'Sports Night's' 15th Anniversary: The 5 Best Moments
September 22nd, 2013 12:05pm EDT
15 years ago today, there was Sports Night. There were many things about this classic show to love, but in honor of today's anniversary, BFTV has compiled our 5 best moments from our favorite TV series, in the order that they aired. Read on to see if yours made the list. (And if you missed it, you can also read our retrospective on Sports Night by clicking here.)
1. Ntozake Nelson (from "Pilot")
From the very beginning, Sports Night established itself as a show that was going to move us. The pilot included the story of Ntozake Nelson, a South African distance runner who's competing internationally - after previously having both his legs broken and being told he'd never walk normally again. The end of the episode, where the entire staff gathers to watch Nelson race, is a thing of beauty that will have you cheering and crying at the same time. With that final scene, Sports Night put us on notice that it was going to be a TV show like no other. Click above to watch the pilot and enjoy it for yourself.
2. Dan's apology (from "The Apology")
In "The Apology," Dan Rydell (Josh Charles) is made to issue an on-air apology after remarks he made in a magazine interview upset the network. Originally resistant to the idea, he eventually does as he's told, but he's not apologizing to the network. Instead, his words are directed at his younger brother, Sam, whose death Dan still feels responsible for. It's a heartwrenching monologue, delivered flawlessly by Charles, who essentially breaks down his character in mere minutes. It's this scene that made us love Dan, and take notice of Charles' truly underappreciated talent, not to mention changed our lives, too. Click above to see it for yourself.
3. Isaac's editorial (from "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee")
The legendary Robert Guillaume played Isaac Jaffee, Sports Night's managing editor, and he had quite a few of the show's best moments. The first came in "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee," where a young African-American college football player named Roland Shepard causes a stir by refusing to play because his university still flies the Confederate flag. Dan wants Isaac to say something about the controversy, but it's dangerous ground, because the CEO of the network's parent company is a major donor to the school in question. In the end, Isaac goes on the air with an editorial comment, and challenges the CEO to take a stand. Click above to watch the monologue.
4. Casey and Dana's kiss (from "Special Powers")
These days, office romances are on every TV show, but other shows wish they could do them as well as Sports Night did. It was established early on that Casey McCall (Peter Krause) and Dana Whitaker (Felicity Huffman) belonged together, but it took until the second season premiere for anything to really happen between them. In "Special Powers," after several failed attempts to ask Dana out, Casey finally summons up his courage and kisses her like the world is ending. It was the perfect payoff, leaving us cheering when it happened. Click above to watch the full episode, and enjoy.
5. Sam Donovan's speech (from "Cliff Gardner")
Also in season two, Isaac enlisted the help of a ratings consultant to boost the show's profile and keep the network at bay. That was Sam Donovan (played by Huffman's real-life husband, William H. Macy), who wasn't exactly the friendliest guy in the world. We weren't quite sure if we liked him at first. At least, not until this speech, where he laid down the law for a trio of meddling network executives by teaching them a little something about the history of television. You can watch the whole scene above, and TV geeks should keep their eyes open for future White Collar star Tim DeKay as one of the suits Sam so deftly dismisses.
There are countless other great bits that didn't make this list, but that just speaks to how wonderful a show we're celebrating today. Thanks to the entire cast and crew of Sports Night for a series that still ranks at the top of our list 15 years later; you've provided us so many moments that we still remember.
If you haven't seen it for yourself yet, Sports Night is currently reairing on FXX; check your local listings for specific channel and airtimes.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.
Photo Credits: ABC