The series finale of Studio 60 aired this last Thursday. With the return of the show on May 24th, I'd hoped that though the show was canceled, it would still go out with the excitement it came in with.
With the exception of the heart-breaking performance of Nathan Corddry in the final four episodes, nearly everything about the way this showed ended irritated me. I was particularly confused about how the K&R shows suddenly turned into West Wing episodes. Gone was the funny, quirky fast-paced dialog and along came the ham-fisted treatment of the pre and post- 9/11 climate and the completely unrealistic courtship of Danny and Jordan. (And the manufacturing of dramatic plots completely unnecessary of a once-smart show.) And don't even get me started on how Harriet handled Danny's question about why God doesn't fix the bad things that happen to us.
So far this year I've not come out ahead. I started the season a regular watcher of Studio 60, The Nine, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, and Grey's Anatomy. All but one of those shows was canceled and I won't watch Grey's anymore after this season. I'm glad I discovered The Office back in October.
NBC has just announced that they will be pulling Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip one week earlier than previously planned. The Black Donnellys will begin on February 26th at 10pm instead of March 5th.
The schedule change comes as the result of Monday night's poor showing in the ratings. The "Friday Night Slaughter" episode of Studio 60 attracted its lowest ratings to date, under five million viewers. Insiders say that the peacock network hasn't made a final decision on Studio 60's future and that the schedule change was made to give The Black Donnellys a strong launch in sweeps (which is getting a lot of promotion and will likely garner big numbers). No return date for Studio 60 has been set.
I heard a while back that due to the low ratings the show's focus was shifting to the romance side of the story, which was more of the "B" story up until the last show before Christmas. Since the show's return in January, my love of the show has waned, with wit lacking in the script and the more interesting behind-the-scenes part of the show becoming very secondary.
But it's still better than most of what's on TV. I guess all I can do is enjoy it while I can.
... and why big network execs may once again ruin a good thing.
I tend to bat pretty close to zero on television shows. The shows I adore always get canceled to soon (My So-Called Life, Sports Night, Arrested Development, Gideon's Crossing, The soon-to-be-cancelled The Nine, Joan of Arcadia, Freaks and Geeks, Ed, 2 Guys and a Girl) and the shows I'm iffy about hang on well past their due date (Alias, Different World, Ally McBeal, Dharma and Greg, Family Ties) and the ones I hate just keep showing up (7th Heaven, Dancing with the Stars (the world cannot contain my hate for this show), Survivor, Big Brother, Hope and Faith). So either my taste is out of sync with the rest of the world or everyone else is just crazy. But Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is brilliant.
I'm aware of when I'm being manipulated emotionally. And Sorkin does it so well that I don't care. The writing is sharp, the acting (and casting) is superb, the production value is excellent and dang it, I love the show. For once Christians are not portrayed as wackos and I find it refreshing.
It's officially picked up for the rest of the season, but ratings are sad. So I'm afraid the execs will kick it to the curb. And Charmed stayed on the air for 8 seasons? That is depressing.
The show returns tomorrow night. Watch it. You won't be sorry.