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Seldom does it happen that we get to see a show with a considerable amount of substance when we switch on our televisions.  Most of the time, TV programming is driven by the urge to get good ratings, which is often driven by market preferences, which leads to more advertising opportunities and, eventually, to more profits for the media owners.  Television throughout the years has been reviled for this capitalist practice.

It is therefore, as we say it, a “breath of fresh air” when one encounters a program that seems to intrigue the mind of its viewers.  When these kinds of shows air on television, one is forced to think if the network is playing tricks on him:  is it true?  Am I really seeing this on television?  Should I believe my ears and eyes? We got so used to seeing *crap* in television that good, quality programming has become more of the exception rather than the rule.

Imagine my delight, therefore, when a good friend recommended a certain show to me which, she says, tops the likes of Grey’s Anatomy, Heroes or even Gossip Girl in the entertainment and quality department.  I got so intrigued because this friend of mine is, if you say it in journalistic terms, a “very reliable source.”  I asked for some copies of episodes from her and I downloaded the rest.  In a word, all I could say after watching it was: “WOAH.”

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is a show that peeks into the scenes behind a fictional comedy sketch series of the same title produced in a studio of the same name (which is as big as a Wilmington NC real estate).  It reveals the dynamics that go beyond producing and writing for such shows, the issues the execs have to tackle with and, most importantly, the subtleties of the show-network relationship (which I find very relevant to my course).

What I find interesting about the show is its courage to confront issues head-on: the war in Iraq, Bush’s incompetence, even “Crazy Christians”!  It exposes how the brains behind the show struggle with the sensitivity of the issues they satirize, giving the show its much-needed connection with the viewers.  But more than any other issue it discusses, the over-arching theme of providing good, quality programming which goes beyond ratings and profit makes it stand out all on its own.

Too bad the show was cancelled after just a full season run.  But I think Studio 60 has left an indelible mark in television programming.  It’s actually good that it got cancelled (rumor has it that the network favored the Tina Fey-starrer 30 Rock, which basically operates on the same behind-the-scenes-of-a-comedy-sketch-show format, over Studio 60) because it only drove the show’s point further home: programs that pique the mind and sensibilities of the audience are not meant to survive on air.

Regardless, Studio 60, I believe, is a timeless classic; a show that braved the odds and successfully proved its relevance in society.

*Photo from http://www.radiotimes.com/


6 Responses to “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”
  1. RONeiluke says:

    WOAH!! i have to watch this one…im into tv series kasi. hehe! hope this one is as mentally stimulating as LOST and ONE TREE HILL. thanks for posting…im adding you up to my blog roll…thanks!

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