It's May. Horse racing, Indianapolis, NBA and NHL playoffs, Summer Blockbusters and yes, another Sweeps month in television -- Season Finales, Series Finales, Specials and preemptions galore. Funny way to pitch television shows to the public, you know, putting on everything except what you normally put on the rest of the year.
It was the lust after May Sweeps which explained the rash of Survivor, The Amazing Race All-Stars and American
You're Not Really Dead, You're...
Being shot can be a season-ending cliffhanger, it can be a red herring, it can be the "mere flesh wound, sire" of the "I'm not quite dead, yet." Worse are the personal revelations. Marriage took it hard on the chin in May 2007. Weddings didn't happen in Grey's Anatomy and Bones, I take it. Complications arose in ER. And betrayal in NUMB3RS.
The latter was a betrayal of the faithful audience. One of our FBI agents is a spy for China? Where the hell did that come from? There is simply no motivation for that and no real groundwork laid except for knowing one guy. The only hope I have for not being royally pissed off at CBS and the producers of the show is that perhaps next season we'll discover it was all a ruse of double/triple agents. But other than the fans of Lost, who expect to be made royally confused by the goings on of the show, there hasn't been a dirtier deed done all season.
We Have These Six Episodes Lying In The Can, Whadda We Do With 'Em?
Two weekends ago, having come home from seeing Shrek the Third, as I stumbled across the opening of Saturday Night Live switching channels, I wondered what would have happened on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip had it survived. To my surprise, the next day as I did my pre-lab of the TV guide in the Sunday paper, I saw Studio 60 listed in the Thursday 10pm ER time slot. And found out that it was the first of six new episodes to air.
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip probably never had a decent chance to become a hit. Following in the footsteps of Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing, one of the finest hours of television of all time IMHO, making an hour drama out of an SNL-like late night show for a network which was also airing an half-hour comedy also about an SNL-like show on 30 Rock, seemed like a hedged bet -- a bone thrown to complete a development contract or something. Sticking Studio 60 on Monday nights at 10pm was sheer lunacy.
My mother, who loved The West Wing, hated Studio 60. Except of course she really would've liked to have seen Thursday's show with Allison Janney as Allison Janney. But this is what happens when you monkey around with schedules and try to "slip" something into the schedule to fill up time.
The West Wing Alumni Association
Me? I very much enjoyed the show, even if I didn't always like some of the subplots. Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry's chemistry provided a lot of energy for the show, and "Danny" -- sorry, I keep on thinking of their West Wing character names -- running the control room boards with delicious irony.
Aaron Sorkin is famous for dialogue. When I realized he was the playwright for A Few Good Men, I suddenly understood why the interactions both in and out of the courtroom worked so well. And this company of actors, remnants of whom stayed with Sorkin for Studio 60, go back to the movie The American President. They're in the wrong roles, of course, but watch and you'll see half the cast of The West Wing in that White House.
So five episodes of Studio 60 to go, then it'll be lost in the great re-shuffle which is the fickle expression of network television. It might not have ever gotten to be great television, but it given the dreck available, I'll still miss it.
PS - Okay, LJ's spellchecker is officially weird. It doesn't have "blog", but it does have "ginormous"?