Sports Night

ABC (ended 2000)





Sports Night Fan Reviews (40)

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  • 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.
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