Critics who drooled over "Friday Night Lights" might want to take a deep breath before getting too excited about the show's renewal, lest anyone forget what happened to "Boomtown" a few years ago.
So before NBC starts waxing eloquent about its new shows, two parting thoughts about series introduced last fall:
NBC picked up the series for a second season, but also forced changes that essentially gutted the ambitious narrative structure of the cop drama. It was quickly gone in year two. Still, "Friday Night" fans would doubtless be willing to allow at least for some modest tinkering if it will help market the series, so here's a minor alteration: Given all the hand-wringing about the title (What? It's on what night?), perhaps a new name might work that would help bring in male viewers and play up the fun-loving girl power aspects of the series.
So far, I've come up with "Lyla & Tyra: Pillow Fight," but I'm open to suggestions.
Part II: OK, so "Studio 60's" dead. Let the gloating over the body begin.
Aaron Sorkin's backstage comedy-drama never lived up to the hype that surrounded its pilot, yet nor was the series the disaster one might have assumed based on the Internet sniping that the NBC series endured.
Yes, Sorkin has a tendency to preach at the audience, to have his characters launch into disjointed diatribes about whatever subject happened to be on his mind that week, whether it's the FCC meddling in TV content or the risks of media consolidation. That is, however, part of his charm, and whatever his excesses, very few writers in any medium have produced dialogue with the kind of snap-crackle-pop that "The West Wing" creator has manufactured.
NBC can't be faulted for axing the show, but it's a good bet that while it's replacement won't be as annoying, it won't be nearly as smart, either -- a commodity that's always in too-rare supply on TV.
By the way, I'll be posting observations about the upfront presentations throughout the week ("I'm here all week! Be sure and tip your waitress!"), so thanks to Cynthia for loaning me the real estate. She bears no responsibility for my ramblings, so don't blame her.
Oh, and as a farewell tribute to "Studio 60," as I write this, I'm briskly walking down a hallway.
-- Brian Lowry