Volume 1, Issue 1
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SEASON 1
Pilot
Next Question
Game Time
Technical Corrections
Human Error

   
The Sterling Review - Pilot
By Johnny Betts

Episode: Pilot
Rating: 8.1
Share: 14.0
Timeslot Ranking: 1st
Overall Ranking: 29th

Mister Sterling Cake It's official! The first episode of "Mister Sterling" was a hit! It won it's timeslot, easily beating "48 Hours" which had a 6.5 rating and a 12 share. Mister Sterling's 8.1 rating means that it was watched by about 8,642,700 households. That's pretty good for a Friday night. The 14 share indicates that 14% of all TV sets in use were tuned in to Mister Sterling. It finished 29th overall in the rankings, just behind "Crossing Jordan" and just ahead of "8 Simple Rules." Just think how well it could do on a better night in a better time slot.

I haven't seen many ads this week (mainly because I haven't watched much NBC), but I can just picture their new ad campaigns:

"The people have voted, and Mister Sterling is a winner!"
"Mister Sterling is the people's choice."
"The votes have been cast and Mister Sterling wins in a landslide.

Am I close? Anyway, let's get to the review.

Mister Sterling Mister Sterling. We start off with some news reports about the death of Senator Bailey. Dude died of a heart attack. Apparently he'd been under a lot of stress recently due to several scandal investigations. Personally I think he had a heart attack while watching Tony Danza perform as "Italian Ice" on the People's Choice Awards. WAY TO GO TONY! WHAT WOULD ANGELA THINK ABOUT THIS?!?!?!

Governor Marino (not Dan) is doing what most politicians do (sleeping in his chair with his mouth open and not doing any real work) when he gets a call from his son to check out the news. The governor is pretty happy about Senator Bailey's death. Goodness, wipe the smile off your face, dude, SOMEONE JUST DIED!

The governor decides not to name his son as a replacement for the Senator because that'd just be too big of a scandal. So he and his staff start going through a list of possible replacements. None seem to fit the bill of "Mr. Clean." They see Governor Sterling's name on the list, but since he's about 107 years old they decide he won't work. Some guy we'll probably never see again recalls that Sterling had a son, a junior. Perfect! He was a District Attorney and attended Yale Law. He's not political, but he volunteered for Dukakis in '88. Volunteered for Dukakis? Man, this really is fictional!

When one of the staff members asks what ol' Wild Bill Sterling is doing now we head over to a prison where the inimitable JOSH BROLIN is laying the verbal smack down on some prisoner who didn't do his homework. Sterling tells the guy if he wants to make something of himself then he has gotta do the work, blah blah blah. The prisoner agrees to do it. Riiiiiiiight. The real reason he agreed is because he remembers Josh from "The Young Riders" and knows that he might be a criminal, but he's no match for Wild Bill Hickok.

As Bill tries to teach Geometry, his girlfriend (Angela) comes in and announces that the governor is there and wants to see him. Bill shows us that he takes orders from NO ONE and the governor will just have to wait an extra ten minutes until the class is over. BOOYA! Go Bill! Stick it to the governor!

Bill meets with the governor. The governor wants everybody to leave, but Bill wants Angela to stay. Bill reveals that he graduates about 15 prisoners a year, and the governor says he has an offer that will allow him to help a lot more people than that.

After the meeting, Angela tells Bill that the only reason he wanted her there was because the governor wanted her to leave. Angela seems to think Mister Sterling has a "power thing" issue to deal with. Bill's all "Whatever, come hook up with me at my nice beach house later, right now I'm hopping on my motorcycle to show everybody how cool I am."

Let's head on over to Mister Sterling's massive beach front house. Man, either Bill's gettin' some massive coin to teach high school at prison or he wisely invested the money he made as a district attorney because those California beach houses aren't cheap.

Bill's sitting at a table doing something intelligent-looking when Angela comes in and says she'd take the Senate job in a second. Oh I'm sorry Angela, but there's this little thing that people have that I like to refer to as a soul, and MAYBE SOME PEOPLE AREN'T AS QUICK AS YOU TO SELL THEIRS TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER!!!!! Ever thought about that?!?!

Naturally, Bill has his doubts because he hates politics. Plus, who'd take over his position at the prison high school? And would he and Angela be able to manage a long-distance relationship? They act like they can. They talk about how many recesses he'd have. Man, sounds like politicians get as much time off as teachers (no offense to teachers). Bill wonders if Angela would respect a guy whose time off is called "recess." Haha. I'm just curious, who'd want to give up a plush job like teaching high school in prison? I think that's the real question that needs to be addressed.

Angela talks about how he could get the money for his replacement in about "a minute" and could get her some school computers. Um, how naive is this chick? I doubt many rookie politicians are able to use their position to fund a bunch of pet projects. Why doesn't Angela suggest he use his new power to get the money for a new roof and a paint job? Maybe get that new surfboard he's had his eye on.

Bill's still hesitant. After all, his father only took him for a walk on the beach once, and that was for a campaign commercial. His dad never had time for the things that really matter. Angela tells him to go talk to his dad, so Bill hops on his motorcycle and takes off.

Daddy Sterling Bill gets to his father's house. He doesn't see dear old dad immediately, but he does see a bunch of newspapers lying around. A few seconds later out comes ... LLOYD BRIDGES?!?!?! I thought he was dead! Holy cow, HE'S SWERVED US ALL!!!!!! Lloyd Bridges is alive and starring as Bill Sterling's 107-year-old grandfather!

Oh wait, I've just been told that this is James Whitmore, and he's actually playing Mister Sterling's FATHER. Man, I guess he must've been about 60 when Bill was born. That tennis ball-soled walker he's stumbling around with doesn't make him look any younger.

Daddy Sterling is watching the news. Apparently he's interested in who the governor will name as Senator Bailey's replacement. He assumes he'll pull a rabbit out of his hat. Oh, he'll pull something out of somewhere; politicians are experts at that. Daddy Sterling's curious as to why Bill has come to see him. Bill announces that HE has been offered the job. Can a governor really do that? I guess it's possible, but it just seems weird that he could appoint ANYONE he wanted to a senator seat. Oh well, this is TV, and this is fiction, so we'll go with the flow.

Daddy Sterling thinks this is a brilliant move. The Sterling name gives young Bill a built-in approval rating. Bill doesn't really like getting a job based on his name though. He's not keen on having a high approval rating that he didn't earn. Daddy Sterling cops a little attitude and says Bill didn't seem to mind his name when he got a job at the DA office.

Bill doesn't appreciate that, "I EARNED that job!" Yeah Bill! Put daddy in his place! Tip over his walker also! THAT'LL TEACH HIM TO TAKE YOUR ABILITIES LIGHTLY! Seriously, Daddy Sterling needs to cool it. He should respect his son for wanting to prove himself.

Daddy Sterling softens a little and tells Bill that he didn't get offered the job just because of his name. He's a fresh face, and he's strong in education and crime - two of the most important issues. And he earned that without daddy's help. Old Man Sterling thinks this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and Bill should take it. After all, they don't call the Senate the most exclusive club in the country for nothing.

The problem is that Bill doesn't like clubs or politics. You see, he never wanted to be a politician. His dad was a lifetime politician, so did Bill really go visit his dad to see if he'd turn into him? There's only one way to find out...

Mister Sterling has agreed to the job! How big of a swerve would it have been if Bill had turned down the job and kept teaching at the prison high school? Sure, it would've killed the premise of the show, but the producers would've gotten a good laugh at how they fooled the audience.

So let's see, Bill's having a cup of coffee in Washington and he's trying to read about himself in the newspaper, but he's being bombarded by a bunch of people giving him their business cards. He's soon approached by lobbyist Tate Donovan (Jennifer Aniston's old boyfriend). Tate shakes Bill's hand and acts like they're good friends. He seems to be a pretty smart lobbyist. Since he's not throwing his business card around people will think he and Sterling go way back. For some reason Bob Ueker is watching the conversation. Seriously, the dude looks just like Bob Ueker.

Bill puts a stop to all this when he tells Tate that he doesn't care to share coffee with him. Ohhhhh, FACE! You go Bill! Stick it to the lobbyist! Tate leaves and everybody stares at Bill. I think they all just remembered that he was "Wild Bill" Hickok on "The Young Riders." That's cool of them to remember.

Here comes Arthur, the former Chief of Staff for Senator Bailey. He's basically a weasel. Didn't seem too broken up over Bailey's death. It's time for them to leave and get down to business. I like how Bill automatically assumes he's supposed to get in the limo, but the CoS (my initials for "Chief of Staff," creative, huh?) informs him that Senators don't ride in limos. They take a cab.

As they get in the cab, a cute little reporter for Roll Call (Laura Chandler) wants to ask Bill a few questions. "Are you tired of being referred to as 'Barbra Streisand's stepson?'" "What was your dad thinking???" "Can I call you 'Wild Bill' Sterling?" You know, the usual suspects.

Laura Chandler But the CoS rushes Sterling off and leaves the reporter in the dust. Some of you may or may not know, but Laura Chandler is played by Chandra West. She appeared on the very first episode of C.S.I. as a rookie criminalist. I figured she was going to be a regular and was pretty shocked when she was shot in the first episode and then announced dead in the second episode. I know these things because C.S.I. is the best first-run show currently on TV. Plus, my head is filled with all sorts of meaningless info. If you've read my Rider Reviews then you know what I'm talking about.

Arthur the mean CoS informs Bill that there are ways to have a good time in town, but reporters are off-limits. Riiiiiiiiight. That pretty much guarantees that Sterling's gonna hook up with Laura Chandler. I'll be shocked if it doesn't happen.

I like how Sterling writes a check for Arthur the mean CoS to give to Tate Donovan. Bill doesn't want a lobbyist paying for his first meal in Washington. You go Bill Sterling! Stick it to the man! Arthur tries to convince Bill not to make a big deal out of this, but Bill pretty much says "Up yours" and Arthur agrees to take care of it as he crumples the check and puts it in his pocket. I have a feeling ol' Arthur will be taken care of soon enough.

Bill asks how he could get money for a new teacher and get some computers, but Arthur doesn't know anything about getting real stuff done. All he can do is brag about being the biggest fundraiser in the Senate. Sterling's not impressed. He doesn't care about fund-raising you see.

Ah, look, Mister Sterling's office. It's a little nicer than the cozy cubicle I spend my days in. In comes Jackie Brock. She's the press secretary. Sterling mentions that he wants to answer some questions for Roll Call; he felt they were a little rude to the cute reporter chick. Enter Leon Montero. He's a housemate of Laura's, and he said he'll smooth things over with her. Apparently she's a "researcher" and not a "reporter." I could lower the standards of this review and start saying things like, "Laura can research me ANYTIME, and I'll REPORT the results later, know what I'm saying???" but I refuse to do that. I refuse to use such immature humor as a crutch for my reviews. I will rise above, and I will be bigger than that.

Arthur says that Leon runs the mail room, but Leon is obviously one who wants people to think he's important. He claims he's actually the Director of Data Management. In other words, he enters a bunch of stuff into databases. Leon's a scrawny little guy. You know, he reminds me a little of Gregg Rainwater (Buck Cross from "The Young Riders"). He looks and sounds a little like Gregg sans the long hair. He even has the non-existent chest that Gregg had back in his YR days.

Peon Bill smiles at Leon, obviously amused at his attempts to sound bigger than he is. Leon has some potential to provide comic relief. He's a peon who desperately wants to earn a big reputation. He even refers to "his" staff. Turns out it's actually three clerks and three interns, and it's MISTER STERLING'S STAFF! Not yours, Peon. And please writers, SPARE US THE INTERN CONTROVERSIES! Thank you. If anybody cares, and I doubt you do, Peon is played by former "Six Feet Under" actor David Norona.

Peon gives Bill the daily constituent summary, and thus begins one of the more annoying parts of the episode. Sterling looks at the numbers regarding the capital gains tax cut. It seems like the majority is for it. Sterling says that after reading the Wall Street Journal article he's undecided.

Jackie acts like he just announced that he advocates feeding little ghetto black babies to lions in order to help families get off welfare quicker. She says that if the capital gains tax cut was passed they'd have to cut $12 billion in spending. She then claims that the first place they try to cut spending is Medicare. She then proceeds to flush all credibility down the toilet when she says the "real question" is how much do you want to cut spending for the elderly. Sterling doesn't, so Jackie says that means he just moved out of the "undecided" category then.

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease! I'm sorry, but it's just not that simple. She's making too many assumptions. Wouldn't it be better for Bill to try to find other areas to cut spending rather than just abandoning the tax cut completely? Medicare is the only place to cut spending? Riiiiight. Sorry, but she needs to sell that someplace else because I ain't buying it. How about cutting those millions of dollars that are spent trying to determine how dangerous cow flatulence is to the environment? And would someone care to explain to me why $1 billion is being spent to research poverty??? Hmmm, HOW ABOUT SPENDING THAT $1 BILLION TO COMBAT POVERTY?!?!?!?! Don't really need to do much research on it, especially not $1 billion worth.

Come on Bill, don't be naive! Don't fall for Jackie's spin! You're smart enough to know it's not that cut and dry! Ask for specifics! Tell her you want to find other areas of spending to cut! STAND UP AND BE A MAN! So what's Bill's response to Jackie saying he just moved out of the "undecided" category?

Mister Sterling: I guess so.

Sigh. Well, at least we know Bill's not flawless. He's obviously a little naive. Hopefully he'll learn to not be so trusting.

Bill and Arthur agree that Jackie is good. Not really. Good at being a spinstress maybe. Good at making a lot of assumptions. Good at not dealing with all the facts. But Arthur says Bill's gonna have to fire her. She's great at what she does, but she's been the public face of scandal for the past couple of years. Uh-oh, we've got ... DUHN DUHN DUHN ... TENSION!

Jackie Brock I guess I should point out that Jackie Brock is played by three-time Tony Award Winner Audra McDonald. I will also take the time to point out that my sister's name is Audra. My sister, however, is white. Ms. McDonald is reportedly a very good singer. Please writers, I'm begging you, let's not throw in a little Cop Rock and have Jackie start doing song and dance numbers on the Senate floor.

IT'S THE DAD FROM "BOY MEETS WORLD"!!!!!!!!!!! You remember that show, don't you? It was the one that starred Fred Savage's little brother, Ben. You do remember Fred Savage, right? He was Kevin on "The Wonder Years." Anyway, the "Boy Meets World" dad has apparently changed his name to Tommy Doyle and found a new job. He's the legislative director. Or to throw a little senator slang down on ya he's the "leg director." That's pronounced "ledge." Now you can walk around at work or school using the term "ledge director" and your friends and peers will think you're really cool. They'll also be embarrassed at how much more hip you are than they are.

Doyle's tie's a little crooked, his mouth is wide open, and he looks like he might be a little drunk. Is he related to the Kennedy's? Bwahahaha, I crack myself up. I'll try to limit my Kennedy jokes to two per review. It'll be hard, but I'll do my best.

Just a quick note, Tommy Doyle is played by William Russ who also appeared in a Young Riders episode with Josh. He's also married to Clare Wren who played Rachel on TYR for two seasons. It's all full circle, baby. Man, you see how much meaningless information I can retain? I really need to find a way to use this power for good.

Bill has two important meetings today. One with the Chair of Finance and one with the Chair of Appropriations. Doyle gives him some index cards of what to say to both of them. The index cards say the same thing. So why not just give Mister Sterling ONE card? THERE'S SPENDING THAT COULD BE CUT RIGHT THERE! AT LEAST 5 CENTS COULD'VE BEEN SAVED ON THAT EXTRA INDEX CARD! These things add up. Up yours, Jackie, there ARE other areas to cut spending and I just proved it.

Apparently everything goes through these two committees. According to Doyle, "That's where the money is." Seems like that phrase was used by a famous bank robber once when he was asked why he robbed banks. In a funny scene, Bill and Tommy stop and try to remember which bank robber said it. Arthur the mean CoS isn't very interested though. He's a stodgy mean guy, so he tells them to come on.

Bill asks Doyle about getting $38,000 and 15 computers. Bill was able to afford that nice beach home while only making $38K? Like I said, he must've made a good deal of money as a DA. Or Daddy Sterling had a guilty conscience and thought a nice beach house would smooth things over with Billy boy. Doyle's a little surprised that he wants the money for only one teacher, that makes the proceedings a little harder. He said they can try to tuck it into some education bill and they can have the money in a year. Efficient.

While Bill's trying to find out how to get on the finance committee, the finance chair takes a call from the President. I bet it was just his mom calling, and he thought he'd act like it was the President just to impress the rookie senator. Sorry, Mr. Chairman, but nobody's buying it!

So basically the only way for Bill to get on the finance committee is for someone to die or get defeated. In the meantime, he is not supposed to offer any amendments to the chairman's bills, he is to vote for all the chairman's bills, and he should never surprise the chairman. You know, I really don't see our Mister Sterling adhering to those rules. I see a surprise or two in the future.

Sterling's on his way to meet with the chair of the Appropriations committee. Arthur tells him not to ask for money for the school; he'll be laughed at. Bill doesn't seem too concerned at being laughed at. Is that STROM THURMOND?!?! I think Strom Thurmond is playing Chairman Morris!!!! Seriously, the guy's OLD. He also tells the young Sterling to never surprise him. Yeah, I guess so; chances are it'd cause a heart attack.

Bill mentions the school money, but Strom just laughs. I can't verify this because "Mister Sterling" isn't listed on IMDb yet, but I think Chairman Morris is played by the guy who was Robert the Bruce's leprous-looking father on "Braveheart." I'm almost certain of it.

Arthur wants to know how everything went. He's not thrilled that Bill asked about the school money. Uh-oh, there's Tate Donovan. Bill asks for his check so he can go deliver it personally. When Arthur hands him the wadded up check, Bill realizes he wasn't going to give it to Tate. After Bill delivers the check he comes back and fires Arthur on the spot. BOOYA! That was pretty cool. You go Bill, STICK IT TO THE MEAN COS GUY! Bill and Jackie head to the Senate floor.

Mister Sterling's sworn into office. Looks like all of America is watching - his girlfriend and the prisoners, Ty Miller, his dad, etc, etc.

The cute reporter chick catches up with Bill and calls out, "Senator Sterling!" to which Bill kind of laughs and says, "I guess so." Laura confirms his address and then asks, "Are you a Democrat?" Bill simply answers, "No." Ooooooooooooooooh! Things are getting stirred up now!

This, of course, is all over the news, and all the Democrats are in panic mode. Dems are leading the Senate, everybody assumed he was a Dem, how will this shake things up? Jackie is apparently upset about it. She storms into his office and starts asking him a bunch of questions to see where he stands politically. Most of his answers lean toward the Democratic side of the aisle, but I like when she asks him what his position is on the environment. He says he likes it, hahaha. She then asks what he thinks about drilling in Alaska. He thinks it's better than drilling on the California coast. Good answer.

Jackie's surprised that no one asked if he was a Democrat, and Bill says no one EVER has.

In the meantime, Laura is promoted from researcher to reporter, and the finance chairman is upset about this latest revelation.

Tommy Doyle Not as upset as Tommy Doyle though. He storms into Sterling's office and hands in his letter of resignation. He then goes on this rant about how he is a Democrat and he works for ALL Democrats - liberal, conservative, moderate, northern, southern, eastern, western, Hawaiian. It's in his blood. What about Democrats who drunkenly drive their car off a bridge, leave a girl in the car to die, and then pay off the girl's family to prevent them from pursuing legal action? Let me check his record - yep, Tommy supports Ted Kennedy also! Thank you, thank you, that's my second Kennedy joke of the review.

Looks like Tommy is sort of a blindly loyal James Carville type guy. Just not as annoying, and he doesn't look as much like an alien as Carville does.

As Bill tries to respond he gets a call from his girlfriend and explains what's going on. It seems he's not having too much fun on his first day. Jackie rushes in and says they have to do a press conference. Bill wants her to handle it, but she says she's the wrong person for the job because of all the recent scandals. So Bill fires her and then immediately hires her as his Chief of Staff. Man, he's having one productive day!

Major Dad BOOYA! IT'S MAJOR DAD! Or Rick Simon, whichever you know him as. Gerald McRaney is Bert Gammel, the Republican leader. He seems to be a good-natured Southern boy, and he's here to try to convince Bill to join the Republicans. He's going to try to make him an offer he can't refuse, and Bill tells him to give it his best shot.

Apparently it was a pretty great offer. Major Dad offered him positions on the two best committees. The Majority leader's CoS calls and talks to Jackie. He wants to know what's going on, does Bill Sterling think he can march in and put a gun to their heads???? IS HE OUT OF HIS MIND?!?!?! As Jackie said, "Well, kind of, yeah." She's off to meet with the Maj leader's CoS in the Senate gift shop. That way there won't be any witnesses, only tourists.

Bill's trying to find Doyle's office, but he keeps getting interrupted. He takes a call from his dad who is having lots of fun and enjoying all that's happening. He was proud of ol' "Billy boy" when he took the oath. Bill asks for some advice. And what does the aged, experienced old fart tell him? "Make 'em sweat." Deep Thoughts, by William Sterling, Sr.

Peon stops Bill and assures him that he may be Laura's housemate, but he didn't divulge any information to her. Bill believes him; tells him not to worry about it. Peon wants to know if he's really an independent. No Peon, he just said that to get a whole bunch of press and publicity. He's gonna have a press conference later today where he'll look in the camera, point, and yell, "GOTCHA!" Bill says yes, he is, and Peon thinks that's cool. The TV pundits are criticizing Bill, calling him a snake in the grass, but he's doing well in the polls.

Bill almost reaches Tommy's office when Jackie intercepts him. The Majority leader wants to meet with Bill, and the entire legislative staff, or as I like to call them - the "ledge staff," turned in resignations. As for Jackie, she claims being a Dem isn't as religious to her as it is to Tommy. In other words, she wants to keep makin' that Washington money. However, she wonders if Bill knows what he's doing. Or is this just a roller coaster ride that's gonna make everybody look like idiots? Hey Jackie, I think the former scandal-plagued Senator Bailey already took care of that. What do you have to lose?

Tommy's packing up his office. "Willie Sutton," says Mister Sterling. That's the name of the bank robber they were talking about earlier. Tommy just pouts and avoids the small talk as much as possible. Bill wants to know what he can do to make Tommy stay. Tommy's answer? He wants Bill to ignore who he really is and say he's a Democrat. Bill stands his ground and says he isn't. He doesn't see much difference in the party labels. He sees Louisiana Democrats who are more conservative than New Jersey Republicans and he wonders what the labels really mean.

Uh-oh, preachy mode coming. Tommy says that maybe if he tried to make a living on minimum wage then he'd believe in the Democratic party. Bill puts him in his place and says maybe he grew up too close to the Democratic party. Oooooooh. So it looks like Tommy lives by the "only Democrats are for the poor" theory. I wonder how big Tommy's house is?

Bill says he didn't plan this. Then he says he agrees with the Dems on about half the issues he knows anything about. So does that mean he agrees with Republicans on the other half? It'll be very interesting to see if they explore the Republican issues he agrees with. I want to see some further tension between him and Tommy.

The bottom line is Mister Sterling has a hand to play, and he's gonna play it. He just hopes he can do something that will make a difference.

All right, now we're ready for the big meeting. The Strom Thurmond guy tells Bill that they're working on the money needed for the teacher and computers and they should be able to take care of that today. Weeeeeeeeell, isn't it cute how fast things in Washington can get done when people are scared of losing their power???

Hahaha, I love how Bill says, "Uh-huh," in a "That's fine and dandy, but I hope there's more," sort of way. After some small talk (want some coffee? how's your father?) the Majority leader says they're willing to match the Republican offer. They'll give him a seat on the Appropriations Committee, and he'll get the next opening on the Finance Committee.

When Bill asks if that's it, the Majority leader again mentions the money for the school. Bill gets up to leave. Hahaha, I love it! That's just not a serious enough offer for Bill, so the Majority leader asks him what he wants.

He wants a seat on both committees NOW, and he can do that if the Majority leader gives up his seat. The Maj leader hems and haws a little about how the Maj leader always has a seat. The Finance chairman says that's just a tradition, it's not really a rule. If he doesn't give Bill what he wants he'll still have a seat on the Appropriations Committee, but he won't be Majority leader anymore. Strom Thurmond comments that they won't be chairmen anymore either. Bill then plays a little hardball and asks the Majority leader if he could count on Dan and Roger voting for him as Minority leader after losing their chairmen positions because of him.

The Maj leader jumps up and starts yelling that Bill can't just come in here and dictate ... before he can finish the Finance chair tells him to sit down. If he wants to keep his office, then he'll give Bill what he wants. Bill smirks a little bit. For someone who hates politics so much, he sure is learning fast how to actually play the game!

The Maj leader says it's a deal, and they all shake hands. Bill, as per Jackie's advice, says they should go ahead and announce it to the press.

At the press conference, Bill starts answering questions. He'll remain an independent, but for the time being he'll support the current Senate leadership. We'll see how long that lasts.

Jackie talks to Tommy on a cell phone. Tommy's starting to unpack, but he wonders what they're getting themselves into. Jackie doesn't really know, but she thinks it's gonna be a wild ride. The end.

It was a good episode. I don't agree with a lot of Mister Sterling's political ideas, but Josh Brolin is excellent in this role. He brings the right amount of humor, intensity, and "I'm not gonna take your crap" attitude to the role.

As for the other characters, well, none of them really grabbed me, so the jury is still out. I'll give them more time. I like Gerald McRaney's role, and I hope we see more of him. Jackie? Whatever. I read a review that said the show would be better if she was the main character. Riiiiiight. I wouldn't watch the show if that were the case. Some people are really hyping her up, but so far she hasn't blown me away.

She doesn't flub any lines or do a terrible acting job, it's just there's nothing special about her. She's a little high-strung, but she hasn't done anything yet to stand out. Same with Tommy Doyle. Granted, he hasn't had enough room to do much yet. Peon looks like he may provide some good comic relief. James Whitmore seems a bit old to be Bill's dad, but he was fine in his role.

The main problem is that there aren't any cool, eccentric characters like there was on the Young Riders. Characters like Teaspoon and Cody that really had clear and unique personalities. But like I said, it's only one episode, so I'll wait and see where the characters go from here. Maybe Graham Greene will bring a little eccentricity in episode 2.

Oh yeah, Laura Chandler, the reporter chick. I know a lot of female Josh Brolin fans don't like her, and they want her to stay away from him, but I think she's cute! In fact, I think she's cute enough to plug her official website. I'm hoping Chandra West will somehow come across this review and send me an email to thank me for my kind words. "You're dreaming, Johnny!" Yeah, well at least I dream big. And I predict that Laura and Bill will get together in some fashion. It may only be a spontaneous kiss, but we'll see some heat somewhere down the road.

The show has some interesting potential. I wish they would've made either Jackie's character or Tommy's character a die-hard Republican. It would've been interesting to see ideological opposites working so closely to Mister Sterling. That could've provided some great tension. But I think we'll get plenty of that anyway.

Overall I'm happy with the show's start. It's much better (and less self-congratulatory) than The West Wing, and I'll take Josh Brolin over Afro Sheen any day. This is a good role for Josh, and he plays the no-nonsense character perfectly. The show is doing better than most expected. I hope this leads to bigger and better movie roles for Josh in the future. Keep it up, Mister Sterling! Don't let up now.

The New Mister Sterling Ad "So Johnny, will you be doing more reviews of 'Mister Sterling'?" Good question. We'll see. My real bread and butter will always be the Rider Reviews, but if I get enough positive feedback from the Sterling Reviews then I just might keep going. After all, if the show continues to be a success then I plan on riding the coattails of that success. As more and more people turn into fans and start doing Internet searches for "Mister Sterling," more and more people will find my reviews. Pretty soon I'll be contacted by NBC to guest star on an episode, and Josh himself will want to meet me and maybe shoot some hoops. This is gonna be awesome. Like I said, I dream big.

So send me an email and let me know what you think. It'll be interesting to see what the newcomers have to say. Give me your praise or your criticism; I can take whatever's thrown at me.

In the immortal words of Bob Seger, "Dreams die hard and we watch them erode."

This is Johnny Betts, and remember, this has been my opinion, you could be wrong.

Thanks to the NBC Mister Sterling page for most the pics.
Copyright 2002 Madlib Productions, All Rights Reserved

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