Sports Night

ABC (ended 2000)





Sports Night Fan Reviews (40)

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out of 10
769 votes
  • A fine show, but the writing style was formulaic.

    I like this show and have the DVD set. The actors were superb. The plots were superb. The character development was superb. "Then why give it a mediocre 7?" you ask. Here's why: The writing makes me cringe. I have seen reviews that say this was "fast paced" . It's not hard to be fast paced when you constantly repeat the previous line spoken. Here's an example of the writing style (I do not think it is an actual excerpt):

    "Hey, where are you going?"

    "What do you mean 'where am I going'?"

    "I want to know where you're

    "Why do you want to know where I'm going?"

    etc. etc. I would say at least one-third of the entire script fits this formulaic writing style. This is not exactly witty banter. When I'm listening to it, I generally claw at my head and yell at the TV "ANSWER THE @$#% QUESTION!!"
  • Sports night ran on abc for just two seasons but in that little time it gained fame as a pretty good show.

    Sports night starred peter krause(six feet under)josh charles(dead poet's society)and felicity huffman(desperate housewives)It was a show based on what it takes to run a nightly sports show.The show was great but it was pulled after just two years.The show was good but not good enough for's night was great.
  • Not bad.

    I never missed an episode of this show during it's original run and even recorded all but a few. I was thrilled to see this was released on DVD. I've turned a few people on to this show via my video tapes and we all love it. The reason to watch this show isn't the guffaws. You smile and snicker more then laugh out loud. But for shear entertainment you just can't beat it. The characters are real and you can relate to all of them and more importantly you care for all of them. The real genius of this show is not just the story and characters, but the dialogue. The way the actors deliver the lines, and the lines themselves are a joy to listen to and what makes this show watchable again and again. You will never get tired of listening to the verbal volleys between the actors. I can't say enough about the writing and acting of this show. Borrow it, rent it, buy it, whatever you have to to see it. Give it just a few episodes (ignore the lame laugh track on the first episode or 2) and I guarantee you'll be happily addicted to possibly the most well written (and acted) television show ever.
  • Never Given much of a chance

    I really liked this show. The episodes moved very quickly, and I found myself caring about the relationships between the characters. Case in point, the never consummated relationship between characters Casey McCall (Peter Krause) and Dana Whitaker (Felicity Huffman).

    When it looked like "Sports Night", the fictional program, was lagging in the ratings, they brought in a "fix-it man" played by William H. Macy. Now, like many of the "Sports Night" characters, I was none too thrilled with this guy, until he zinged the network brass with the story of "Cliff Gardner".

    Once they got rid of the laugh track, it allowed us to focus on the story. But, was it a laugh track, or was it an actual audience?

    What was most interesting to me about this program was how the storyline of what turned out to be the final episode made it all the more ironic.
  • Some of the best writing I have seen for television ever.

    This show is among two other shows I consider to be the best written show for television and one writer is responsible for two of those shows his name is Aaron Sorkin. Sound familiar he is also the writer for The West Wing. This show has all the charm of West Wing but never really seemed to find its audience. I am new to this show and discovered it by the other reviews on this web site. I took a chance on this show and bought the DVD's and have loved every minute of this show since. It has episodes that are written in the same fashion of West Wing episodes and to see them applied in a different setting is very cool. So If you like the fast paced walk and talk office dialogue of the west wing you will fall in love with this show as well.
  • Sure it's smarmy, but what isn't? Seriously.

    Sports Night was a great show. Super great. I mean, upon rewatching it on DVD for the 80,000th time, I realized that it was incredibly smarmy, but it was still so tremendously intelligent and hilarious, and could so easily evade the subject of sports to focus on a truly intelligent discussion of human interrelationships. So, why did they end the series on an upbeat note that seemed to indicate that it was going to be renewed for a third season? It crushed my fragile heart, and now I'll never be able to love again. Thanks a lot, ABC: you screwed me up forever!
  • This was a wonderful, smart show that was a real loss when it was cancelled.

    Sports Night was a smart, fast, extremely well written show. It was similiar to other Aaron Sorkin shows in that the writing was quick, dry, and intelligent. I loved the pacing of the dialogue. It was a real loss that it was cancelled before it put in a few mor seasons so we could see it in re-runs.

    Besides great writing, this show was blessed with strong actors who fortunately are finding success in other network shows.

    My only beef with the show was the last couple of episoded were a bit pitiful as the likely cancellation was played out as a story line.
  • The show that launched Aaron Sorkin...

    Sports Night was named the best show you aren't watching by TV Guide. That label was enough to save The Practice, but unfortunately not quite enough to save Sports Night. It like Studio 60 is a show about a show, specifically a sports show. However, it had characters you could really care about. Danny and Casey are Danny and Matt on Studio 60, but without the drugs. It was a show that set a record for dialogue per minute...if you think the Gilmore girls talk fast, you have obviously never heard Jeremy and Natalie have an argument or watched Dana and Casey talk about why they won't work. It was a show filled with sports references, but made accessible to the non-fan. It is hands down my favorite show of all time. And look at what the actors have done since Desperate Housewives (not my cup of tea, but a success), Six Feet Under (Casey all grown up and dark), West Wing, and Numbers. Not a bad resume. I like the fact that Sorkin recycles actors. Most are extremely talented and when I see Peter Krause, I think of Casey McCall...that's how memorable these characters were. It is really too bad, we never got to find out what happened. So many shows run longer than they should. This was one should have run longer than it did.
  • This TV sitcom centers around the anchors, producers, and staff of Sports Night.The Sports Night anchors are Dan Rydell and Casey McCall. Casey's divorce starts to affect and alter his on-air attitude, Dan and Dana try to snap him out of it.

    Sports Night is an amazing season. It’s something that can keep you occupied. I love this because it tells you what happens behind the scenes of a normal broadcast studio. This really is something you have to watch because the friendship between Casey, Dan and Dana. They have such amusing banter between each other that you can’t help but laugh. They want to help each other by looking out for each other. They are willing to give up things so that they can help their friends in anyway. They are selfless and deep down they want to look out for each other.
  • Sports Night never really found its target audience in a big enough way, but those who tuned in found a truly excellent show.

    Sports Night was a failure waiting to happen. The writing was razor-sharp and lightning-quick, the show wasn't really about sports but rather about the people who reported it, and ABC bounced it all over the schedule, filling gaps instead of building an audience, effectively killing it. Too smart for channel-flippers to pick up after five minutes and lost among TV scheduling to its fans, Sports Night serves as an easy example of the ruthless and unfair nature of television scheduling.

    Sports Night revolved around the main staff members of a nightly sports show of the same title. And while newsworthy stories often ocurred in the show, they were rarely the focus of a given episode; when they were, it was because a member of the cast was directly affected. Instead it was always about the characters and the worlds they lived in. Television shows live and die by the quality of their characters, and truly this is what makes Sports Night such a quality show. With Robert Guillaume, Felicity Huffman, Peter Krause, Sabrina Lloyd, Josh Charles, and Joshua Malina holding together the large central cast ably, each character is a fully realised human being, with their own motivations, behaviors, and opinions. And although all but Guillaume's seem to suffer from a vaguely retentive neurosis, the show somehow finds itself able to balance the fever pitch of rapid-fire dialogue with enough heart to keep it from becoming annoying or repetitive. It's easy to see the show sometimes dance the line of overkill, but it's always careful to reign it in before the dialogue turns from friend to foe.

    Sports Night isn't perfect, however; early on, it's a bit overly dramatic. It seems as if Sorkin is swinging for the fences with every episode, trying to make each one laugh-out-loud funny and poignant all at the same time. Later on he settles for longer arcs that feel more natural, using guest roles by William H. Macy, Teri Polo, Ted McGinley and others to freshen the plot lines up some (especially Macy, whose performance is brilliantly understated). Throughout the two seasons that Sports Night ran it was always on the brink of being cancelled (something the show itself alluded to as the nightly sports show within a show was also always in budget and ratings trouble), and although it's easy to be bitter about the show's premature cancellation, the brilliant but underappreciated mini-genre that Sports Night found itself in is rarely afforded 47 episodes. A true television classic, and a pioneer for the ever more popular "dramedy" genre.

    It is worth noting, however, that the DVD collection could have been much better; it's not cleaned up at all and it is somewhat heavily compressed. While this isn't noticeable on normal television sets, Hi-Definition onitors and screens will out some of the transfer issues. There are also absolutely no special features to speak of whatsoever, but the show is good enough that it's worth picking up despite these issues.
  • The best hour long drama was a half hour sitcom.

    I loved this show. I particularly thought it was wonderful back to back with Spin City, but that's another story.

    Here's the deal...ABC messed up big time. They messed up in the same way that NBC messed up with Boomtown and FOX is about to mess up with Arrested Development....But again, beside the point.

    What is the point? The point is that this was a great show. Visually interesting. Aurally stimulating. Funny. Dramatic. Great characters. Definitely some of the best writing I've ever seen (heard) on television.

    And...ABC messed up in the second season by tampering with the show to make it get better ratings. Ratings aren't what makes a show good. What makes a show good is a quality staff and cast. This show had that in droves.

    This was a completely new and interesting take on the workplace comedy. ..but it's creativity and it's quality were it's downfall.

    I'm glad I had the chance to get to know this series (and as I watch through the DVD for the ...well, a relatively high ammount...time, I am reminded again what an amazing show it was.

    Good characters, continuing stories, thought provoking episodes, and good comedy.

    They need more shows like this on television.
  • One of the smartest comedies to ever not make it.

    This show was great. Pure and simple. Smart dialog, smart storyline, great cast. To bad it just shot way over the heads of most of the tv viewing public and got almost no network support/pr. It was also probably cursed by the name as it looked like an actual sports show in the tv guide.
  • Sports Night followed the relationships that existed between coworkers at a fictional TV sports show.

    Sports Night was a show about a sports show that wasn't about sports. Sports Night was about the relationships that existed among the people who worked together on the set of the fictional "Sports Night." The best relationship was between Dan and Casey. Though it had its ups and downs, they were always there for each other. The relationship between Casey and Dana ran along the fine line between love and hate. It would have been interesting to see how they would have ended up if the show continued a few more years. I loved the Jeremy/Natalie storyline. It was so great when he broke up with her, but she refused to be broken up with. The support staff at the station were more than extras. They had lines in most episodes, and occasionally story lines. Isaac kept an eye on everyone, and was the wise father figure that they went to when they needed advice. The obligatory conflict came from the network "axe" that continually hung over their heads. The fictional show was constantly in jeopardy of being cancelled. Likewise the real Sports Night saw the axe fall after only 45 episodes.
  • That show was awesome.

    I would say bring it back but most of the people are working, the one chick is in that desperate house wives, I think a couple are on Left Wing I mean West wing. I loved that show. I was going to school, for broadcasting, around the time when they always replayed it on Comedy Central, back when that station played comedy and not their own political commentary. Yeah they actually had comedy I\'m surprised I remembered it either. I ended up going in General Commnuncations, because of my lack of respect for the media, but this show was really cool, at showing the woile routine they did for a show, and just the way they interacted was great. I always got a laugh from it too. What ever happened to the chick who played Natalie she was hot. This show was great it\'s too bad it\'s not on anymore.
  • Ended before its time

    Sports Night was a wonderful show, and Sorkins best. I loved West Wing, but this is THE show to watch. I was the old editor at so i am a bit biased, but none the less, this show was amazing.

    We were lucky to have it for the 2 seasons on basic cable... today, it would have been on HBO, and being a poor college student, i can't afford it, so i'm sure i miss out on things, but really, shows like this...Veronica Mars, Scrubs and Arrested Development are great shows, and although they do poor in the ratings, are wonderful shows that give me hope about TV...take that all the CSIs and L&Os...

    Good TV is around, you just have to look for it.
  • Sorkin knows what he\'s doing...when will the rest of us catch along?

    Aaron Sorkin proves over and over again that he has a knack for smart television. Sports Night was a brilliant and witty show focusing on the inner workings of a sports news show. As always, Sorkin manages to assemble a stellar cast. Sorkin\'s quick-witted and speedy pace of dialgue put off some people. I for one love that he is raising the bar for television. The show is both hilarious as well as heartfelt. It is so sad that once again a genius of a show is cancelled (Arreseted Development anyone?). Aaron Sorkin always provides a well-execute script, insanely talented actors and avante style of direction. Do yourself a favor and netflix Sports Night if you\'ve never seen it.
  • Aaron Sorkin before the West Wing. Same biting and cutting edge scripting, some of the same hot topics just cut down to twenty five minutes or so.

    Aaron Sorkin is a great writer! Before the West Wing came Sport's Night. It was very similar in style and deserves a much closer look. Same biting and cutting edge scripting, some of the same hot topics just cut down to twenty five minutes or so.

    Think the second season lost a bit of it's edge partly because Sorkin was busy on other projects however there were also rumours that the network was getting nervous with the topics being covered. Rape, drugs and racism were all covered as was network interference is news reporting. Following a similar pattern to the demise of Lou Grant the show went out with the storyline of the show mirroring the internal politics of the Network.
  • Aaron Sorkin before the West Wing. Same biting and cutting edge scripting, some of the same hot topics just cut down to twenty five minutes or so.

    Aaron Sorkin is a great writer! Before the West Wing came Sport's Night. It was very similar in style and deserves a much closer look. Same biting and cutting edge scripting, some of the same hot topics just cut down to twenty five minutes or so.

    Think the second season lost a bit of it's edge partly because Sorkin was busy on other projects however there were also rumours that the network was getting nervous with the topics being covered. Rape, drugs and racism were all covered as was network interference is news reporting. Following a similar pattern to the demise of Lou Grant the show went out with the storyline of the show mirroring the internal politics of the Network.
  • *Sports Night* was a show that I found so close to perfect that it was scary,and I'm not even a sports fan.Every Tuesday Night,these wonderful sportcasters,Danny & Casey,who were more like our best friends than sportscasters,would come through the set to

    I'm a biased Josh Charles fan,but *Sports Night* was a wonderful show....and,it wasn't even the sports that kept us intrigued.It was how well they covered the goings-on in the lives of everyone at the station that really kept us tuned in.And,by the time it went off,we felt like we were friends with everyone.
    We knew Casey's favourite song is *Afternoon Delight* by The Starland Vocal Band.We knew all about Dana's little *Dance of Joy*.We knew how Isaac had missed one of the most famous home runs in history by going to the restroom.And,Natalie and Jeremy were the geeks we wanted as siblings.
    By the time it ended,we were so close to these characters that we felt like they were stealing away our best friends by ending the series.
  • Stupendous show, Sorkin at his best.

    This show was ahead of its time. This was the first show that Sorkin wrote for TV, and easily could have had a West Wing type run, and probably should have had one. This show was the very first of the witty sitcoms. It was well written beyond anything else on TV, and I believe it was just too fast and over the head of most people for that time, and on a major network. If it could have been on a CW, WB type channel it would have lasted and been Gilmore Girls before there was one. One of my very favorites, and it's very missed.
  • The finest half hour of television ever made.

    This show is spectacular. The proof that heaven exists is being able to buy it on DVD. Josh Charles, Peter Krause, Felicity Huffman, Sabrina Lloyd, Robert Guilluame, Joshua Malina…ALL FABULOUS. The acting, writing, casting, direction…ALL FABULOUS. There’s no reason to not get to know this show.

    I suppose the silver lining to this show getting cancelled is that we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy these actors, writers and directors on shows like Desperate Housewives, The West Wing, ED & Six Feet Under. Enjoy.
  • A missed opportunity by HBO from another mistake by ABC.

    This was THE BEST show on TV, bar none, and ABC, just like they did with Monday Night Football, Boston Legal and The Practice, screwed up anything good they've had. Fans of Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, just wait, they'll find a way to screw those shows up and cancel them too.

    I never understand anything ABC does, because like shaping ESPN into a joke, it never makes sense.

    Sports Night was unbelievably briliant, the writing, the acting and cast. Anyone who tells you that it was too fast probably says the same about the West Wing, but ask that person if they liked A Few Good Men. They were all written by the same genius, Aaron Sorkin. If they don't like all three, odds are they aren't very smart and can't keep up with quick wit and a fast pace.
  • More than a decade later I'm writing reviews, complaining about good shows that are canceled because they're too intelligent for the general public and I compare them each to the mother of all criminal cancelations: Sports Night

    I actually saw "Jeremy" on the Series Finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - it was ironic that he'd get a big guest star role in the finale episode. He did an excellent job. Of course Felicity Huffman has done well for herself - and her husband never had a problem. "Dan" has been in a number of things though he hasn't had the success of his desk partner in "6 Feet Under" and other roles. I miss Natalie and of course Robert. If I ever see a copy of the show with the laugh-track - I'll burn it - what a humiliating way to go for a great show.

    SN: RIP
  • Quite simply - the best show ever. Excellent writing, acting, direction.

    Just choosing the classification for Sports Night is tough. "Personal Favorite" or "Absolutely Fabulous" certainly fit. "Underappreciated" is also a big one. Even TV Guide gave it the title of "Best Show You're Not Watching. So what happened? Was it "Ahead of it's time?" Comedy? Drama? Dramedy, even? I loved that you never knew what you were getting. Some episodes had me laughing out loud the entire way through, others had me in tears. Isn't this the mark of a great show? It doesn't have to be one or the other. The audience really connected with the characters. We cared. How many shows nowadays can we say we truly care about these characters?

    A sports show? A show about a television show? A workplace comedy? A relationship comedy? Yes - all of them, and yet none of the above. You didn't have to like sports to enjoy Sports Night. The references were certainly there, but you certainly didn't miss out by not being a jock. The TV references were there, but not so much that it lost the non-techies of us. Maybe we learned a little about ratings! We cared about the relationships, be it Casey and Dana, Natalie and Jeremy, Dan and Rebecca or others - yet those never over rode the premise. The show never became a romantic comedy or tragedy. It kept us on our toes. It kept us smart. Pop culture references were abundant, and Sorkin expected his viewers to be of reasonable intelligence to get half the jokes. Hmmm, maybe this was the problem... Smart shows followed in the same vein and did better; The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, and several others. Perhaps Sports Night helped break ground, if only among critics. They began looking out for more sharply written, well crafted dialogue.

    One thing is for sure, this show bolstered many careers. Had anyone really heard of Peter Krause, Felicity Huffman, Joshua Malina, or even Teri Polo, Brenda Strong or the great Aaron Sorkin before Sports Night hit the screen? No offense to the other cast members, there was no one that was any less fantastic. I am persoanlly a big fan of Josh Charles and am happy to know that he is following his heart on stage. Krause and Huffman each went on to star in their own incredibly successful programs (Six Feet Under, Desperate Housewives). Malina entered the realm of The West Wing as well as landed several leading prime time roles. Ms Strong must have one of the cushiest jobs in TV now as our Housewives narrarator, and Teri Polo has been successful on both the big and small screen since. Sorkin is clearly a love him or hate him kind of writer, but no one can deny the influence that The West Wing has had on television. Some may even suggest that he left Sports Night to flounder because he was concentrating on TWW. Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I am sure that SN gave some the springboard they needed to gaining credibility in Hollywood. The Special Edition 10th Anniversary DVDs come out this fall. I'll be getting mine the day they are available.
  • "Sports Night" was absolutely wonderful!

    I really hated it when Sports Night’s run was over! I guess it was just too good to last!

    Great actors, great chemistry, great writing! The character development was so rich that I actually cared what happened to them. It was getting better with every episode!

    Right after it was over I got my hopes up when I heard that other networks were eager to pick it up. But I understand that Aaron Sorkin had too many irons in the fire to continue the battle to keep this one running. At least some good came from Sports Night’s demise - - one of those irons in the fire was "The West Wing"!

    If you haven't seen Sports Night you should. Get the DVD's and invest the time in watching it. If you like smart, funny TV I think you'll love this show!
  • Sorkin's Masterpiece! I've watched this show 15 times and still can't get enough!

    I'll start off by saying 'I LOVE THIS SHOW!'. Now thats out of the way, what's so great about 'Sports Night'? you might ask. Well it was possibly the most under-rated show of all time. Sorkin's witty dialogue hits the mark every time, whether it be a comdedic, dramatic or romantic moment, the dialogue is always perfect. Sports Night's next biggest asset, is the unbelievable cast it was blessed with, just look at where they are now! Dan and Casey are one of the greatest duo's of all time, their conversations have never failed to entertain me. Dana and Casey (not to be confused with Dan and Casey), the shows main romantic storyline had fantastic chemistry and the fact that it was never resolved bugs me constantly. The rest of the cast all excellent, Jeremy's nerdishness (is that a word???), Isaac's advice, neurotic Natalie, all amazing! The best way to learn about the brilliance of Sports Night is to pick up a DVD and watch it for yourself, trust me you won't regret it!
  • Best of the late 90s

    On Family Guy (a show I generally do not like) they once offered this analysis of Sports Night: "It's too good to be funny." On a certain level, I would have to agree. I don't see this as derogatory, though. Sports Night didn't resort to being "funny" like other sitcoms--it was more like a 30s screwball comedy, with its laughs coming from sharp but flawed characters, funny situations, and recurring gags. To me, it's one of the funniest shows ever made, with gags that can't be fully appreciated until the third or fourth time through the series. It's far more than that, though--it's really a love story about these six people who are so attached to their work they can't get attached to anything else. It's tragic in that sense, but also poignant, because at least they have found something about which to be passionate.

    Sports Night is destined to be compared to The West Wing, but I find Sports Night more compelling--it's less polished, more prototypical, and more felt than its younger sibling. If you like television that adds up to something and actually provokes feeling and thought, this is one to check out.
  • A great comedy / drama about a sports cast group much like sportscenter on ESPN.

    A great comedy / drama about a sports cast group much like sportscenter on ESPN. This was a great show and i would watch it today if they brought it back. Most of the cast has gone on to do big things, six feet under, desperate houswives, the west wing and the like. That plus the very high rating the show has here is proof enough it shouldn't have been canceled. It is my opinion that this is another one of those shows that was hurt by being to "smart" and too hip. many comedies suffer because they will not dumb themselves down to a common or below common ground. Why can't there be TV shows for smart people?
  • An explosive masterpeice cut short before it's chance to shine.

    Sports Night was a thrilling drama, but unfortunately it was canceled. Sports Night offered a deep story in the world that Aaron Sorkin created. It offered witty comedy that was smart, sophisticated but you didn't need to be smart or sophisticated to appreciate this wonderful show. Sports Night offered a level of realism and intelligence rarely seen in a sitcom, Sports Night should have been destined for greatness. Rarely does any show on television, dramas included, engage the viewer in such a way as this one did. Who knows? If Sports Night continued on ABC, would it grow to a huge sucess? And would have been given the recognition it so richly deserves and put up with the other great sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld. But all we can do is wonder.
  • Television comedy at its best

    "Sports Night" is simply one of the best half-hour comedy shows to have ever come out of network television in the US. Beautifully conceived and written by Aaron Sorkin, it is a smart show about interesting, literate, and articulate characters. A show set in the offices of an ESPN-like cable network could easily have been formulaic, crass, and moronic, but instead "Sports Night" is unpredictable, elegant, and intelligent, all without being pretentious or smug. In addition to the wonderful scripts, "Sports Night" has one of the best ensemble casts ever assembled for a half hour of television. Everyone works together with impeccable timing, keeping things going at a rapid pace that never allows ones interests to flag. And it is refreshing to find a show that respects its audience and refuses to pander by slowing things down or over-explaining its plot points, references, etc. It is sad that such a gem should have only run for two seasons, but that short run ensures that the show will never lose its freshness because it never had the chance to get stale.
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