One of the newer additions to the ICPL Movie/Television collection is the short lived ABC series Sports Night, which originally aired in 1998-2000. Sports Night is a behind the scenes look at what it takes to produce a nightly sports news program, coincidentally called Sports Night.
Staring Felicity Huffman, Josh Charles, Peter Kraus, and Joshua Malina, Sports Night isn’t actually about sports. It’s about sports-journalism. About what it’s like to produce a nightly sports news show. The focus is actually on the people it takes to make a nightly TV show work. The writers, producers, researchers and interview subjects. It’s sports, it’s television and it’s comedy too.
Unfortunately, Sports Night received little support from its parent network ABC, and thus only ran for two years. But it was beloved by a strange hard core audience of sports fans and journalism geeks. (I can say that because I was one of those geeks!) And we have eagerly awaited it’s release on DVD.
I have to admit, it’s easier to watch on DVD than it was when it was originally broadcast. Each episode is fast paced and plot dense. They covered a lot of ground in 30 minutes each week, and I now find myself backing up and watching some scenes a second time to catch it all.
And there’s another reason Sports Night is easier to watch in 2009 then it was 10 years ago – we’ve all gotten used to that fast pace and style of television.
Why would I say that?
Sports Night was created by Aaron Sorkin, and the next series he created (during the final season of Sports Night) will go down in history as one of the most watched series of all times. You may have seen it.. it was called The West Wing.
If you liked the pace and depth of The West Wing, and are a fan of late night sports news shows, give Sports Night a try. You’ll really be glad you did.