Box Watch

It’s pretty quiet on the box at the moment. The last few months were very pleasantly crowded with:

Most of them have finished now (or in the case of Studio 60, I stopped watching). The Goddess and I have tried some new and returning shows, without great success.

  • Despite the presence of Six Feet Under alumnus Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters tried so hard to stop us from switching channels, we turned the box off completely.
  • Having read somewhere that Hu$tle had shuffled up to the big con in the sky, I was surprised to see it return – only to find that it was sans Adrian Lester. Who cares about a bunch of grifters, no matter how funny (Danny), pretty (Stacey), reliably versatile (Ash) and wizened (Albie) they are? We want the cool black guy back!
  • Saving Grace looked very promising with Holly Hunter in the lead. Unfortunately, for us, yet-another-cop-show with a smart-mouthed, promiscuous, boozin’, law-bendin’, gun-totin, ass-grabbin’ protagonist who happens to be female just doesn’t wash.


So far, not so good. Still no sign of my beloved Shield or the satisfyingly dense Wire. And waiting for us on the trusty VCR are the pilots for The Street and Burn Notice. The Law of Averages is on our side.


A Late Letter to Aaron Sorkin

Dear Mr Sorkin

I’ve been a big fan, Mr Sorkin, for a looong time.

I first noticed your work when Jack and Tom chewed the scenery (and each other) in A Few Good Men. Even though Det. Steve Keller Michael Douglas played The American President, I still enjoyed how you mixed in the love and politics.

And then there was Sports Night. A comedy with no laugh track? A drama that played for just half-an-hour? A show which wasn’t really about sports but about relationships? That used sports as a metaphor for what it meant to be a decent human being in this world? You sly dog, you: I was hooked. You showed me that not only was it possible to be funny and enlightening, you made me a believer in intelligent television – sometimes less was more.

The West Wing did not disappoint. Only you could create a drama about politics without regularly resorting to situations in which the world was saved at the last second. I only got to Season Three unfortunately – life had plans for me and I drifted away. I hear that around Season Four, life had its own plans for you, too.

I’m not afraid to say that I had a flutter when I heard you were returning with Studio 60 on Sunset Strip. So what if Teevee quickly tired of the numerous rants soliloquoys. And you have to admit Ken Levine was pretty funny with his if Aaron Sorkin wrote a show about baseball. I knew without question that I was going to tune in whenever it reached our shores.

The first half-dozen eps were classic Sorkin. I lapped it up. Whatever industry japes and spikes were there went straight over my head. So you wanted to vent – I was cool with that. And maybe your signature back-and-forth dialogue wasn’t so fresh a third time around – I didn’t mind; it was nice to have you back on the box. But then there was the The Harriet Dinner two-parter. Then the 4am Miracle ep. Then The Disaster Show.

Mr Sorkin – all due respect but… WTF?

I’m sorry, Mr Sorkin, but I just… I can’t take any more. I’ve stopped watching. I may never know how Danny and Jordan go with the baby, or if Matt and Harriett’s rollercoaster love will straighten up and fly right, or even if the New Black Guy will get his first sketch aired. I don’t care. I feel insulted. If I wanted will-they-or-won’t-they relationship arcs or idiot-plots-A through to -Z, I’d be watching CSI or Medium. I wanted to enjoy your last outing but it didn’t work out. It wasn’t me, it was you.

Please don’t take this to be a beatdown. I’m a big fan of your work – even if Studio 60 plumbed some depths, it was still superior television. Whatever your next show is, you can count me in, no questions asked.

Yours sincerely

d f mamea