Thursday, July 26, 2007
SORKIN! Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, More 4, 10.00pm
So, you're Aaron Sorkin. (Okay, you're probably not Aaron Sorkin, but we're playing a drama game here. Humour us.) You created The West Wing, one of the most critically acclaimed series of recent years, which viewers across the world took to their hearts as proof that television can be intelligent as well as being entertaining (although we're pretty much taking that as read, since we never actually got around to watching it). Eventually that show comes to an end: what do you do next? The world's your oyster, so your next show's a guaranteed success, right?
Hmmm, not quite. Expectations were indeed high for this show, set behind the scenes on a popular but anaemic late night sketch show in America (pretty much based on Saturday Night Live) where a new writer/producer team, played by Matthew "Chandler Bing" Perry and Bradley "Josh Lyman" Whitford, are brought in to shake things up. It was generally considered to be one of the main hopes of the 2006/2007 TV season in the US, but for some reason viewers didn't really take to it, and the ratings started to tank fairly quickly, leaving it with the eventual humiliation of non-renewal (executives tend to steer clear of saying "cancellation" outright these days) while the final handful of episodes trickled out during the low-ratings graveyard of the early summer.
Nevertheless, it's been purchased to air on More 4, assuming they can find some room amid the constant repeats of property shows, and the Sorkinites among you will probably find lots to enjoy here. Opinions on the accuracy of the behind-the-scenes scenes (how meta!) vary, but you'd best be prepared to have any romantic notions you may be nurturing about the television industry shattered. Actually, that's pretty sound advice even if you're not planning to watch this show, given the sort of stuff that's been in the news lately...