Originally Posted by Bradford
I also like the fact that, as opposed to SportsNight or The West Wing, Sorkin actually has the budget now to put his ideas on screen. On the previous shows they would have cut to black right as the credits for the show went up on screen and next week they would have talked about how great the opening Gilbert & Sullivan scene was, but we would have never actually seen it.
Now, Sorkin has enough pull and a big enough budget that they were actually able to bring an orchestra, chorus and perform the opening sketch. Nice!
I think that ends up being the downfall for this show, and why it might not last a season.
NBC got into a bidding war for this show, and is now paying up to 3M for this show. With such high production costs, it makes it more difficult for a network to support a struggling show, despite the critical acclaim.
As Saucemaster mentioned, there are problems with showing the skits. As a basic rule for writing, you want to show, not tell. But, you're also building up these expectations that's only going to disappoint the viewer. There's a different kind of funny for a comedy vs. a drama, and I don't think Sorkin can write the 'funny' for those comedy sketches. My brain may respect Sorkin's stuff, but I'm not laughing at those sketches either.
Ultimately, I think it was a mistake to have the show take a behind the scenes look at a comedy sketch show. It wasn't the best vehicle for Sorkin's talents. Instead, I think a better vehicle would have been to show us the inner workings of a news network, maybe something like 60 Minutes or a nightly news show. This way, we could still see the behind the scenes stuff that Sorkin did so succesfully with Sports Night. And, we would still get the political and news stuff that we saw with West Wing.