Monday, August 29, 2011

TV Review: Sports Night

How can a guy that has a journalism degree, and is a former sports journalist, have never of watched Sports Night?

Well, for some reason I never came across it when it was on the air. The DVD box set was always a little out of my price range. And, it took forever to stream on Netflix.

Then, it finally did - and I pounced.

Sports Night comes from the mind of Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and is a show that is about a late night sports show - much like SportsCenter.

Sports is really one of the last things this show is actually about. It tackles the lives and relationships of the people on the show which is set in New York City and has the backdrop of a sports highlights show.

The anchors on the show are Dan Rydell (Josh Charles) and Casey McCall (Peter Krause). Dan is sort of second banana to Casey and, as we find out as the show moves forward, has a bit of a demon in his past that has messed up his life. Casey is fresh off of a divorce from his wife and has a young son. He is the main talent of the show, but he has stayed loyal to his friend Dan and formed a great tandem.

The show SportsNight is a nightly sports show on the network, CSC. They are currently third in the overall sports rankings behind ESPN and FOX.

Dana Whitaker (Felicity Huffman) is the producer of the show, and at the beginning of the show it is revealed that she has been friends with Casey for a long time - and has been harboring feelings for him since. She answers to Isaac Jaffe (Robert Guillaume), the managing editor of the office. During filming, Guillaume had a real-life stroke and it was written into the show upon his return.

Natalie Hurley (Sabrina Lloyd) is the senior associate producer, second fiddle to Dana. She hires and soon falls in love with Jeremy Goodwin (Josh Malina), who is an associate producer, but also a stats nut - and knows a lot of facts that not many people really care about.

Although loved by critics, the show really never found its mark with an audience on ABC, but found a new life on DVD. Sorkin apparently had the opportunity to move the show to another network (HBO, Showtime and USA), but he decided to pass and focus on The West Wing.

As a former sports journalist a few things both intrigued and confused me. The main thing that confused me was when they first came on on SportsNight one of the anchors would introduce themselves and then say, "Those stories plus". This really irritated me - what were the stories? Their names? Those aren't stories, so this made no sense - and it happened almost every show. The things that intrigued me were the setup and creation of a sports show - really interesting.

The show is pretty good. A great show for both sports fans and nonsports fans. You don't need to be a fan of sports to understand the show - and the show really has so much more going on for everyone to enjoy.

It was so interesting to see some of the actors that I have come to know on different shows in this one. Huffman, I obviously know from Desperate Housewives. Krause, I had never seen before Parenthood, and was wondering why he got top bill on that show - now I know.

I highly recommend checking it out. There are only two seasons and it goes pretty quickly. Plus, it's now streaming on Netflix.


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