in Rants and Raves, Television

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip – Complete Pilot Episode

Aaron Sorkin has a new show debuting on NBC in a few weeks. It’s a sort of “behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live” show with the terrible title Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Now, I’ve complained a lot about Aaron Sorkin in the past. His dialogue is mannered. His characters all have IQs of 185. He steeps his stories in politics. But the thing of it is: I love his work. For all its annoying flaws, I love his writing. Nobody on TV writes like he does.

Someone on YouTube has posted the complete pilot to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Kris and I watched it tonight before NBC had a chance to cease-and-desist it. (Who knows, though? Maybe NBC actually seeded it there. That would be some smart marketing, I think.) Here are the five files that make up the show. So long as they’re still posted at YouTube, you’ll be able to watch them here:

The pilot has its moments. Kris and I were both giving each other looks over the Network-esque opening, though it would have been nice if the show didn’t devote thirty seconds to telegraphing this homage to the general audience. (Come on, Sorkin — you’ve trusted your viewers in the past, do it again. We see it. We see it.)

The pilot has some rough spots, too. I like the woman who plays Jordan, but she doesn’t seem strong enough somehow. “It’s because she’s wearing that dress,” Kris told me. But it’s not. It’s just her voice isn’t strong enough. Give me Natalie from Sports Night! Or Felicity Huffman.

Speaking of which: one of the joys of an Aaron Sorkin show is watching his ensemble, that group of actors that follows him around from place-to-place. It’s like being with old friends. Hell, this whole show is like being with old friends.

Currently I watch a grand total of zero television shows. (I download Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who and sometimes NBC’s The Office.) Beginning September 1st at 10pm, that number will increase to a grand total of one.

(Will you look at this, NBC? Somebody posts the damn show early and I devote and entire blog entry to promoting it. That’s free advertising, you idiots. Free advertising! Stop the presses! In a sign that Big Media might finally be “getting it”, NBC has released the pilot episode on DVD to Netflix subscribers — this YouTube plant may indeed be their own.)

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  1. Great well, post, and also thanks for linkage to Youtube!

    I had a few comments: first off, the gal who plays Jordan is Amanda Peet. Really really kickass actress, and especially good with comedy timing. I agree however, there wasn’t a lot of forse, but I think the character is supposed to be really really whip-crack smart and simmering under the surface. And the way they build her character by referring to her changing stocks in the market but just taking a job I think shows the power of the character.

    Also, what the heck. Who knew Brad Whitford and Matthew Perry would have such chemistry together? they were great, really great, they held on to the dialogue and just wouldn’t let me go. And this is on a tiny, jaggedyimaged youtube video! Fuck, I may have to take my TV back from the garagesale pile thats in the garage. I had seriously given up on good content in that medium.

    One thing which took me awhile to get around, was when Matt Perry showed up onscreen, I wasn’t sure if he was playing a character, or playing himself as someone who had been in the Studio 60 show, ya know? Took me a bit to figure out he was indeed playing a character. Again, could be because of my small ass powerbook screen and crap audio.

    The writing? Solid. Really solid. I did expect a bit more laughs, I at first thought it might be a comedy given the nature of the plot lynchpin (faux Saturday Night Live behind scenes), but quickly realized this was going to be a ‘Sports Night’ smart drama, but well with a lot of humour.
    This show looks….real. Real life funny, real.

    Now all we need is a cameo for Josh Malina, he could be three for three. I also appreciated the christian thing brought in, thought it really was a good fulcrum to seesaw on.

    Dang, this show makes me wish I worked in television writing; actually all his shows have. Seriously, if I end up penniless and lonely on the mirageish streets of L.A., we all know who to blame, right?

    In the 18th hole putt that is television, Sorkin sinks it. Rock, fuckin, on.

  2. Not so clever from my perspective, however, was the minute+ spam voicemail on my phone at a screamingly loud volume (the apparent assumption being that if you would go see this movie you must be deaf) that I got on my cel phone this morning advertising Sneaks on a Plain (I refuse to provide these spammers with a reference to their bloody movie).

    Thanks, Mr. Spammer!!

  3. Poor Dave! Sorry you had a bad experience with the SOAP voicemail. I’m into this movie, so (like JD) I’m all about getting a voicemail from Samuel L Jackson telling me to go see it.

  4. Nicole- I’m just cranky. On the other hand, I really do fail to see the amusement factor in a movie for which the premise is a flying snake pit. There’s just not a whole lot there for me. After all, can’t you just strap everyone in, open the doors and turn the plane on it’s side to shake ’em out? Sheesh.

  5. The last part of the pilot has been taken down on You Tube. Oddly enough, the rest remains. Maybe it’s NBC’s way of getting more people to watch? Hook ’em then cut ’em off?