Here’s the situation.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, an NBC show that concerns a fictional late-night TV show at a fictional network, has a stellar cast, great writing, excellent provenance, and slices of some of the best TV of the year. And yet, despite all that, seems to be floundering. It just doesn’t hold together, and if it continues like this, it might not last until Christmas. Maybe Sports Night plus The West Wing isn’t actually a good idea?
Meanwhile, 30 Rock, an NBC show that concerns a fictional late-night show at an actual network, with a rag-tag cast that includes Alec Baldwin, seems like a show that should fail — a Saturday Night Live spin-off that should see Tine Fey, actor/writer of the moment, finally fail. And yet its debut episode had an odd brilliance, and there’s a remote chance it might be the next Seinfeld.
Meanwhile, Saturday Night Live itself, an actual NBC show actually at NBC, two episodes into this season has failed to produce a single sketch that’s anywhere near funny. It’s not that they’re aiming too high, or too low: they’re just not aiming. Everything dies. And the cast seems to know it.