After watching the first episode of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," I think that the critics who have proclaimed it the best new show of the season may not be far off the mark. It has an interesting premise (the goings-on behind a semi-fictional "Saturday Night Live" type of show), excellent writing, and great acting.
But from a theological standpoint, it also offers promise. Not the promise of "Touched by an Angel" type preaching, but the promise of provocative, nuanced, and challenging exploration of the role of religion in American (and Hollywood) culture. The pilot episode revolves around a censor's decision to forbid the airing of a skit on the late night variety show. The title of the skit? "Crazy Christians."
Matthew Perry plays the newly re-hired headwriter who penned the controversial skit. His comments throughout the show reveal him to be fairly antagonistic towards Christians as a rule. What saves this from becoming another example of Hollywood's irreligion is the revelation that his ex-girlfriend, who also happens to be the star of the show, is a devout Christian. That she was in favor of airing the skit shows that this will not be a simple pro-Christian/anti-Christian debate. Rather the interplay between these two characters will no doubt provide many intriguing layers to explore. As Linda Richman might say, "Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic. Christians are neither crazy nor sane. Discuss."