Thursday, November 30, 2006

Midseason and more!

A few things. For starters, NBC has announced it's midseason schedule and it looks like there's no plan to move "Studio 60"'s timeslot, something most seem to agree it needs. Obviously "Heroes" is currently NBC's number one scripted show and that would cause one to consider it a great lead-in for whatever reason it hasn't been working. Considering "Friday Night Lights" fared worse in that timeslot than "Studio 60" (although, admittedly, not significantly worse) I think the problem is likely with the competition shown by the inexplicably popular "CSI: Miami" (Maybe it's just me but I... don't get the appeal. I mean, Emily Procter, sure. But the rest of it? Yikes.)

The lack of movement suggests one of two contradictory things.
  1. NBC is satisfied with "Studio 60"'s status as of now as one of the top shows on network primetime for high-income viewers (an advertisement boon.) and thus they don't feel a change is necessary. This is, obviously, good news.
  2. NBC is no longer investing itself too much in "Studio 60", and so not going to bother to rearrange their schedule on something they don't plan to have around much longer. This would be bad news.

I think it's got to be one or the other, and since we're not privy to ratings breakdowns besides the overalls it's hard for us to tell. At any rate, "Studio 60" is expected to be replaced (for a while) in March with the new crime family drama "The Black Donnellys" which will have a 13-episode mini-season. From everything I've heard the new show is a good one, which is nice and all but not something you necessarilly want if it's in anyway "Studio 60"'s competition. After "The Black Donnelly"'s finishes up it's short season, "Studio 60" will finish off it's as well.

I think when looking at the possibilities for "Studio 60"'s survival it's important to compare it against what else NBC has going on. This autumn five new shows debuted on NBC. Comedies "20 Good Years" and "30 Rock" and dramas "Kidnapped", "Friday Night Lights" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" itself. New shows tend to be judged against each other rather than with the veterans (and it's not as if NBC has too many of those in the first place). "20 Good Years" and "Kidnapped" are both gone, and "30 Rock"'s anemic ratings strongly suggest it will soon be replaced with one of the midseason sitcoms in the Must-See TV Thursday block (As "My Name is Earl", "The Office" and "Scrubs" aren't being cancelled any time soon.) "Friday Night Lights" has, like "Studio 60", been renewed for the whole season but their ratings are worse than "Studio 60"'s and while less expensive to produce it also is unlikely to garner any award attention and I'm going to go out on a limb and say a drama about Southern highschoolers isn't sitting pretty in the high-income ratings bracket. We'll have to see how the midseason shows do, but I think we're definitely not at "desperately worry about Studio 60's future" time yet.

In other news, we have some information on episode 1-11, "The Return" (Can I just say, that Sorkin hasn't really been rocking the creative names this year? Only three episodes haven't been in the form of "The ______" I mean, c'mon this is the guy who's titled his episodes things like "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail" and "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?")

According to Wikipedia (Yeah, I cite Wikipedia. Wanna fight about it?) The episode synopsis stands thus "When an old cast member returns to host, Matt has to write for a whole new person. Meanwhile, a cast member had [sic] to deal with the past." This doesn't sound like the most eloquently written synopsis I've ever read so we'll just see. Anyways, it's supposed to air a week from Monday (Ironically, closer to Christmas than next week's "The Christmas Story") so we'll have to see.

ETA: Well, looks like Wikipedia let me down this time. While the next episode after "The Christmas Story" may indeed be "The Return" (Who knows?) it will not be the following week, it won't even be in 2006. It's looking as if "Studio 60" will be having what a lot of shows this season are having: a Fall Finale. So "Studio 60" will likely return sometime in January after a lil hiatus.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Episode Review: B-12

Episode Rating: A

Heavy, heavy episode. And a lot going on at once, there were like A, B, C, D, E and F plots going on there. Sometimes I think sometimes it was a little too heavy, and I ended up forgetting about some plotlines and then remembering them when they came back. That was pretty much my one negative comment about tonight's episode. Oh, that and: WHERE'S. CAL.?

Okay, for starters. How fucking awesome is it that Corinne Bailey Rae was in this episode? Do you have any idea how much I love Corinne Bailey Rae? Well, it's a lot. I'm pissed she never sang "Girl, Put Your Records On" but I'll survive. Her song at the end of the episode meshed perfectly with the scene with Danny and Jordan, but then, I'm a big fan of music at the end of episodes.

Jordan was great, and I completely understand her volatility with the TIME guy, and I have a feeling that's how I'd act so I identified. I just found that sense that she knew as she was doing it that this was the wrong move and that she was shooting herself in the foot but she just couldn't help herself. I'm not sure what's going to happen with the pregnancy. It's really not looking like it's Danny's. I'm praying it's not Jack's because the promo showed Jack resigning and he could be doing that (even though I'm sure it won't take) because of an ensuing scandal with Jordan. Please please please don't let that be the case. A) It makes Jack less likable because he cheats on his wife, B) That sounds like a roadblock to Jordanny if I ever saw one.

I loved Harriet in this episode! Quirky, flawed girls are the shiittttt. She was so cute, good work Sarah. Um... when she was stripping in this episode (seriously, how often is this gonna happen? I mean, I'm definitely cool with it, but... seriously) you could see a tattoo on her lower back. Is it just me or is Harriet Hayes the opposite of the kind of girl you see with a tattoo?

Mark McKinney, who's also a staff writer on the actual Studio 60, did a good job with his character. Andy was it? Good job, but he's a little too Eeyore for me (and not even in a good way like Toby from The West Wing was) I'm hoping this was a one-shot deal. His delivery of "He shot the kids?" just spoke volumes though. Very good acting.

Still don't like Martha O'Dell. Want her gone. Major-style. I don't think it's Christine Lahti, I just think it's the character. But she was only used sparingly... I liked what they did with the whole internet things. There's been a few bitches about the internet since Studio 60 started and Sorkin's done some on The West Wing too... A lot on the web community have dedicated a great deal of time to bitching about this issue (See Television Without Pity, the entire forum of.) and I guess I get that they don't like to be insulted... but, this seemed to have a very moderate viewpoint on the whole issue. I like how Dilbert27 was redeemed in the end by taking Jordan's side in the whole press tomfoolery.

Did this episode seem dark to anyone else? I'm not talking about the lighting, but just... idk... it just had a dark feel. Not complaining, I liked it. Lots of humor. I enjoyed both the News 60 bit about Paul McCartney's divorce and the opening monologue with Howie Mandel. Although I don't think we needed to see *quite* so much of it the second time around... I mean we got that we were back where we began.

Hey Lucy got a last name! I missed it though. Anyone fill me in? I enjoyed her and Darius' struggle tonight, and liked the tie-in with the kidnappers.

All around, good episode. But what did you all think?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Episode Review: The Option Period

Episode Rating: A-

A very good episode overall, although not really an impactful one. Kind of reminds me of "Evidence of Things Not Seen" for The West Wing fans, lots of good character interraction and good storytelling and yet no big plot devices or big momentous things going on... basically people going about their business. Plus, like "Evidence of Things Not Seen" it had a very isolated feel (it took place in the hour or so after the show wrapped), which I like in episodes.

Danny and Matt cracked me the hell up with their whole phone thing. Those two guys are great, I love them and I think Whitford and Perry have phenomenal best friend chemistry. Wow, I was just dying at those scenes. It's felt as if not as much had been done recently with them as a best friend duo and I'm glad that's coming back.

Interesting way to go, it looks like Ricky and Ron are gone for good? Makes sense to trim costs by getting rid of Evan Handler and Carlos Jacott who've been credited as main cast members when they're in the episodes and yet barely appear. How apropos that it happens while needing to cut costs in the show within the show too. I've had a feeling Ron was actually a good guy since 'The Focus Group' when Ricky tried to play off like he didn't remember what he said to the press about the Maher thing but Ron owned up to it, and I guess I was right.

As for Jordan's issues, I'm still not sure what to think but I really like her and Danny. I'm now kind of getting the feeling that he's not the father of her baby, because if he was I feel like they would have set it up more than they did. I mean, they're obviously setting up the Jordanny relationship but nothing to suggest that they're going to sleep together soon enough for it to make any sense that he's her babydaddy (I swear I'd stop using that horrible phrase if there were a quicker way to type it than that) if her pregnancy is supposed to come out next week.

No Jack. Sad stuff but understandable. There'd be no real way to fit him into this episode. It looks like my issue of how to involve Jack all the time is being handled. He's still showing up but just not all the time, but when he does it's with gusto. I'm fine with that if Steven Weber is, 'cause I love Jack but don't see him as as much of a regular as I do Matt and Danny.

Although even with this as the format he's still appearing a hell of a lot more than Cal. Cal usually shows up, but... seriously Cal! Be involved in something! I want a story arc for Cal. I also wanna meet his wife and kids. If Sorkin wanted to cast Allison Janney as his wife, that'd be cool too.

The lingerie stuff? Meh. Don't know what to think about it, I really think they made it a bigger deal than they needed to. I understand the Kristin Chenoweth parallels and how Aaron probably had issues. (And by the way, I saw that magazine spread. Niiice.) But as a C-plot it was fine. I enjoy Matt and Harriet tonight, I feel like that's more the style they should be doing. They only had one scene tonight and they were sweet. As opposed to every scene being with each other and bitching. I mean, couples bitch and I don't mind seeing it, but it needs to be the exception not the rule for when we see them. And I want to see them less (but I don't want them off the radar either)

Jeannie and Lucy both rock and deserve their own shows, but since I don't see that happening any time soon I love them as recurring characters.

Martha O'Dell back next week? *Le sigh.*

Saturday, November 18, 2006

SPOILERS: Christmas Episode information

Alright, not too much in the spoiler department but we do have information on episode 1-11 entitled "The Christmas Show." Apparently the main plots are Matt trying to bring the Christmas spirit to L.A. (interesting for an Athiest Jew to do, but hey, I'm down.) and Danny wrestling with his true feelings for Jordan. This last part I think definitely implies... something's going down with them, although still no definitiveness on whether or not Danny is Jordan's babydaddy.

That's all, sorry it wasn't more, folks.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Small ratings uptick!

For the second week in a row the ratings are improving! Not very much (7.79 million viewers yesterday compared with 7.78 million viewers last week and a 5.0/8 ratings share instead of a 4.9/8 ratings share.) But still... let's take our victories any place we can find them!

Most have agreed that this week's was a pretty lacklustre episode though, so let's hope that doesn't effect anything. I mean, out of 8 episodes so far this was the first one I didn't much care for, which is more than can be said for most shows.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Episode Review: Nevada Day (Part II)

Episode Rating: B-

This episode was very very "meh." I mean, it was still good... but meh. For starters, I was very disappointed in Tom's reasoning for speeding, as I said before, I was really hoping it would have nothing to do with Mark, since that was so the obvious reason. Also, I didn't really understand it, I mean... I knew it had to do with Mark being in Afghanistan and that it was something noble, but if someone can explain to me what it was that would be helpful.

Matt is just pissing me off sometimes. I mean, I agree with every thing that comes out of his mouth but I hate the way it comes out of his mouth. I did love "You wanna talk about it some more?" about paintball though, and the end with Harriet. The show's focus on Matt and Harriet is honestly not analagous to how interesting they are. I'd much rather see things about Danny and Jordan, who I think have better chemistry and never come off as anything but awesome to me.

Jack continues to rock harder and harder. He and Tom are neck-in-neck for the position of my second favorite character. Danny was awesome too, he's still sitting pretty as my favorite. CAL NEEDS TO DO MORE! I also love Jeannie.

But yeah, overall very 'meh.' And I mean, come on. "Oh, whoops! He said the ex-husband was bringing dishonor to your network! Not Jordan! Whoops!" That was just cheesy and lame. I really was hoping for better, definitely my least favorite episode so far. Not awful or anything. But yeah.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What a Great Week to be an American

Sorry guys, I meant to post this when it happened last night but Blogspot wasn't working. So, the big news is....


Let us rejoice! NBC certainly made the right call, because the show just needs time to grow. It's ratings have been slowly showing a small upward tick, which means it's getting there. Plus, if there's any NBC show that has a chance to kick ass at Awards time (The Golden Globe nominations are in a month) it's Studio 60. So that is a big reason why it's a great time to be an American.

As for the other reasons, well... this is a non-partisan blog of course so I really have no idea what recent American event might make me bursting with happiness and pride. ;)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Episode Review: Nevada Day (Part I)

Episode Rating: A

I liked this episode a lot. Considering the entire episode is apparently exposition for what's going to come next week, it did a very good job of remaining engaging and funny. It was possibly more engaging and funnier than the last episode, but I tend to give dramedic episodes more credit than ones that are just comedic or just dramatic, and I think this one tended to be almost soley comedic (well, besides the hoodlums who accosted Harriet. Those guys sucked.)

This was the first episode to really feature Jack as a star, and I really do like him a lot. Weber's casting was initially the one I was most hesitant on, and he's definitely proved me wrong. I've noticed that Jack and Tom have become fan favorites and I wonder if that has anything to do with them both playing major roles in this first episode back from the little break. I will say I'm definitely liking both of them more than Matt who lately has been getting on my nerves with all his righteous ravings. Although Danny continues to be unabashedly my favorite.

So... Amanda Peet is looking pretty damn pregnant. The more I think about it, the more I'm glad that they're writing in her pregnancy. Holding folders and whatnot would get silly after a while. She didn't play a big role in this episode, and I'm thinking the fact that Amanda's pregnant and yet Jordan isn't yet is why. By the way, speaking of not playing a big role in this episode, where the hell was Cal? Timothy Busfield was co-director of this one (I'm guessing one director handled the Nevada scenes and one handled the Hollywood scenes) so I understand that limits his ability to be a big player, but still... Cal was in the other episode Busfield directed and Toby was in the episode of The West Wing that Richard Schiff directed. Anyways, I missed Cal.

Tom continues his streak of rocking this and every other house. I'm glad they've fleshed him out more, and I have a definite feeling that this role will put Nate Corddry on the map, in much the way that Josh Lyman put Bradley Whitford on the map. I think Tom'll be the breakout character in much the way that Josh was on The West Wing (although, character-wise, Tom is much more of a Sam.)

Speaking of house-rocking, how great was John Goodman? I sincerely think that John Goodman has never appeared in any show or movie without absolutely *owning* that show or movie. I will say though that he really is getting... big. For Christmas this year I want one of my presents to be for John Goodman to go on a diet, so that we can have another 40 years or so of him kicking ass and taking names.

Jeannie hasn't done much lately, has she? I like Jeannie, lets have her do stuff (other than being the "other woman" in the continuing Marriet [Hatt?] saga) As for Simon, Jordan and Harriet? Y'all were great, keep up the good work. Jordan in particular I'm liking more and more, considering she was my least favorite when the show started.

So, yeah, lots of good things set up. Very interested to see how everything is tied up in part two (I'm also very curious about why Tom was speeding. I hope it has nothing to do with his brother just because that's what I assumed and I want to be surprised.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Continuing Saga of the Possible Continuation of Studio 60 (and spoilers)

Alright, so, on Monday night (as we all know) NBC ran a new episode of Friday Night Lights and gave Studio 60 a break, presumably to see how FNL performed in that time slot. Different sources have reported varying things, oddly. Some claim FNL got worse ratings than S60 did in that slot, some claim FNL got better, and some claim they were about even, either way what is clear is that no substantial difference was made (it's also noteworthy that FNL was up against a CSI: Miami repeat and did roughly as well as Studio 60 does against new episodes of CSI: Miami, likely working in S60's favor)

Following this NBC has announced it's schedule for November sweeps and Studio 60's scheduled for Monday nights at 10 all throughout the month. This, my friends, is a very good sign. So feel excited!

Are we out of the woods yet? Not even close... Studio 60 is still underperforming and I do think definite changes need to be made (both in terms of scheduling and production) if S60's going to have any long-term survival, but this is a start. Studio 60 remains the second highest-rated new show on NBC and that ain't nothing.

On another note, we've got some information on upcoming episodes...

1-7: Nevada Day (Part 1)- This is the episode John Goodman's guest-starring in. He apparently is playing a judge in Nevada where Tom is in jail. No idea what Tom did, but this sounds like a good one to me.

1-8: Nevada Day (Part 2)- See above.

1-9: The Option Period- Matt learns Ron and Ricky are planning to leave (and are taking the writing staff with them.) It looks like Evan Handler and Carlos Jacott might be casualties of budget cuts, and I can't say cutting them loose is a bad idea. Also Harriet toys with the idea of doing a lingerie spread in a magazine. Jordan and Danny also deal with budget cuts (likely a reference to something Sorkin and Schlamme are having to do themselves at this point.)

1-10: B-12- Jordan tells Danny that she's pregnant. Well, there's a mysterious little sentence, 'cause that could mean she's telling the father of her baby that she's pregnant... or she's merely telling the character she's closest too right now that she's pregant! Jordan Jr.'s paternity remains a mystery! Also Matt is forced to deal with his lack of writing staff (which confirms that R&R do indeed end up leaving and that the previous episode doesn't end with R&R seeing the error of their ways.) Oh, and everyone's sick.

So there you are, folks!

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