from two to three people ("The Focus Group"). My wife probably cried more often than I did watching the show, which apparently speaks to a hitherto unrecognized point of commonality between our disparate natures, but once again reinforces our shared affection for the series.

This is not to say the show was perfect, because it was not. My first fear that the series might be fatally flawed came in the second episode where we did not get to see the Crazy Christian skit and were instead treated to reworked lyrics for a Gilbert & Sullivan songs that were okay, but not memorable. You can only talk about a killer skit so much before you have to show the damn thing. Of course that means you have to write an absolutely killer skit and maybe it is the case that Sorkin never tired, but what matters in the end is that we never get to see any of it in the show. Because the point is the show behind the show we do not get to see that much of the show in front of the show behind the show, and what we do see is not stellar late night sketch comedy. The takeoff on Nancy Grace was pretty good and I liked the dry wit of the White House press conferences, but the news segments never amounted to much of anything. For me the funniest bit of the entire season was the running gag in "The Harriet Dinner (1)" of Harriet's inability to tell a joke, although I have to say it is a toss-up between Holly Hunter and Dolphin Girl for which of Harriet's voices cracks me up more.

I know that Sorkin is condemned as a liberal, but he certainly writes some of the best political characters. That was true on "The West Wing" with characters from Ainsley Hayes to Arnold Vinick, with the likes of Christopher Mulready and Sheila Brooks in between, and with Harriet Hayes we find Sorkin doing for evangelical Christians what he did for conservative Republicans (I always thought it would have been interesting to continue "The West Wing" with a Republican president to show that dramatic political storytelling is not just the province of the left). Ultimately what makes Harriet a fascinating character is that despite the inherent contradiction, she is never going to give up her faith in God or her love for Matt. The question is whether he will ever stop taking one step backwards for every step forward in his relationship with here. Sorkin and his talented ensemble cast knew the show was over by the time they got to the final episode and were already to provide a sense that the characters go on even if the series does not, which provides some small measure of comfort. I certainly appreciate that because tonight I start watching "Carnivale," a series HBO jettisoned before the end was even in sight.
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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Complete Series
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