“We’re fun people … I am nothing but fun. For instance, I could say something funny and make you laugh; or, it wouldn’t even have to be funny, it could be serious or personal. See what I’m saying.”
Those fun people are better known as Casey, Dan, Dana, Jeremy and Natalie. And the award winning show on which these characters shined that runs the gamut of those aforementioned emotions (and many more) is called Sports Night.
Buena Vista home video recently released the entire 45-episode series in a special DVD box set just two years after its premature cancellation. The show, which garnered eight nominations, including three Emmy awards, was a big hit with critics but never gained enough of a viewer-base, prompting ABC to pull the plug in 2000.
The six-disc DVD set doesn’t include much in the way of extras, but just letting this brilliant show play out episode after episode is enough to more than fill the appetite of any Sports Night fan.
Sports Night is a comedic and dramatic telling of what happens behind the scenes at the sports network CSC on a daily basis in the realm of a sports news TV show. Essentially, it is the sarcastic wit, emotional roller coaster and overall winning atmosphere that every sports fan hopes occurs on ESPN. But the show is definitely not just for sports fans, though it helps if you are one. The plot lines in each episode, by way of witty humor, match the best of recent TV sitcoms and dramas alike.
Aaron Sorkin, whose current project is The West Wing, and creator, director, producer and writer of Sports Night, churned out interesting segments, one after another during the show’s two seasons. His greatest feat, though, may have been making his unique brand of high-brow humor and droll wittiness play out so well between the show’s characters on-screen. All of these factors helped the cast members gel quickly and sustain the feeling of togetherness throughout the show’s short, but sweet, run.
The eccentric characters each had his or her problems that endeared them to the audience.
Dana (Felicity Huffman) is the controlling and emotionally charged executive producer of the show with a soft spot for the old disco song “My Boogie Shoes.” Her assistant producers are the perpetually nerdy Jeremy (Joshua Malina) and Natalie (Sabrina Lloyd), Dana’s confidant and his girlfriend. Then there are sports anchors Casey McCall and Dan Rydell, the stars of the show — literally and figuratively. Casey (Peter Krause) is the “conversationally anal-retentive” sometimes morally inclined senior anchor. Dan (Josh Charles) is his quick-witted partner who provides constant comic relief with his wry humor and an endless array of hilarious speeches.
Dan: “Do me a favor and make sure you tell your friends that you had a good time being here (on the show) tonight.”
Female Anchor: “Which friends?”
Dan: “The girls.”
Female Anchor: “Which girls?”
Dan: “The girls in Danny’s world of fantasy and psychosis.”
Sports Night‘s main ingredients — the uncomfortable tension and blown opportunities that forecast Dana and Casey’s possible relationship along with the comedic fluidity between Casey and Dan — are mixed from show to show with an array of characters and circumstances that ultimately form a truly exceptional series. A pleasant departure from the usual sitcom and a unique look at the world of sportscasting, Sports Night is indeed unforgettable.
Contact Nick Margiasso at email@example.com