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Sports Night: The 10th Anniversary Edition

by admin September 30, 2008 12:12 pm
Sports Night: The 10th Anniversary Edition

Finally! A Sports Night DVD collection that does the series justice. The 10th Anniversary Edition (out today) has all the extras the previous set sorely lacked (commentaries, gag reels) and comes with a whole bunch more (an explanation of the universally loathed laugh track, for starters) that actually make the act of ponying up the dough for a second set worth it for the hardcore SC devotee. As a longtime rabid fan of the show, I for one couldn't think of anything else I would have added to this set, other than Felicity Huffman commentaries, but, you know, she's busy being famous, and that's not their fault. Let's get into the extras!

Looking Back with Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme
This is a lengthy interview with the two brains behind the show, intercut with Dan and Casey scenes, I guess to draw a comparison between the two friendships. They talk about their partnership, mutual admiration, how they never fight, and explain the laugh track (it was the network's fault!), among other things. The laugh track gets explained about a hundred times throughout these extras, so if it's been keeping you up nights for the past 10 years, you will finally be able to sleep after this, I assure you.

Gag Reels
There are two of these, and they really are a joy. This looks like the most fun anyone's ever had making a television show in the history of television shows, plus Peter Krause prances around the set in leopard print spandex, apparently just for giggles.

Episode Commentaries
There are a bunch of these, and Sorkin, Schlamme, and pretty much the entire cast (with the exception of Huffman and Robert Guillaume) participate. Highlights I heard: Sorkin and Peter Krause used to bartend together in NYC with Camryn Manheim, of all people; Joshua Malina's nickname is "Gollum," hilariously; and the crew members Dan and Casey thanked on the air in the Christmas episode were the show's real crew, adorably. The laugh track is also explained in these, and much lamented by both the cast and crew whenever it's heard.

Inside the Locker Room
This is the technical featurette, which explains how the hell they managed to go back and forth between steadicam, 3-camera set-ups, crane shots, and all the other impossibly complicated camera-work that went into the show, and it really isn't an overstatement to say this series changed the half-hour sitcom forever with its innovations. Actors and numerous directors also comment on the challenges of reciting several minutes of rapid dialogue in one long take without screwing it up, which is something near to splitting the atom, from the sounds of it.

Face Off: SportsCenter vs. Sports Night
This is exactly what it sounds like! A compare-and-contrast of ESPN's SportsCenter and the Sorkin-verse of Sports Night. The best part of this is that the real guy who Jeremy's character is based on is interviewed and is a huge fan of the show and also still at SportsCenter, pretty much running the joint now. A lot of ESPN staffers and anchors are interviewed, and they're all pretty interesting, actually.

Original Promos
These are funny and charming, and I can't believe they didn't inspire more people to tune in.

The Show
This is a series of interviews with the cast (Huffman and Guillaume do appear here), the producers and Sorkin about how the show came to be, how it was made, and what it means to them. Robert Guillaume's stroke and how the decision to write it into the show was made is explained in detail, and, I shit you not, Peter Krause gets choked up when interviewed about it. It's endlessly endearing. There's also a clip of a video Sorkin and Schlamme made for Guillaume while he was recuperating, joking about all the actors they were going to get to replace him ("How about Ben Vereen? He could be like a singing, dancing boss!" "How about Wilford Brimley? He could get a tan for it!"), which was hilarious and also crocodile tear-inducingly poignant, just like the show itself.

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