“Studio 60”: Post-Mortem Commentary

When NBC announced their fall line-up a few weeks ago, it was no surprise that Studio 60 wasn’t among the returning programs. The flailing Aaron Sorkin vehicle had been touted to be one of the must-see shows of the 06/07 roster, but ended up not only with weak viewership, but critical dis-acclaim for reasons I’ve touched on before.

Though they axed it, the network decided to show the unaired episodes starting May 24 that were originally shelved. After watching both “The Disaster Show” and “Breaking News,” I think NBC made the right decision in pulling the plug – the quality really was heading down the tubes.

Something about Studio 60 just didn’t feel right, or as right as its West Wing predecessor. Whether it was the casting (Kari Matchett as an Ainsley Hayes/Amy Gardner hybrid last episode just didn’t work for me), the political situations (the abduction of Tom’s brother in Afghanistan felt hollow; Justin Walker’s redeployment to Iraq in Brothers & Sisters had a stronger resonance), or the storylines (the B-plot about the importance of ratings was exhausting to follow), the show had degenerated into an all-out vanity project for Aaron Sorkin.

The show did have its moments (Allison Janney as herself, and Sarah Paulson was a light throughout), but I’m of the opinion that Studio 60 had to die in favor of better projects Sorkin has yet to dream up.

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