Sorkin Speculation: Revisited

Tuesday 24 January, 2012

On this date last year, I blogged about Aaron Sorkin’s news that he had written the pilot of a new show and was in the casting process. I then went on to speculate who might be casted into the show.

Well, since then, an explosion of new information came to light in the middle of December! There was nothing much beforehand, and nothing else since, but the information we now have, is enough to be going on with. Unfortunately, none of my speculated actors are on the cast list (yet) so I got that one (Or three, rather) wrong.

It’s exactly the premise Sorkin talked about on the news last year. Behind The Scenes Of A Show-within-a-show, like Sports Night and. to an extent, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip.

Surprisingly, or at least it is to me anyway, Jeff Daniels, of all people, is the star of the show! He’ll be playing the Main Character, Will – Who is The Anchor of the News Show. So basically he’s the Casey, for fellow Sports Night Fan’s Comparisons. He does like to recycle those names, doesn’t he? Was there a Will in Studio 60? I don’t think there was, was there?

Well, you know what they say, where there’s a Will, there’s a way. Studio 60 didn’t have a Will, I don’t think, so that’s probably why it got cancelled. No Way for it to be successful. Such a shame, I loved that show!

Anyway. Alongside Jeff Daniels will be Emily Mortimer, who I first recognise as being from Disney’s The Kid, and then also from The 51st State. Jane Fonda is a bizarre casting choice but I’ll save my comments until after I see the show. She’ll be playing the CEO of the Parent Company. There’s also a few actors name’s that I don’t recognise and then one that I am more surprised to read about than I was with Jeff Daniels. Sam Waterston!

He’ll be playing President of the News Network, Charlie Skinner. I think that will make him the Isaac Jaffe of the show, under the power of Jane Fonda’s Luther Sachs, for a Sports Night Comparison.

I am very shocked but quite looking forward to seeing Sam Waterston in this latest Sorkin show. Sam Waterston seems like a very serious television actor, and Sorkin has this talent for making drama and subtle comedy blend together that I can’t actually imagine what this show is going to be like anymore. It not only speaks volumes of the quality Sorkin wishes to uphold with this show, but also what the Network Executives expect from him. You don’t just put Sam Waterston in a show that you expect to flop. And lets face it, Sorkin doesn’t have the best track records with these kind of shows.

I blame the Networks. Sorkin doesn’t have the best personality in the world but he knows how to make a show and how to get the best out of his cast. The Network’s never seem to know how to deal with the kind of outcomes they have to deal with when it comes to him.

But back to the show and Sam Waterston. Here’s why it’s especially delightful for me to see Sam Waterston in a Sorkin Show, other than it’s Sam Waterston and he’s a bloody good actor. He is James Waterston’s Father. James Waterston played Gerard Pitts in Dead Poets Society. Josh Charles, who played Dan Rydell in Sports Night, played Knox Overstreet in Dead Poets Society. And last but not least, an episode of The West Wing, called Two Cathedrals, had parts that were filmed at the same school Dead Poets Society was filmed.

My mind is just one Undirected Labelled Graph when it comes to Sorkin, Dead Poets Society and, though I haven’t mentioned it, House.

In Short, Sorkin is going to be working with the father of an actor, who worked on a film with another actor, whose biggest role since that film was probably Sport’s Night. Complicated and Simple at the same time.

Anyway, back to the show! It’s scheduled to start showing in the US in the summer of this here 2012. Only god knows when us Brits will get it. Right now, it has a preliminary 10 episode run and anymore will be down to test screenings and viewer ratings.

I really hope this hits the television like The West Wing. They were fools to cancel Sports Night and Studio 60, they had so much potential for a five year run each. I don’t think Sorkin could take another “failure” in that style.

Hopefully Sorkin has found a working line and is aiming for it, because as good as his shows are, they’re no good if they get cancelled due to communication problems with the networks.

A very small snippet of the show can be found in the HBO trailer for 2012 here and more information about the show in general can be found on it’s Wiki page here.

I really can not wait to see this show! Here’s hoping us Brits aren’t left waiting for too long after the US airdate!

Busted: 2002 – 2005

Saturday 14 January, 2012

Seven years ago today, the hearts of many teenages and teenie-boppers alike were left broken and shattered by the terrible news of Busted’s break up.

Jesus. That was seven years ago? That’s almost ten years! I was at 6th form College when they broke up.
…This train of thought makes me feel old. Let’s get back on track.

Yes. The split up of Busted. Britain’s number one boyband that was bringing back the instruments back to the pop charts. Came to an end because of what’s since been revealed as tension in the band between members Charlie and James, with the artist-formally-known-as Matty Jay caught in the middle.

I’ll be honest, I was a huge fan of Busted when they first released What I Go To School For, but by the time they split up, I was finding their teeny-bopper pop appeal unbearable. Thunderbirds Are Go, for example, is worlds away from Year 3000, Sleeping With The Lights on and even Crashed The Wedding. And apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

If what has been said is to be believed (consistency is a muddled game of He Said, He Said) then that’s exactly what caused the tension in the band in the first place. Charlie hated the “pop shit”. So much so, I don’t even think he liked Busted’s better songs.
Now, seven years on, Charlie is the front man to Fightstar, and a solo artist. When you listen to the songs he’s written since leaving Busted, you can understand why he was so frustrated with Busted’s overall sound, and you can actually tell which Busted songs Charlie managed to get involved with.

A couple of years ago, I was on a forum when Fightstar were doing a live forum chat. I asked three questions which were along the lines of this:

1) Are you free to be as progressive as you like, or do you still have to work within marketable limitations?

2) What venues would you most like to play?

3) Do you still face the post-Busted fan feedback? For example, the positive of widening old busted fans genre horizons vs the negative of those who still compare Fightstar to Busted?

I didn’t think I’d get any answers. It wasn’t as insane as some life forum chats, but the thread was very busy by their standards and the forum was struggling to stay afloat with in ratio page loads and extra refreshes. I especially wasn’t really fussed on that last question, but so many other people were talking about influences and future plans without mentioning Busted that I thought, why not! In my eyes, Busted was a starting point in it’s own way.

That was the only question of mine which got an answer. Omar, Fightstar’s lovely, lovely drummer answered it with basically this:

People who still compare Busted and Fightstar need to stop living in the past. Fightstar is different and they’re uncomparable now for various reasons.

He’s right, of course. But there’s one thing I’d like to say in reply to that answer, and it’s not to cause an argument, just to share an opinion…

Would Fightstar be as good, involve all the people it involves, even have the name they do, if it weren’t for Charlie’s desperation at that exact time and place to do something better, more fulfilling for him, than Busted?

And that’s all I’m going to say about Fightstar. I’d hate for it to appear as though I am not a fan. I am. I’ve even seen them live!

James Bourne, then. What’s he upto? Well, there was Son of Dork for a while. They ended in a spectacular fashion… Then he was a touring solo artist, which I think went well, but I didn’t see him, nobody I know went to see him so it’s a bit like that old Tree in a Forest situation. Was there any impact?

There were rumours of a Matt/James Busted Revival, but that didn’t happen… It might happen in the future but I’m not convinced.

And now… James Bourne has written a musical. I’ll be honest, I had no idea about it until The-Artist-Formally-Known-as Matty Jay retweeted a tweet from James about it.

From what I’ve read up about it, it’s based on Son of Dork’s album “Welcome To Loserville”, about a teenager called Michael Dork who is bullied for being a social outcast in a very Stereotypical Americanised Way and wants to leave his home town for greener pastures. Then he meets the girl of his dreams and decides he wants to stay.

It sounds like Wizard of Oz meets Back to the Future and Napoleon Dynamite with just a hint of lemon Problem Child.

I’m amazed and befuddled at the same time. He makes it hard to admit that he was twice my favourite member of Busted because of the arrogance that sometimes shows through when he plays the Blame Game but at the same time, he’s just written a musical that makes references to either classic 80s/90s films or films which reference the classic.80s/90s films.

And then there’s The-Artist-formally-known-as Matty Jay. He is now known as Matt Willis, which is his real surname. I’ve never figured out why he went by the name of Matty Jay in the Busted days. It might forever remain a mystery.

He is doing ridiculously well for himself! He was in the jungle a few years ago, he cleaned up his act when his drinking got a bit out of hand, he is happily married with two children and, and! He has a career in acting in West End Musicals.

That’s why I’m not convinced there’ll be a Two-Man Busted Revival. Matt might still have love for the (good) Busted days and want the chance to sing the music again, but he has a wonderful career and he seems pretty happy with it. It would be more of a step backwards, surely, to try and recreate something which can’t actually be recreated to the exact.

James might find Busted to be better without Charlie, but to follow it through might seem more like a gloating parade than a celebration of the music they once produced. More importantly, would the fans want to listen to Busted without Charlie? They broke up instead of carrying on back in 2005 because they said the three of them Were Busted. Going on without Charlie would be out of the question.

What would have changed? Time healing wounds? Water under the bridge settled? Or a sea of jealousy sparking James to try and show Charlie exactly what he’d be missing should Busted2 hit all the right marks?

Seven years on and it feels like James Bourne could still be setting himself up for the same recipe for disaster.

Of course, ruling out a Busted Revival doesn’t mean them working together in some way is impossible or implausible. Think about it: James has written a musical.

Matt acts in Musicals.

Matt might act in James’s musical.

Yeah… They’ve come a long way in seven years (some a longer way than others…) And I hope they continue to be successful over the next lot of seven years, and more. I can’t begrudge them all for moving on to bigger and better things when it makes them happy.