Best of the Small Screen, Comedies No. 1


Over the next 11 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today I continue with my favorite TV comedy of all time.

Sports Night (1998-2000)
Numbers of Seasons/Episodes: 2/45
Network: ABC
Starring: Josh Charles, Peter Krause, Felicity Huffman, Joshua Malina, Sabrina Lloyd, and Robert Guillaume
Creator: Aaron Sorkin
Favorite Season/Episodes: Season one, 1.02 "The Apology," 1.07 "Dear Louise," "2.03 "Sam Gardner," 2.11 "And the Cutman Cometh," 2.22 "Quo Vadmis"
About: Aaron Sorkin is known for his TV work, specifically his great hit "The West Wing," which will appear in the next 10 weeks when I focus on drama. But his first network show was actually a little comedy for ABC that was set behind the scenes of a show that looks an awful lot like "SportsCenter." I've mentioned before that sitcoms aren't my favorite format. But this show was made for me. High brow dialogue and something mimicking ESPN, sold. But the show was even better than the premise made it seem. Sadly, it got lost in the shuffle. This could easily have been part of the first list, of shows that were gone too soon, but it's my favorite comedy so I moved it here. Plus, at two full network seasons, it got more than 40 episodes to live on. I love the writing, the characters, the pace, and the humor here. I wish the show had continued longer, but I'll always treasure the two seasons we got, and I encourage everyone to check this show out if you've never seen it. I've listed a few of the episodes that are my favorites. "The Apology" was just the second episode of the show, and could have fallen into cliches, but I love the story Dan (Charles) tells at the end. It stirred me, and is one of the reasons I fell in love with the show so quickly. "Dear Louise" is funny, sweet, and creative. In the second season, "Sam Gardner" introduces the network consultant played by William H. Macy, and does so in a rousing way. "And the Cutman Cometh" is one of the funnier episodes of the series. And "Quo Vadmis," which ends up serving as the series finale, ends things on a high note. But, really, there isn't a bad episode in the bunch. It consistently stirs me and makes me laugh, which is why "Sports Night" is my favorite comedy.

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