TV Review: “Studio 60” hype lives up to preseason expectations

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    What can you say about the most talked about new TV show of the season? Only two words: absolutely brilliant.”Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” is completely different than any other show on TV. It is a drama centered on a skit comedy show, a la “Saturday Night Live.”

    It takes a raw look at what happens behind the scenes of a popular TV series and turns it on its head.

    The opening scene shows a frustrated producer storming onto the live set to tell viewers to change the channel. He begins to berate the show by saying it was once brilliant and politically satiric but has now succumbed to the studio and censors.

    The outburst occurs as new NBS network president Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet, “A Lot Like Love”) has just taken over the reins. Her solution to get the show back on track is to once again hire writer-producer Matt Albie (Matthew Perry, “Friends”) and producer-director (Bradley Whitford, “The West Wing”) who were fired four years earlier.

    The show was created by Aaron Sorkin, the creator of “The West Wing” and “Sports Night,” and just like his other shows, “Studio 60” is filled with intelligent writing, ironic humor and terrific acting.

    Perhaps one of the testaments to the cast is that when you see Perry and Whitford on screen, you aren’t jarred by the fact they were on wildly successful TV shows and don’t associate them with their past characters.

    Along with poking fun at “Saturday Night Live,” Sorkin throws in a couple of jabs at televangelist Pat Robinson and the viewers of his show “The 700 Club” by calling them bigots.

    If the viewing public had any taste for something different, then “Studio 60” should have no problem winning its Monday 9 p.m. time slot. The only show I can see stopping it from being the king of Monday nights is the cookie-cutter “CSI: Miami,” which America seems to love.