Sports Night

ABC (ended 2000)





Sports Night Fan Reviews (40)

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out of 10
769 votes
  • 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.
  • *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.
  • SportsNight was one of the first sitcoms to veer off the path. Unforutnately, it was so far off the path that not enough people saw it. What's left is hindsight that clearly shows the great writing the show had and the cast which made the show so specia

    Sports Night was Aaron Sorkin's great achievement before anyone had ever heard of West Wing. Sports Night provided a window into the world of the ESPN news room with fast-paced scripts and humour that referenced everything you could imagine. It has the witty banter of Gilmore Girls, the comedic pairing of two male friends of Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place, and the brilliance of shows that come along rarely, if ever.

    Although it's a real shame this show was cancelled, the short run also meant that Sports Night never faltered and never had a chance to lose its lustre.

    What remains is a painfully useless boxed DVD set with no extras and a cast that has spread out and joined new, more successful shows:

    Six Feet Under
    West Wing
    Desperate Housewives

    Hopefully, Sports Night will always be around in one form or another. If you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth the effort and money for the Complete Series on DVD.
  • In my opinion the BEST show of all time!

    This show is always funny. I have the DVD box set and I watch it whenever I feel down or just want to laugh. I make sure everyone I know watches it. And the first episode is very very funny and it only get's better and better with ever episode... I sometimes find it hard to stop watching once I start... I love this show... my only complaint is that there are not any more episdoes!
  • A show that was one of the funniest, smartest, and underappreciated shows on television.

    Sports Night was without a doubt one of the best shows on television. It was hilarious, with moments that would make you laugh out loud. The thing about Sports Night was that the humor was so quick and so smart that the average viewer who tuned in looking for a generic comedy with fart jokes and stupid humor was extremely dissapointed and stopped watching. Unfortunately that turned out to be a lot of people. The show was too smart to be on television, where people weren't able to appreciate it, much like Arrested Development is now. People cannot seem to recognize a wonderful cast that clicks on all levels, great dialogue full of quick witted humor, and a truly wonderful show. So while we are left with the memory of this show (and the DVD set) lets all hope that shows like this can be accepted soon!
  • It was a sad day when this great show left the air.

    It was a very sad day when Sports Night was canceled, even though the last Third of Season 2 kinda hinted at it, the finaly gave a glimer of light that it might not leave for good, just the summer. Sports Night was one of the best shows to ever go on air, because it was a "light drama", "a clever sit-com", and a pretty acurite account of what it is to work with a tight group of people. I say the last part because alot of people just work in an office or something enclosed, but when you have to work everyday with alot of people, such as jornilism, or health care you become pretty tight with your cowokers. And there is always two of them dating or a will-they-wont-they type of realationship. This show also had one of the best line up of cast, and for the most part they have gone on to bigger and better things, but any time i see one of them on "Desperate Housewife", "Six Feet Under", "West Wing", or "Num3rs" just to name a few, I get a little smile on my face cause I know that they were once on one of the greatest shows ever, even if it was only one for two great seasons.

    "Quote Nevermore"
  • 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.
  • Perfection.

    This is the only show I will ever grant a score of 10. It was perfect in every detail: writing, acting, execution... well, not so much in the execution. ABC pulled it from Sweeps, not allowing it to build an audience.

    Back to the positive. I have never cared so much about one group of characters. Each actor was perfect (I think I\\\'m gonna wear out that word) for their role. The characters displayed charm and wit. But they were also flawed, which only made them more lovable.

    I challenge you to watch \\\"The Apology\\\" or \\\"Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee\\\" or \\\"Eli\\\'s Coming\\\" or \\\"Cliff Gardner\\\" or \\\"The Cutman Cometh\\\" and see for yourself that this was the best show television has ever broadcast. It was ... perfect.
  • Great show and way underrated.

    I never really watched the show while it was on primetime. I only remember seeing a few episodes. One day, while at a store, I happened to pick up the complete series on DVD. I\'m glad I did. This show is one of the greatest shows I have ever seen. The show ended way before it should have. Some people might be scared off by the title, because of sports, but that only made up a fraction of the show. Most of the shows dealt with the funny and interesting relationships between the various cast members. I know there is no chance of this happening, but I wish someone could bring the show back. 10 out of 10.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sports Night was a glimpse at the anchors/crew of a Sports News program (Surprised, right?) created by West Wing's Aaron Sorkin. Excellently written, cast, and acted, it suffered from an unusual pacing which, once you got used to it, made it wonderful. To

    I'd like to say that this show, like so many others I've found highly entertaining, wasn't given a good chance by the networks. In this case, though, it was given a particularly good spot on Tuesday nights immediately before the then very popular NYPD Blue. I pondered this, and finally figured it out. A mixture of (mostly) light comedy and drama, it had a very odd comic timing to it, and that made it such that you had to give it a chance to grow on you. While many did, it wasn't enough for ABC, given the time slot, and they killed it at the end of its second season.

    The show was excellently cast, exceedingly well written, and unique in venue. Even if you weren't all that interested in sports (and I'm not, for the most part) the quality and nature of the characters were such that you understood their love for sports even if you did not share it directly.

    The central notion is the lives and cares of the anchors and crew of the third-place cable sports network. The people are close, almost family, and there are the two anchors (Josh Charles/Peter Krause) as competing brothers, the big sister producer (Felicity Huffman), the gung-ho little sister(Sabrina Lloyd) as assistant producer, the nerdy brother(Joshua Malina) fact checker, and the patriarch who holds it all together, played excellently by Robert Guillaume (Guillaume suffered a serious stroke during the show, which was used as part of the story arc, and, when he came back, his visible struggles to regain full function were real).

    In addition to big name Guillaume, you will recognize a number of the other cast members -- Josh Charles was Knox Overstreet on Dead Poet's Society and numerous movies, Felicity Huffman now stars on Desperate Housewives, Sabrina Lloyd was on Sliders and now appears in Numb3ers. Joshua Malina is a regular on Sorkin's West Wing. Peter Krause is on HBO's Six Feet Under. Even the semi-supporting Teri Polo was the title heroine of ABC's short-lived I'm With Her. In addition, the second season includes an excellent 5-episode performance by the extremely talented William H. Macy (Main Street, Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) as a ratings specialist brought in to help improve the network's bottom line before someone pulls the plug.

    You'll note, perhaps, that I haven't said an awful lot in description of the show itself. Well, that's because it's not really easy to describe beyond the terms I've used. It's fairly unique in both form and style. Even the comic timing is oddly different, and it does take some getting used to (I think 5 to 6 episodes). I still consider it one of the top 5 shows I've ever seen, and found its demise to be quite a disappointment.

    Despite the fact that the final season ends with a number of threads unfinished, it's still well worth the time and effort to buy, rent, or find.
  • 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.
  • A behind the scenes look at the inner workings of a national sports tv station.

    It was an absolute shame when this show was cancelled. This had the best writing on tv at the time. Too bad the writer was doing West Wing also. I know he had to make a choice...but I personally wish he would have saved this show. Great cast selection, they played very well off of each other. Just goes to show how good the actors were...most of them showed up on West Wing anyway. The pilot show has to be the best episode. Besides introducing us to the major characters, The hiring of Jeremy was great. Still a shame that this show died before its time.
  • Great, witty and just plain original.

    This show was one of the best. Ever episode was clever and original and was funny as well. No studio audience when it was taped but that's what made it so great. Catching reruns on tv now sucks a bit because they added the dreadful laugh track to each episode.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Ranks with Seinfeld as the best of sitcoms while being completely orginal. Perfectly constructed, highly literate stories about very interesting people.

    A completely orginal gathering of characters in the most unlikely of settings. Sorkin's writing quickly vests us in these characters and their universal trials and tribulations. His accomplisments in West Wing overshadow Sports Night but the writing is every bit as good with real wit used creating the humor. It is the finest ensemble cast this side of Seinfeld.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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