I’ve kept telling everyone, “Give it time. It’ll be fine. The show just needs to find itself.” Yet, as is the norm in television, critics and viewers were quick to write off Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, even after its universally lauded pilot episode. The Aaron Sorkin drama has since gained a vocal base of critics, who have slammed anything from the overt tackling of political issues to the lack of humor on the show within the show. Granted, even I can admit that most of the criticisms, at their core, were legitimate. However, if you couldn’t see the ridiculous potential of Studio 60, even in its mediocre episodes, you weren’t paying attention. A TV show as complex as Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip does not come out of the gate fully formed. It can’t. There are just too many characters, too many issues and only 42 minutes to work with. Sorkin and his staff had to find the character match-ups that meshed, the right tone (comedic, political, satirical), what kind of stories work, what don’t, which characters needed more screen time, what characters needed to be added, how much of the show within the show to (ahem) show, and, ultimately, figure out all these issues through subtle trial and error. They had to do all this AND somehow gain the support of NBC, who mercifully ordered a full season. This is no easy task.
But, as anyone who is familiar with Aaron Sorkin expected, Studio 60 seems to have turned the corner, found itself, and we should all expect a run of great, unique episodes. Last night was an example of how good a show Studio 60 can be, even if their isn’t a whole lot going on. It’s a character show, not an event-action show like the one that precedes it on the schedule (Heroes). The intertwining narratives, the relationship drama, all set against the behind-the-scenes chaos of a television institution, well…it’s just such a good venue for drama. I thought last night’s episode, while not spectacular, was good, unique television and the kind of smart and literate entertainment severely lacking elsewhere on TV. And it’s only going to get better. -Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer