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May 15 2006

"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" trailer up. Aaron Sorkin's new show, premiering this Autumn. This aired with the finale of the West Wing in the US last night. Whedon cohorts Sarah Paulson (Serenity) and Carlos Jacott (Angel, Buffy, Firefly) feature in the cast.

I have to say....that looks pretty good.
My interest in this show - 11 out of 10.
Sorkin could write a show about paint drying and I'd be fascinated.

But I'm a little underwhelmed by the trailer. Sorkin's genius can't really be captured in really short soundbites, you need the back and forth. I want more! =)
This is the *only* thing that keeps me from sobbing uncontrollably about last night's end of the West Wing.
Never seen an Aaron Sorkin show, not West Wing or Sport's Night, but this looks quite interesting, strange that they also picked up Tina Fey's "Backstage at SNL-esque show" show. I'll definitely watch at least the pilot.

Is Sport's Night any good, Dad's got the DVDs and I've been tempted to watch them.
Ghost Spike, Sports Night is my all-time favorite show not created by Joss Whedon. West Wing is amazing, but I actually prefer SN. I suspect if you watch it, you'll like it, and then will really want to see Studio 60. =)
Thanks, Summer Holidays coming up (should start tomorrow but doesn't, damn lecturers strike) I'll add it to the "to watch" list.
I'm looking forward to this very, very much. Rewatching it now, the trailer is a bit underwhelming indeed, I loved it yesterday though.
It's definitely a show I'll check out, if only for the great actors. Can't wait to see Matthew Perry in something new. The show looks like it might be fun. I never caught onto West Wing, but I was definitely a Sports Night fan.
This is the *only* thing that keeps me from sobbing uncontrollably about last night's end of the West Wing.

I'm with you, Caroline. The trailer was the only thing that perked me up as the clock ticked away on the episode. I am looking forward to the new show, as I love Sorkin's writing, and a few of my favorite actors are involved, as well.
Apparently Sorkin cameoed in the West Wing finale last night (according to Zap2it).

Oh and rumour has it that Veronica Mars got renewed for 13 episodes.
Sorkin could write a show about paint drying and I'd be fascinated.


Agreed. I'd also watch Bradley Whitford talking about paint drying. And yeah, Aaron Sorkin was at the inauguration. The camera was on him for about 3 seconds.
Simon said:
"Oh and rumour has it that Veronica Mars got renewed for 13 episodes."


That a renewal with a potential to add a back 9 should they want to (like the last season of Angel), or is the season just going to be 13 episodes long?
A good question GS. Given the choice between 13 or nothing clearly I'll take the 13 but it seems a shame since they were planning 3 different arcs and that will clearly mess with it...
I saw this trailer last night during the west wing finale. I'm SO excited about it - far more than about any other new show. Sorkin can do no wrong, as far as I'm concerned....
*(keeping my fingers crossed on VM!)*
Wait: when you talk about the West Wing finale, do you talk about the season finale, or does this show completely end this year?

I have just discovered it (through 2 seasons on TV, and then buying the DVD - I am now in mid season 3). It's a shame if it ends now (well, I still have a couple of seasons to discover, but anyhow...).
The West Wing is over. Forever.
Ghost Spike I would assume that the remaining nine episodes will be greenlit if VM proves to be popular in the ratings. Given that it will now be playing with the big boys, it's too close to call (god I love that phrase).
Veronica Mars is, to be honest, in real serious trouble. It went from 3 million viewers at the beginning of the year, to 2 million in the last few months, to 1.6 million.

For season 3 they are -- apparently -- looking at changing the formating around a lot, to try to bring an audience back. They kinda have to. I think it'll be an initial 13 episode order, with an option for the remaining - but if it premieres with 1.6 million people again, I doubt the 13 will air.

Right now, it sucks to be a fan.
Le Comité, for some (like myself) TWW ended when Sorkin left after season 4. I didn't watch after that. Now it's definitely over after 7 seasons.
Le Comité, for some (like myself) TWW ended when Sorkin left after season 4. I didn't watch after that. Now it's definitely over after 7 seasons.


With the cast staying on the show, I have trouble believing that it becomes sooo bad after the departure of Sorkin (although I reckon he is a genius). And if I read some comments here (Caroline, Palehorse...), some seem to have enjoyed the West Wing without Sorkin.

Do we know why I stoped? A creative choice, lack of audience, or problem with the contracts (aside the death of Spencer)?

Returning to the subject, with Mathew Perry in the new Sorkin project, I have trouble thinking of it as a great thing before having watched it (plus the fact that Whitford seems not to be on the main cast, from imdb). Perhaps I'll change my mind when I'll see him in season 5 of the West Wing (I have just seen that he appears in a few episodes) - although this is a "Sorkin-free" season ;) - but, you know, Perry is one of those who played in Friends, so he'll have to be *really* different for me to be able not to puke when he'll appear on screen.
I loved season 5 of West Wing (which I gather is not a fan favourite). It was ballsy and gripping.
Simon, you're making my day! After two bad news (no angel spinoff, TWW ends), some bad news at work, plus another potential bad news (TWW sucks after season 4), I was considering not going to sleep and trying to find a rope, a chandelier and a chair somewhere...

Now, considering that I have at least 2.5 more good The West Wing seasons (but 6 and 7 suck?), I can stop looking for the chandelier at least.
Le Comite, 6&7 don't suck. I actually think 5 is the weakest season. 6 got better, and 7 was fabulous. Not Aaron Sorkin fabulous, but still damn good stuff.
I can't say how TWW was after season 4, but I stopped watching not because I thought it would actually be bad, but because it would be kind of ordinary. John Wells mostly took over the show, who's worked on ER for years, so I figured it would be about on par with ER, which for me is a fine show, but not something I make an effort to watch. Hence why I didn't bother with TWW post-Sorkin. From what I've read, the overall impression was that the show did go down in quality. Again, doesn't mean it was bad, but maybe not great anymore (I shouldn't cite Emmys to Buffy fans, but TWW won the drama Emmy every year Sorkin ran it, but not after). But there are certainly people who continued to enjoy TWW (my sister among them), so by all means see for yourself. As to why it why it stopped, it was cancelled due to ratings decline.

Back to Studio 60, I'm no fan of Matthew Perry either, but I implicitly trust Sorkin (hey, even Rob Lowe was great as Sam). Bradley Whitford is very much a main character, thanfully (see here).
Apparently Sorkin cameoed in the West Wing finale last night

I wondered who that was!!! I had no clue.

Le Comité, I did stop watching soon after Sorkin left. I saw an episode here and there after that, but I did not begin watching again until the end of last season. IMO, the show never got back to Sorkin's level, but Alan Alda and Jimmy Smits added a new spark, and I was truly sorry to see it sign off. And, re: John Spencer, I was so happy that they left him in the credits even after he died. That was a nice gesture for someone who was so central to the success of the show. And he was certainly "present" in the finale.

I would agree with jam2 re: Perry and Lowe in Sorkin's hands. And I am so delighted Whitford is a central character in Studio 60. This is definitely something to look forward to.
Oh, and as brilliant a writer as Sorkin is, director/producer Thomas Schlamme is also intrumental in making these great shows. Didn't want to leave him out, they're very much a team. (Only a select few can do it all, from writing to directing to dance-of-joy-ing. ;-)
I also stopped watching after Sorkin left (Well, considering I discovered the West Wing on DVD, I just stopped watching the DVDs). But, knowing this was going to be the end of its run, and having heard that its quality was back up this year, I tuned in for the last 6 or 7 episodes, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Not up to the brilliance of those first few seasons, but few things could be. Still very worth watching. I'll have to go back and watch the 2 1/2 seasons I missed on DVD.

As for why it ended – I think it was just time. A new president was taking over, which made a good ending point. The ratings were far lower than in the show's peak days, and it was no longer the powerhouse it once was. This was the perfect way to let it go out gracefully. There may be other reasons - i'm not particularly well-informed about it. But I certainly felt The West Wing was fully allowed to run its creative course, got lots of appreciation along the way, and was in no way cut short before its time.

As for Studio 60 - Bradley Whitford is indeed a central character from what I can tell. Between Sports Night and the West Wing, I've been blown away by everything Sorkin has done so far, so I'm fully on board with the excitement for this new project, Matthew Perry or no. And he really was pretty good in his West Wing cameo, although it was hardly a pivotal character.
I like Matthew Perry. I like Rob Lowe sometimes. I would have watched a Sam Seaborn in Congress spin-off. I stopped watching West Wing regularly because the last couple seasons weren't in reruns yet and that is usually the only way I can catch a show regularly. As I said on another thread, I missed the West Wing finale and the season finales for How I Met Your Mother and Smallville. The only one I did manage to see was Veronica Mars.

I enjoyed Sports Night and would recommend it, though I am sure I never saw all the episodes of that one either. ;-)
First of all, let me say that I love Joss Whedon and think he is a genius and a great writer.

Having said that, Aaron Sorkin makes Joss Whedon look illiterate. This is not a knock on Joss by any means, but Aaron Sorkin is, quite simply, the god of dialogue and characterization. We all aspire to be like him. *grin*

But that's just me....
While Sorkin writes like no other human, you put it a bit more strongly than I would, krad. (But I understand, and do not question your love of Joss. =)

To back up your point, though, another genius, Warren Ellis, feels humbled by Sorkin's writing.

On TWOP, someone posted a slightly different quote from Ellis:
Read a draft of Aaron Sorkin's forthcoming STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP last night. Nearly gave up writing. I want to break that bastard's hands, I really do.

Hyperbole is fun!
Matthew Perry was in two episodes of The West Wing before Sorkin left (and one after), so clearly Sorkin has cast the role knowing both his comedic and dramatic strengths. Perry was great in TWW and I look forward to seeing him and Bradley Whitford and Timothy Busfield in "Studio 60".

Season 5 is definitely the weakest of the series, but 6 & 7 made the show great again. It was never quite the same as the first four years, but equally as good - just different. The last two years were like a reinvention for the series, something I think it needed. No show can stay stagnant and I don't even think Sorkin could have made a seven-year show in the same mould as the first four years.

Sorkin comes from a different background than most TV writers these days - the theatre. So he is the god of dialogue and characterization, but he often lost site of the big picture and the ongoing arcs (which actually frustrated me in year three). He also wasn't a great one for continuity, but who's perfect? :-)
Sports Night is one of the first shows I was ever really a huge fan of. I liked TWW a lot, but I did not watch it for very long after Mr. Sorkin left -- it seemed to get a little soap opera-ish (). I did tune in last night for the finale, and I'm so glad to see confirmation that Aaron Sorkin did do a cameo -- I thought I saw him! I am *so* looking forward to Studio 60, for the writing and the cast, and this trailer got me even more sold on it! :-)
krad, Aaron Sorkin intimidates the hell out of me on the immediate storytelling level, but I think Joss surpasses him in terms of the big picture. Though their work is so different I hesitate to compare them at all. Anyway, I agree that I aspire to find a fraction of Aaron Sorkin's genius.
billz, that spoilery thing that you mentioned wasn't as bad as it sounds. Had it not happened in the tail end of the last season it would have been a terrible idea, but its placement was perfect, and it was executed in a realistic, non-soapy way. Really!

*must stop geeking out over The West Wing now*
Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin can be compared only in that they both have a wonderful ear for the rhythyms and musicality of dialogue. Sorkin has always said that he never thinks of the next episode (and he writes almost all the episodes of his shows) whereas Joss is very meticulous in plotting episodes, arcs and seasons.

They are both on a different level to most other writers in film and TV today (though I feel Rob Thomas, David Shore, JJ Abrams, Ron D. Moore, and Ricky Gervaise are right up there as well.)

Having said that, Aaron Sorkin makes Joss Whedon look illiterate. This is not a knock on Joss by any means, but Aaron Sorkin is, quite simply, the god of dialogue and characterization. We all aspire to be like him. *grin*


I must confess I have to agree to this. As said above by others, the strengths of Whedon and Sorkin lie in different aspects, but Sorkin indeed beats Joss in some of these aspects (and is beaten in others as plot arcs and character evolution - i.e. the big picture). Discovering TWW, I am totally in awe by the culture Sorkin has: it seems as, to write the show, he had learned all the laws, all the political behaviors, etc etc...
Donna the Vampire Slayer.

Buffy/West Wing crossover fanfic! The first part of the trilogy is great fun.
Wow! I don't know if I should read that. How can it possibly live up to the concept?!? With a title like "The Agricultural Secretary's Revenge", they've peaked already!

Le Comité said:
Discovering TWW, I am totally in awe by the culture Sorkin has: it seems as, to write the show, he had learned all the laws, all the political behaviors, etc etc...

Quite true. I've always loved the way he writes about religion too. For a Jewish man, he has an amazing understanding of Christianity, even Catholicism in particular.
"Having said that, Aaron Sorkin makes Joss Whedon look illiterate. This is not a knock on Joss by any means, but Aaron Sorkin is, quite simply, the god of dialogue and characterization. We all aspire to be like him. *grin*"

Have to disagree here. As implied above, I am a big admirer of Sorkin, but although I love Sorkin's style and dialogue, I have a major problem with it that I do not have with Joss's work. To my ear, all of Sorkin's characters talk alike. The characters do not each have their own voice. The cadences are the same, the verbal ability is the same.

I have told myself it is because it is the intense environments he sets his stories in that cause that and that he writes about very smart people. The thing is, like everyone on this board, I know a lot of very smart people and they all speak differently. Some who have known each other for a long time will riff of each other really well, but all Sorkin's characters riff off each other really well...and in the same way. The dialogue is always beautiful and crisp...for everybody. (And the people on Sport's Night sounded just like the people on West Wing...only they were like, saying different words...)

The relationships between the characters have dimension in Sorkin's work, but they are not as incredibly complex as Joss's. In that Sorkin is dealing with intensly restricting and high-pressure work situations as the focus of his shows, it makes sense that the characters and their relationships would be less transparent to the viewer and narrower in their scope on the show.

So love sorkin's work and love Joss's work. I think that both of them have shown amazing strength in dialogue and characterization that cannot be compared because they use them in different ways for different purposes. When it comes down to it though, I have watched two of Sorkin's shows, but have never even thought of finding a weblog devoted to his work. I will make it a point to watch Sorkin's new show, but I have not been wondering what he has been doing since he left TWW.

...til now. What *has* he been doing in the last few years? Have I missed anything good? ;-)

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