As they did with Lisa Kudrow's great but ill-fated The Comeback, wrong-headed TV critics attacked the daring Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Aaron Sorkin's knowing, brainy and fantastically-acted follow-up to the The West Wing.
They labeled it "pretentious" and "not funny enough." As a result, the show never got the buzz it needed to be a success, and NBC canceled it after its first season. It's a great loss. This drama -- it's not a comedy -- ostensibly is about the struggle of two head writers/producers (Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, both excellent, with Perry a revelation) to put on a weekly Saturday Night Live comedy show. But that's just the window into Studio 60's real subject -- the ethics, policies and politics of network television. And, next to the White House, what better institution for Sorkin's lacerating, fast-paced and quick-witted writing style? The best of these 22 episodes include sizzling, literate, argumentative back-and-forth among Perry, Whitford, Steven Weber as the network chairman and Amanda Peet as the network president. (Steven Rosen) Grade: A