Now, I've complained a lot about Aaron Sorkin in the past. His dialogue is mannered. His characters all have IQs of 185. He steeps his stories in politics. But the thing of it is: I love his work. For all its annoying flaws, I love his writing. Nobody on TV writes like he does.
Someone on YouTube has posted the complete pilot to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Kris and I watched it tonight before NBC had a chance to cease-and-desist it. (Who knows, though? Maybe NBC actually seeded it there. That would be some smart marketing, I think.) Here are the five files that make up the show. So long as they're still posted at YouTube, you'll be able to watch them here:
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip pilot, part one
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip pilot, part two
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip pilot, part three
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip pilot, part four
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip pilot, part five
The pilot has its moments. Kris and I were both giving each other looks over the Network-esque opening, though it would have been nice if the show didn't devote thirty seconds to telegraphing this homage to the general audience. (Come on, Sorkin — you've trusted your viewers in the past, do it again. We see it. We see it.)
The pilot has some rough spots, too. I like the woman who plays Jordan, but she doesn't seem strong enough somehow. "It's because she's wearing that dress," Kris told me. But it's not. It's just her voice isn't strong enough. Give me Natalie from Sports Night! Or Felicity Huffman.
Speaking of which: one of the joys of an Aaron Sorkin show is watching his ensemble, that group of actors that follows him around from place-to-place. It's like being with old friends. Hell, this whole show is like being with old friends.
Currently I watch a grand total of zero television shows. (I download Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who and sometimes NBC's The Office.) Beginning September 1st at 10pm, that number will increase to a grand total of one.
(Will you look at this, NBC? Somebody posts the damn show early and I devote and entire blog entry to promoting it. That's free advertising, you idiots. Free advertising! Stop the presses! In a sign that Big Media might finally be "getting it", NBC has released the pilot episode on DVD to Netflix subscribers — this YouTube plant may indeed be their own.)