Last week I was able to get the full series of “Sports Night” on DVD. It’s a 6 DVD set with the pilot, first and second seasons on it. I remember watching it when it was airing normally and becoming completely sucked in to it. It wasn’t a comedy and it wasn’t a drama. Unfortunately many of the episodes had a laugh track that ruins some of the pacing and subtlety of the writing and later episodes were thankfully free of the canned laughter.
“Sports Night” was a series created by Aaron Sorkin before “The West Wing.” It was odd in that it was a half-hour “dramadey” which had elements of a sitcom and drama in the shorter slot. With a great ensemble cast and rapid-fire dialogue, it is clear that CBS didn’t really know what to do with it. The show was a critical hit, but I remember that it was hard to find it with a time slot that changed and a sporadic airing and a slow decision not to renew the show. The DVD falls into the category of corporate tolerance in that it crams 45 episodes onto 6 discs, which means that the are fairly highly compressed with a bit of a loss of the visual quality. There are also no special features, but the episodes themselves are great. I’d put it in the same category as “Monkeybone”, “Ghost World”, “The Guru”, and “Mr. Show” in that they stretch beyond easy categories and you have to look around to find them. Now I have to find the time to dip in and keep watching all of the episodes… all 22 1/2 hours of them!