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Fall 2006 TV Review, Part One (“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “The Class”)

Not for a long time do I remember so many amazing new shows premiering in one season. Whether your favorite genre is drama, comedy or sci-fi, this Falls new shows offer up a little bit of each. I’ve seen most of the pilots, and I’m honestly finding it very hard to narrow down my selection to any sort of top 10 list. Of course, the bigger problem is finding a way to watch all these new shows on top of the current crop that I already watch! I’m sure I’m not the only one in that predicament.

I’m going to do brief reviews of each of the new fall (and winter) series, and we’ll start today with “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “The Class”.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

  • When and Where does it air?
    • Monday’s at 10:00 PM on NBC

This is a series that I’m sure most everyone is aware of. I’ve got one word for this one; brilliant. Firstly, I must confess I’ve never followed Sorkin’s previous work, whether that be The West Wing or Sports Night, I approached Studio 60 with the knowledge that Sorkin is a great writer and the hope of watching an intelligent and well put together pilot. Gladly, I was not disappointed.

Studio 60 impressed from beginning to end. The characters were all well written, fleshed out wonderfully and the actors seemed to be perfect for the roles they were cast in.

The series is basically about re-building a burnt out comedy-sketch show on the NBS broadcast network. The current executive producer (played by Judd Hirsch) has just had an on the air meltdown and new management (New Chairman of the Board Jack Rudolph, played by Steven Weber, and new network president Jordan McDeere, played by Amanda Peet) are brought in to rejuvenate the once revolutionary television show. Jordan comes up with the idea of bringing in a pair of once fired writers (Matt Albie and Danny Tripp, played by Mathew Perry and Bradley Whitford respectively). They’ve been successful elsewhere and her hope is they can light a spark and make the show what it once was.

The show has a lot going for it, and it’s sure to be a hit this fall season. The dialog is amazing, and the episode flows so well, you’re almost surprised at just how perfect the end result is. There is comedy, drama weaved into every morsel of the script, which is just so well done. I guess at times you can expect that from a pilot script, but its never a given. If the show can keep up this style, this perfection in dialog and execution, it’ll be around for a very long time. Give it a watch, you won’t be disappointed. NBC was smart to snap this show up.

5/5 stars.

The Class

  • When and Where does it Air?
    • Monday’s at 8:00 PM on CBS

“The Class” surprised me. That’s really the first thing that pops into my head when I write about it. The premise behind this show surrounds the lead character Ethan Haas (Jason Ritter). Ethan is madly in love with his fiance and as a surprise gift to her, he arranges a 20 year reunion of their 3rd grade classmates. What unfolds is really quite good as the few who decide to stay realize friendships may possibly be formed.

The pilot has a few pretty good laughs, though unfortunately there aren’t many of the “laugh-out-loud” variety. There is the possibility that viewers may decide they’ve seen it all before, but the potential that is there is what caught my eye. While it all may seem familiar in style and tone, as most half-hour comedies do, there is enough different here to warrant a commitment to the show. Most of that potential I believe arrises from the characters. It’s a large cast which will allow for many different situations to be detailed on screen.

Realize that sometimes with pilots, you don’t hit a home-run in quality, but you can in other areas. This episode does a good job at introducing us to the main story behind the show and the characters, future episodes are better, and this is a comedy that I think will, deservedly so, find a loyal audience.

As I’m grading on quality and potential (a key to look for in pilots), this one gets 4/5 stars from.

Hope you enjoyed that quick look at two new series this fall season, I’ll be back tomorrow for my thoughts on “Smith”.

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