'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - Complete Series'
(Steven Weber, Matthew Perry, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / (2006) 2007 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: What goes on behind the scenes of a nationwide late-night comedy sketch show? Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, answers that question with a must-see show within a show filled with engaging characters, ear-grabbing dialogue and a Hollywood hive of insider buzz. Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford portray the likable hotshots brought in to revive NBS-TV's sagging flagship comedy series and Amanda Peet plays their savvy boss in episodes exploring the lives and loves of and the make-or-break creative pressures on the show's staff. Panic. Chaos. Fear. Sleep deprivation. Just make sure it's funny by Friday. Because that's when a nation tunes in to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
DVD Verdict: Aaron Sorkin's evolvement is evident in "Studio 60." I miss this show already; even when I watch the old episodes on my DVR (before this wonderful complete series box set was handed to me to review!), I am left feeling a little sad knowing that it is not coming back next season. It's a crime. Certainly a show that regularly delivered 8+million viewers until it became evident of its cancellation (6.5+ million for most of the burn-off episodes, plus a million or more on DVR-delay) should still have a place on TV, at least on Showtime or HBO.
I know it was expensive, but HBO spent almost as much on "The Sopranos" in the later years, and "S60" was comparable in viewership. Personally, I absolutely disliked "The Sopranos" and everything it represented, but "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" almost always inspired and entertained me. It's all relative: TNT claims a huge success with "The Closer," which delivers about as many viewers as "S60" did. And "S60" floors it in The Demo (18-49), as well as the Super Demo (wealthy 18-49).
As a member of the rare "religious middle (toward left)" I found the battles between Matt and Harriet compelling, and the acting, writing, and chemistry were all first-rate. I do appreciate NBC for at least having the sense to run the last few episodes during the summer. Funny though, NBC switched the order of the episodes for the burn-off, running "The Disaster Show" first instead of "Breaking News." TDS, missing any appearances by Matt, Danny, or Jordan (Perry, Whitford and Peet), was the worst episode of the series, and after watching it I almost bailed on the rest of the episodes. I sure am glad I didn't do that.
The remaining episodes were compelling, sticking with more drama and fewer sketches. The show wasn't perfect, but neither is life. It was heavy-handed at times, and a little melodramatic in spots, too. But it was great TV, some of the best in ages. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Audio Commentary on the pilot episode with creator Aaron Sorkin and executive producer Thomas Schlamme
In Depth: The Evolution of Studio 60: A behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip