SciFi Weekend: The Romantic Triangle of Fringe; Cobie Smulders of SHIELD; Nolan and Sorkin Win Awards; V To End on Cliffhanger; And Daleks

On Fringe, Olivia expressed the belief that she had difficulty competing with Fauxlivia due to being less fun after having been experimented upon as a child. While Fauxlivia definitely is the hotter of Anna Torv’s characters, Olivia needs to understand that the real problem is that she has been pushing Peter away. I had even been rooting at times for Peter to get back with Fauxlivia, until we learned in this week’s episode that possibly only one universe will survive and it will be the one with the version of Oliva which Peter chooses. Actually I suspect the show will end up with both universes surviving, but it now does sound far too risky to root for Fauxlivia, regardless of how much hotter she is than Olivia.

A major component of the episode involved an excuse to bring in someone who could read minds so that they could read Peter’s thoughts. This led to the scene in the picture above where Olivia read that Peter still had feelings for Fauxlivia. The mind reader might have been more helpful if he also pointed out that Peter clearly also has feelings for Olivia.

Strange that Fringe, which is probably the top American science fiction show now on the air, has essentially turned into a gigantic love triangle.

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon,  Samuel L. Jackson revealed that there would be a female side kick for Nick Fury in the upcoming Joss Whedon Avengers movie. The latest rumor is that Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother is the front runner for the role of SHIELD Agent Maria Hill.

Olivia Wilde is rumored to be in consideration to play Lois Lane in the Superman reboot.

Christopher Nolan and Aaron Sorkin won major awards last night at the Writers Guild Awards. Christopher Nolan won for best original screenplay with Inception and Aaron Sorkin won for best adapted screenplay with The Social Network.

Sorkin is currently working on a pilot for HBO which goes behind the scenes of a cable news show. Sorkin has shown interest in this type of show in Sports Night and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Going to a cable news show would allow him to include the type of politically-oriented stories he wrote for The West Wing which didn’t work as well when mixed into Studio 60.

Although it is far from certain that V will return next season, the season will reportedly end on a cliffhanger. This could turn out to be like the original series, which ended on a cliffhanger. By that time the series had gotten so bad that nobody really cared. The Cape also appears in trouble of not coming back, being reduced to only ten episodes. The return of The Event is being postponed until after The Cape concludes its brief run.

Community had another great genre-oriented episode involving a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The episode even included a shot with a picture of a Dalek on the table.

Ironically, this occurred the same week on which Jim Parsons, whose show The Big Bang Theory is on opposite Community, admitted in an interview with Craig Ferguson that he doesn’t watch Doctor Who (video above).

Last week I had a video of kids and Daleks. It appears that Steven Moffat is looking into this trend.

Here’s a must buy item. The Doctor Who Site reports that this Tardis mug is available for pre-order. For unexplained reasons it is available in the United States and Australia but not the U.K.

Aaron Sorkin To Produce Movie On John Edwards-Rielle Hunter Scandal

Aaron Sorkin, one of my favorite television and movie writers, will be producing and directing The Politician, a movie on Andrew Young’s book on the downfall of John Edwards. I certainly intend to watch this, and from a box office perspective the story of the affair between Edwards and Rielle Hunter certainly makes a lot of sense. Still, as there are so few writers with Sorkin’s ability, I would prefer to see him take on a different target.

There is really no benefit in anything further to take down John Edwards. His career is over. I’m not being merciful because of any sympathy for Edwards. If anyone cares to dig through the blog archives you will see that I was writing about how dishonest, slimy, and superficial Edwards was well before the Rielle Hunter scandal. It’s just I find Sorkin’s work to be the most beneficial when he is taking on targets which still matter, such as the religious right. He did a great job of this in The West Wing, and even had some great moments in Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. But yes, this upcoming movie is far more likely to be a success than Studio 60 was.

Aaron Sorkin Returning to Television


TV Guide reports that Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip) will be returning to television:

Sorkin tells TVGuideMagazine.comthat – like his previous series Sports Night (set around an ESPN-style sports news show) and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (set around a Saturday Night Live-esque sketch comedy show) – his next effort will take place backstage on yet another TV series.

“I’m going to be starting on a new TV series” when filming is done on the upcoming movie “The Social Network,” the Sorkin-penned account of the founding of Facebook directed by David Fincher, he says. “It’s going to be what turns out to be the third in the trilogy of TV shows that take place behind the scenes of a TV show, but this will be a different kind of TV show. That’s all I can let out of the bag right now.”

Sorkin said he “hopes” to reunite on the project with at least some of the actors he’s worked with previously. “If you’re a writer, when you’re find an actor like Josh Malina, Felicity Huffman, Brad Whitford, Matt Perry, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, all these great actors that I’ve worked with, you just want to stick them in your pocket and work with them forever, so I hope so.” He also expects to be working with director and longtime collaborator Tommy Schlamme “for sure.”

I hope that whatever type of TV show it is set in lends itself to considering political issues.  Watching Studio 60 I often felt that Sorkin would have preferred writing The West Wing.

Aaron Sorkin’s Return to Television


Entertainment Weekly mentions John Wells’ new television show, Southland, but primarily uses this as an excuse to discuss his old partner Aaron Sorkin:

Privately, though, I wish that NBC was throwing its cash at Wells’ old producing partner, whose long-awaited comeback to television is about a year behind schedule. I speak of Aaron Sorkin, the man behind last year’s fabulously written Charlie Wilson’s War, who’s best remembered by boob-tube-o-philes as the genius who, along with Wells, gave us The West Wing (and, well, the sexy Brad Whitford). I miss Sorkin’s marvelous repartee, even when it came in the form of a blustery, behind-the-scenes look at a late-night variety show called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Since the 2006-07 drama only lasted a season, Sorkin can’t be wanting that show to represent his final contribution to the TV dramas. It’s only a matter of time before he brings us more of that intelligent, rat-a-tat banter — right?

Well, it just so happens that we may be seeing him soon — just not in the way we’d expect. A source close to Sorkin says the uber-writer is in talks with Entourage to guest star on the comedy once it returns to HBO in July. And there may be more good news on the horizon: Although his dance card is filled with must-finish screenplays (a Facebook movie! A courtroom drama for George Clooney called The Challenge!) word is that Sorkin is mulling over the idea of a new TV drama that takes a behind-the-scenes look at a cable news program (think: Keith Olbermann’s show on MSNBC). Though I’m not all that thrilled at the prospect of yet another behind-the-scenes show, I’ll take what I can get if it means Sorkin will (finally!) be back on TV.

Sorkin’s behind the scene look at a late-night variety show failed partially because it wasn’t what Sorkin was really interested in. Sorkin moved the show increasingly into politics as opposed to show business. As I discussed, in response to criticism of Studio 60 when it was on:

The criticisms are largely true, but miss the point. Those looking for a show about a SNL-type show are inevitably going to be disappointed. It fails to capture how such a show is really written, and fails to show its humor. However, Studio 60 is no more about a comedy show than Sports Night was really about a sports show. Studio 60 is really just a way to continue The West Wing in a new venue. The ultimate tip off is having the White House Deputy Chief of Staff as producer of the show within the show…

Studio 60 is about Aaron Sorkin characters speaking Aaron Sorkin dialog about the issues which matter to Aaron Sorkin. It doesn’t matter whether these characters are in the White House or on the set of a television show. Those who want a funny show about making a television show should buy the DVD’s of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Studio 60 is a totally different type of show, but hopefully setting it in an SNL-like television show is enough to get enough people to give it a try and possibly get hooked.

On television it is difficult to build an audience when a show appears to be about one thing but is really aimed at a different audience. Similarly, look at how much trouble Friday Night Lights has had because many potential viewers never gave this excellent drama a chance thinking it was primarily about college football. (Fortunately their arrangement with Direct TV will be keeping it around for at least two more years despite its low ratings.) I don’t know if there is enough of an audience for Sorkin’s planned show, but at least having it about an Olbermann-type show is closer to Sorkin’s real interests than a show like Saturday Night Live and viewers will know what to expect.

Most importantly, I hope to see a return of Sorkin’s “intelligent, rat-a-tat banter” in some form. With both Sorkin and Amy Sherman-Paladino (of Gilmore Girls) being without current shows I do miss this type of dialog which nobody else comes close to matching.

SciFi Weekend: David Tennant Leaving Doctor Who; Liz Lemon to Date Don Draper; Weak Economy Helps Weak Shows; Lorelei Gilmore Becomes a Doll; and The Planet Vulcan Discovered

After months of speculation, David Tennant has announced he will leave the role of The Doctor after the upcoming series of four Doctor Who specials are completed. BBC News reports:

Tennant stepped into the Tardis in 2005, and will leave the role after four special episodes are broadcast next year.

He made the announcement after winning the outstanding drama performance prize at the National Television Awards.

“When Doctor Who returns in 2010 it won’t be with me,” he said.

“Now don’t make me cry,” he added. “I love this part, and I love this show so much that if I don’t take a deep breath and move on now I never will, and you’ll be wheeling me out of the Tardis in my bath chair.”

‘I’ll miss it’

Three years was “about the right time” to play the role, he told the BBC in an exclusive interview.

“I think it’s better to go when there’s a chance that people might miss you, rather than to hang around and outstay your welcome,” he said.

His stint in the show had been “the most extraordinary time, it’s been bewildering, life changing, very exciting”, he said.

“And just so much fun, such a great show to work on.

“That’s one of the reasons I think it’s right to take a deep breath and bow out when it’s still fun, when it’s a novelty.

“I don’t ever want it to feel like a job, so I want to move on when it still feels exciting and fresh and that means I’ll miss it.”

Liz Lemon to date Don Draper? Tina Fey and Jon Hamm will have something in common besides both appearing on Saturday Night Live recently. Jon Hamm of Mad Men might appear in a multi-episode arc of 30 Rock as Liz Lemon’s new love interest.Video of two of Hamm’s skits on SNL were posted here.

With all the subplots on Heroes, a lot has happened, including the return of Kristen Bell as Elle. Perhaps the most interesting development was seeing Sylar’s role get even more complex as his father got him to turn on his mother, but he still decided to save  his brother Peter’s life. His character is certainly different from previous years when he was motivated by little more than killing others with super powers in order to obtain their powers. Ultimately we saw him as a pure family man in a possible future shown earlier in the season.

There might be an unexpected benefit from the bad economy. I’ve often felt that, compared to several years ago, television shows are canceled too quickly if they are not doing well in the ratings, not giving them a chance to build an audience. The Hollywood Reporter believes that the bad economy might be responsible for some shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles being renewed:

Industry observers say the recent cluster of low-rated shows granted full-season orders might have something to do with network executives watching the plunging Dow rather than their shows’ falling Nielsens.

No execs would talk on the record, but the economic crisis, combined with the cost of marketing a new series, the lack of new programming inventory because of the WGA strike and the anticipated difficulty of locking down new advertiser commitments, has networks inclined to play it safe.

“Most years there would be more cancellations than there have been to date,” said John Rash, senior vp/director of media negotiations at Campbell Mithun. “But the dual dynamics of schedule stability keeping ad dollars in place is combining with delayed programming development from last season’s writers strike.”

NBC’s “Knight Rider,” ABC’s “Private Practice” and Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” recently received orders for an additional nine episodes apiece. Such a move typically indicates a network’s confidence in a show’s performance and signals the inclination to keep a series on the air for the duration of the season.

Life on Mars at least has received well deserved improvements in the ratings. Last week Sam came to the assistance of his mother, learning far more about her than he probably wants to know, and also got the opportunity to meet Jim Croce and Joe Namath (Joe the Quarterback?). In upcoming episodes he gets involved in his father as well as someone who was/will become his mentor.

Bradley Whitford of The West Wing and Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip is producing and staring in a sitcom for NBC named Off Duty about a once-legendary police detective (Whitford) on his way down who complicates the life of his new partner, both on duty and off.

Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls will be appearong on Broadway as the female lead in a new revival of Guys and Dolls.

J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, is working on a script for a remake of the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet.

And finally, the planet Vulcan might have been discovered.

SciFi Friday: Star Trek, Cylons in Bikinis, Saturn Awards, and Casting News


Ain’t It Cool News got a brief look at the upcoming Star Trek movie:

He showed me a scene of Ben Cross (Sarek) & Winona Ryder (Amanda Grayson) cradling a baby Spock on the surface of Vulcan. A baby with Spock ears is kind of amazing to look at. But there was no dialogue here, and Vulcan wasn’t really there yet – what was there was a great rock formation that kinda reminded me of that wonky mountain/cliff thing from ARENA / BILL & TED. That said, it wasn’t the ARENA formation – and JJ said that zero effects had been done on this yet – so the lighting wasn’t right, the sky wasn’t right and there were no angry volcano type things or structures in the background, but he assured me… it’ll all look very Vulcan when it is done.

The next scene was a really nicely completed visual effects pass of a pre-Enterprise Federation ship from about 25 years before the Enterprise. I’ve no idea how this fits into the larger story, same with the Spock baby stuff. But this effects shot had a completely different space feel than anything I’ve seen before from STAR TREK or STAR WARS. The shot began on a small part of the ship, then craned back and over to reveal the ship coming into a larger shot of the ship seemingly orbiting a really angry sun. The shot was absolutely dynamic as the star was seemingly raging – and we cut to the interior of the ship – it was very shadowy and very much like that of an old diesel submarine – JJ told me that the look was an evolving look for Star Fleet – so that you could get a sense of the passage of decades here. Once again though – I didn’t see the end of the scene or really get a sense for what was going on.

We might have to wait several months to see it, but the Battlestar Galactica series finale has been lengthened to three hours. The second half of the fourth season will be a total of four hours (not counting at least one made for television movie). In the meantime you  could buy your own Cylon to provide entertainment for only $7900. Unfortunately they only sell the toaster variety. They might have better sales if they use a different type of Cylon. After all, two of the three below are Cylons, and I’m not entirely certain about the third:

It seems that a Japanese firm is thinking more along these lines, but they have a long way to go from this robotic girlfriend.

The actresses of Battlestar Galactica are not the only ones to spend the summer posing in bikinis. Ali Larter of Heroes appears in Allure:

Heroes returns on September 22 and Tim Kring told SciFi Wire a bit about the upcoming season:

“You’re going to see a lot of bad guys in this one,” Kring said. “The idea, also, is we’re playing off the idea of our characters as heroes or villains. So it’s really the duality of good and evil. … We’re playing off of this duality of good and evil. All of our characters were given these powers and possess these powers, and at some point it becomes sort of free will and human nature as to what you’re going to do with that. And all of us are given the choice to make decisions that lead us down very dark paths or towards heroic ends. And so, literally, every one of our characters gets faced with that dilemma.”

Kring told SciFi Wire that the third season of the show will delve further into the characters and their backgrounds.

“One of the things that this volume is going to do that, I think, is really going to be fun for the audience is that there were very initial sort of primal questions that the show asked,” Kring said. “Who am I? What’s happening to me? How am I connected? Where are these powers coming from? All of those questions get reframed and turned on their head in a very interesting way in this volume.”

The third season will be divided up into volumes in keeping with other seasons. The first volume will focus on the villains of Heroes, including popular bad-guy Sylar.

“Well, we have no plans of saying goodbye to Sylar right now,” Kring assured fans. “I mean, that was yet another silver lining for the strike, was Zach Quinto’s availability to us in the third volume. I mean, that was a huge thing for us to be able to have him back. As you guys know, he would have disappeared for a large chunk of the second half of season two. And so, for us, it was a big, big deal.”

Heroes will also include a Veronica Mars reunion. Kristen Bell and Francis Capra (Weevil) will be reunited in the same series as Capra plays a villain named Jesse. So as to not leave her out of the summer bikini edition, a picture of Kristen Bell in a bikini from Forgetting Sarah Marshall is here,  Kristen Bell as Princess Leia slave girl is here, and another picture of her has been posted here.

Lost has been nominated for an Emmy Award and won four times at the Saturn Awards on June 24. Lost won for best network television series, best actor (Matthew Fox), best supporting actor (Michael Emerson) and best supporting actress (Elizabeth Mitchell). Cloverfield won for best Science Fiction Film and Enchanted won as best Fantasy Film. Amy Adams (above) won the Best Actress Award for her role as Giselle, the newest Disney princess in Enchanted.

Two cast members of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip have been signed for new roles. Amanda Peet will be the female lead in 2012:

2012 revolves around a global cataclysm and the heroic struggle of the survivors. Peet is playing Cusack’s ex-wife, newly married to a wealthy man. Cusack plays a divorced father trying to become a writer while holding a job as a limo driver.

Matthew Perry of Studio 60 and Friends will be returning to television, and get to swear a lot, in The End of Steve. From the description I assume that this will be on premium cable and not network television.

Christopher Eccleston of Doctor Who and Heroes will once again appear in a role with a female companion, but this time he’ll be playing second fiddle. He will play Amelia Earhart’s navigator Fred Noonan in Amelia. He will also play a villian named Destro in G.I. Joe.

SciFi Friday: Televison During the Strike; Lost Secrets; The Golden Compass and Religion

With the writers strike going into six weeks the number of new shows is dwindling. AP presents an update as to which shows still have new episodes and which are on indefinite hiatus. Fortunately there are also some shows planned to start in the winter which already have some episodes completed, including Jericho and Lost. Jericho will resume on February 12 with a run of seven new episodes on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. What seemed like such a short season has now become almost a norm for this year. One new show, The Sarah Conner Chronicles, even has thirteen episodes ready to air starting with a two night premier on January 13-14.

SciFi Wire received some answers from the producers of Lost, but they won’t come as much of a surprise, or really clear up any mysteries. They reveal that “the show is about redemption. All the characters on this island are confronting the failures of their past and revisiting issues that go to the core of their emotional makeup.” Other comments regarding the meaning of the show include the producers saying, “We are interested in exploring how good and evil can be embodied in the same characters and the struggles we all have to overcome the dark parts of our souls.” The person in the coffin at the end of season three is someone we’ve seen before, but there are no further clues. Walt will return but it doesn’t sound like it will be soon. The Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle will continue. There will continue to be flashbacks and looks into the future. Jacob will be more important to the show in the future, with the producers realizing that the unveiling of Jacob in the third season did not provide any answers.

Heroes concluded with an episode which was intended to be the end of one arc for the season but which served as a good season finale. They put an end to the threat of the virus which in one alternate future wiped out most of humanity, and Hiro gave the immortal Adam the punishment he deserved in being buried alive–forever (or until they decide to bring him back in a future season). Sylar is now rejuvenated and ready to use his powers for evil, after taking a break to play Spock. At least the strike means Zachary Quinto has some time to film Star Trek without limiting his time for Heroes. The idea of going public may be at an end. HRG is back at The Company, but are they really wise to leave him on the loose? It looks like the end for both Nikki and Nathan, but who knows for sure.

Star Trek XI stars filming Leonard Nimoy’s scenes next week. The X-Files movie begins production next month and is signing stars including Amanda Peet (above), formerly of Studio 60.

The controversy created by the Harry Potter books and movies might be greatly exceeded with the opening of The Golden Compass. The books, especially the second and third, really do have an anti-religious bias and those who objected to Harry Potter will find much more to become upset about. That doesn’t mean they necessarily have to hide from the books or movie. After all, my family watched The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and we weren’t tempted to give up our liberal, secular ways (or devil worship if you ask Bill O’Reilly). For those fearful of ideas they don’t agree with, I hear that the movie version of The Golden Compass does play down the views of religion presented in the novels. The Guardian reviewed the movie last spring after it premiered at Cannes:

The Golden Compass, the Hollywood adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, launched in Cannes yesterday with a sneak preview of the film, which will hit UK cinemas at Christmas.

Chris Weitz, its screenwriter and director, used the event to address speculation about whether the books’ firmly anti-religious message would be retained.

Referring to the Magisterium – the all-powerful religious body that wields total political power in the world of Lyra, the heroine – he said: “In the books the Magisterium is a version of the Catholic church gone wildly astray from its roots. If that’s what you want in the film, you’ll be disappointed. We have expanded the range of meanings that the Magisterium represents.”

He added that there would be no specific marketing to neutralise any potential religious backlash in the US. “We’re going to let the film talk for itself,” he said.

Speaking from his home in Oxford, Pullman told the Guardian: “The Magisterium as I conceived it always did stand for a range of things, including organised religion and secular authority.

“The outline of the story is faithful to what I wrote, given my knowledge of what they’ve done – and given they have compressed a story that takes 11 hours to read out into two hours or so.”

Weitz said: “Philip Pullman is against any kind of organised dogma, whether it is church hierarchy or, say, a Soviet hierarchy. We often deal quite obliquely with it in the film … but we have done service to Pullman’s books. Those people who read them for their philosophical content will not be disappointed.”

Steven Weber on Al Gore

Steven Weber, most recently of Studio 60, writes about Al Gore at The Huffington Post. He asks:

Why, given the opportunity that’s been presented to him on a silver Prius, is this man not going to run for (and win) the presidency of the United States? If ever there was a clarion call to be answered it is this one: heed the will of the majority of the people, take back the yoke Bush and his cracked team of highjackers have used to steer the country into the ground and pull the ship skyward again.

Weber provides his own answer to why Gore might not be running (which may or may not have anything to do with what Gore actually thinks) and then answers why he should run and why “America needs you need to lead us now more than ever.”

Terrorist Mickey Killed

I’ve had a number of posts on television finales, from The Sopranos to Studio 60, but here’s one I missed. The good news is that, after previous promises, Hamas is finally getting rid of the Mickey Mouse look alike which is used to indoctrinate children in terrorism. The bad news is that the method by which this was done might reinforce hatred:

In the final skit, Farfour was beaten to death by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour’s land. At one point, Farfour called the Israeli a “terrorist.”

“Farfour was martyred while defending his land,” said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed “by the killers of children,” she added.

SciFi Friday: Finales For Doctor Who and Studio 60; Best Genre Shows of All Time

The major event in science fiction this weekend is the finale of the third season of Doctor Who, with this weeks episode running an extra six to eight minutes. My review of the previous episode, The Sound of Drums, along with a video clip, is here. Of course those planning to watch the season starting in July on the SciFi Channel might want to avoid these spoilers.

Many questions remain going into the finale, including the nature of the droids which are literally decimating the earth. I say literally as their instructions are to kill one tenth of all humans. We do know that The Master has converted the Tardis into a Paradox Machine to bring them to earth. He calls them Toclafane, which The Doctor says is really a fairy tale villain, not a real alien race. The Master also warned The Doctor that their identity will break his heart. One theory is that The Master is using The Paradox Machine to bring Cybermen in a new form back to our dimension, with Rose somehow involved, explaining the part about breaking The Doctor’s heart. (Fortunately The Doctor has two hearts). Another possibility is that The Paradox Machine brings fairy tales to life.

While Doctor Who has more episodes of any genre show, TV Guide didn’t give it the respect it deserves. They have released an updated list of the top thirty genre shows as follows:

30) Strangers with Candy (1999-2000)*
29) Absolutely Fabulous (1994-2003)
28) Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007)*
27) H.R. Pufnstuf (1969-1971)
26) Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1975-1978)
25) Firefly (2002-2003)*
24) Twin Peaks (1990-1991)
23) Dark Shadows (1966-1971)
22) Doctor Who (1963-present)
21) Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)

20) The Avengers (1966-1969)
19) Quantum Leap (1989-1993)
18) Veronica Mars (2004-2007)*
17) Beauty and the Beast (1987-1990)
16) Babylon 5 (1994-1998)
15) Family Guy (1999-present)
14) Battlestar Galactica (2003-present)*
13) Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1989-1999)
12) Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (1986-1991)
11) Jericho (2006-present)*

10) Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001)
9 ) Twilight Zone (1959-1964)
8 ) The Simpsons (1989-present)
7 ) The Prisoner (1967-1968)
6 ) Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1974)
5 ) Lost (2004-present)*
4 ) Farscape (1999-2003)
3 ) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
2 ) The X-Files (1993-2002)
1 ) Star Trek (1966-1969)

Shows marked with an asterisk are new to the list. I can’t see placing Doctor Who, which has more episodes than any show on the list (even if we add on all the spin offs to Star Trek) and is far better than many of the shows, at only 22. Firefly is ranked at 25. While I might place it a little higher, I do agree that it doesn’t deserve as high a ranking as some would give it. For example, recently I posted a list of top science fiction movies which listed Serenity (which was based on Firefly) as the top movie. They might also be overly influenced by the reaction to the cancellation and subsequent saving of Jericho. While a good show, it is over ranked here. I have no disagreement with the two two spots, Star Trek and The X-Files. While I’ve never seen Buffy, it has a tremendous following and I can also see ranking it highly. A few shows which have been left out, Heroes, 24, Lost in Space, and Dark Angel, are far more significant than several of the shows on the list.

Finally, a farewell to Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Fans of the show took out the above ad in the Hollywood Reporter thanking Studio 60 and encouraging donations to the Tipitina’s Foundation of New Orleans.

The problem with the show, which led to its demise, was that it was composed of Aaron Sorkin characters engaging in Aaron Sorkin dialog about Aaaron Sorkin’s favorite issues, transferred from the West Wing to the set of a television show. On the other hand, the great thing about the show was that it was composed of Aaron Sorkin characters engaging in Aaron Sorkin dialog about Aaaron Sorkin’s favorite issues, transferred from the West Wing to the set of a television show.

Prior to the finale, the show had a three part episode which ranks with the best of television. The finale tied up the loose ends, giving everyone a happy ending, even if not always realistically. Personally I don’t ever recall pulling a patient’s family aside with the words “I need to talk to you” to deliver good news! On the other hand, I’m glad to see that Jordan not only survived, but had already thought to draw up papers for Danny to adopt her newborn daughter. It was predictable all season that Matt and Harriet would follow the Ross and Rachel route and get back together. The best Harriett scene in the final four episodes, however, was not with Matt and Harriet but between Harriet and Danny. When things were looking bleak for Jordan, Harriet came up with,”Let me teach you how to pray.” If it was anyone but Aaron Sorkin, I’d start worrying–this is Studio 60, not Seventh Heaven after all. Fortunately it turns out that it was Danny who had something to teach Harriet, placing a few questions in her mind.

Sorkin ended Sports Night with a jab at ABC when he had a character say, “Anybody who can’t make money off of Sports Night should get out of the money-making business.” That left me wondering if he would end Studio 60 with a similar message to NBC. With all the happy endings in the finale, my suspicion was that Aaron Sorkin might have been thinking, “so this stuff is too complex for you. Here, have a nice happy television ending if that will make you happy.” While there were perhaps too many happy endings for all, it was preferable to shows such as Veronica Mars which ended without a resolution in the hopes of being renewed. For better or for worse, it was also as different from the ending of The Sopranos as an ending could be.