I’ve watched the first two episodes of STUDIO 60 and I don’t like it. Here’s why.
1. The fonts for the title cards and scene headings are the same ones they used on THE WEST WING. That, combined with some of the same actors they used on THE WEST WING and the self-important characters and pompous speeches, makes it appear as if Aaron Sorkin thinks that running a TV show is as important as running the country. It’s not, though many showrunners I know thing it is. (UPDATE: Here’s a lively discussion on whether the fonts matter or I have my head up my ass).
2. The series takes its inspiration from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, which hasn’t been relevant or buzzworthy in 25 years. STUDIO 60 might as well behind-the-scenes series about THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW or YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS. It feels incredibly dated and out-of-step. If they wanted to be cutting edge, it would have been about a show more akin to THE DAILY SHOW. Heck, Garry Shandling’s THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW has been off-the-air for years and it’s still more relevant, biting, and funny than STUDIO 60.
3. Aaron Sorkin seems to think we’re all fascinated by his drug arrest during the making of THE WEST WING and his professional partnership with director Thomas Schlamme. We’re not. Watching Aaron Sorkin write about himself and Schlamme isn’t like Carl Reiner writing about himself as Rob Petrie or even Larry David writing about himself as, um, Larry David because….because it just not as funny, fresh or entertaining as DICK VAN DYKE SHOW or CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. It feels self-indulgent.
4. We keep hearing about how funny and amazingly talented the lady is who leads STUDIO 60’s fictional cast…but so far we haven’t actually seen her do anything funny (Ken Levine had the same observation) In fact, there’s something downright creepy about her.
5. Ripping off the movie NETWORK in a scene, and then having all the characters refer to the scene as "like something from the movie NETWORK," doesn’t get you a pass for, well, ripping of the movie NETWORK.
6. All that said, I do love the way he writes…I just wish he was writing a different show.