|Date(s):||September 22, 1998 - May 16, 2000|
|Country of Origin:||United States|
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Sports Night is a half-hour dramedy about a sports news show (also called Sports Night). The show was character-driven, centering around the two anchors, Dan Rydell and Casey McCall, with a strong supporting cast that made the show into an ensemble.
Created and to a large extent written by Aaron Sorkin, it has many of the trademarks of other Sorkin-created shows: scripts with rapid fire, often witty, dialogue; a strong ensemble cast; the use of many "walk and talk" tracking shots that explore the fictional space and increase the onscreen movement of the characters; a core relationship between the two main male leads that is long-standing, complicated, and very close.
Sports Night was a critical success, but suffered from low ratings and poor marketing. After ABC cancelled the show, Sorkin made no real attempt to keep it alive on a different network, preferring to focus on The West Wing instead. This sparked some bitterness among Sports Night fans, who felt that their show had been orphaned by its creator.
The show has been available on DVD since 2002, and is occasionally rerun on tv, both in the US and elsewhere (e.g., Australia and the UK).
Dan/Casey are the dominant slash pairing of the fandom; certain episodes, most notably "Thespis" and "April is the Cruelest Month", lend this relationship an almost-canon credibility. Both have also been slashed with Jeremy, and with a variety of original male characters. In addition to the vast preponderance of slash, Sports Night fandom has produced a fair amount of gen fic, as well as het fic referencing the canon pairings of Casey and Dana, Jeremy and Natalie, and Dan and Rebecca, and also non-canon pairings such as Dan and Natalie. Femslash for the series in general focuses on Dana/Natalie. There is a trend in the fanfiction to stylistically mirror the show's writing, with the result that Sports Night stories often have a lot of dialogue. Some are nothing but dialogue, essentially written in script form. Others are more traditionally written and focus on the spirit of the show rather than attempting to mimic Sorkinesque speech patterns.
Perhaps because of the small number of sets and relative lack of action, there are very few SN vids, either gen, het or slash. One example is Goodnight, Hollywood Boulevard, by Barkley. The summary says it's about Dan, Casey, and a bit of Dana.
History of the Fandom
While the show was on the air in its first run, the fandom was not large, but it was active and prolific. Fan discussion and fanfiction posting took place on eGroups mailing lists, which eventually moved to Yahoo!; there were both slash and general lists. Slashsn was started in January 2000 and moderated by Mona Ramsey, with Cori Lannam stepping in later as the new moderator.
Cori also acted as the archivist on the Sports Night Archive, which was located on Trickster. Although an excellent and comprehensive resource, this site was plagued by server difficulties throughout its life. The archive was substantially revamped and improved in October 2000. In early 2003, the site went down. On February 14, 2004, a 'grand re-opening' of the archive was announced. On January 5, 2005, a message was posted to slashsn stating that trickster.org had gone down and the archive would shortly be moved. It has never been resurrected, although random pages can sometimes be found via The Wayback Machine.
Similarly, Our Boys was set up as an archive and recommendation site for fanfiction for both of Aaron Sorkin's shows (Sports Night & The West Wing), and some works from the early years of Sorkinfic were archived exclusively there. Unfortunately again, this archive went down in 2008 when the domain name lapsed, and the files were lost, although some can be recovered via archive.org's Wayback Machine.
In the early '00s, Sports Night fandom emerged on Livejournal, with the creation of communities such as inthetallgrass (May 2003), for Sports Night, West Wing, and more recently, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip fanfic, and sn100 (August 2003, created by michellek), for weekly (or bi-weekly) drabble prompts and posts. In October 2005, in an attempt to create a Livejournal-based alternative to the missing Trickster archive, snarchive was created
Currently, In The Tall Grass and The Sports Night Fanfiction Archive are the primary archives of Sports Night fiction, though much of what was archived in the Slash Archive and Our Boys came and went prior to the creation of this LJ community and are therefore lost to the ages. Older fanfiction can, with a little effort, be found in old posts on the Yahoo list.
- Ubivis and Roar, Roar, the Thunder and the Roar by bj
- Two-Player Game by Bone
- Seeing the Future and Fall by Candle Beck
- Djibouti by Caroline and Fox
- Up Where the Air is Clear, A Voice in the Wilderness; SN GraFix by catwalksalone
- Fair Trade, Gynecology, Visual Aid by Charlemagne
- Dancing on Glass, by Em Brunson (remains unfinished)
- Unspoken, The Call of the Wild and Semaphore by Helen (these are the only Sports Night fics by this author) 
- Echoes (a Sports Night/The West Wing crossover), Crashing, A Better Writer For It by Anna-Maria Jennings
- The Possibility of a World, Even Sugar Peas Run Out of Snap by k
- Painting Shadows, Catching Light by Kristophine
- We Disappoint, They Disapprove, The Beautiful South, Every Day a Little Death, I Will Be With You Again by A S Lawrence
- Evening the Keel, The Llama Series by laylee
- Chains That Define Who I Am, MiniSN by lordessrenegade
- The Fog's Lifting, Seven Stories About Dan Rydell, Four of Which are True by Luna
- Kickoff, by Merry
- Like Sailing and Home Runs, Not Homophobic by out_there
- This Year's Prom Theme by Pares
- Weekend by Raietta
- Where Have You Gone, Tom Glavine?, by Sabine
- Decatur, by Scrunchy
- The First Move, The Memory of Hurts by Sinead 
- Friday Night, by Te
- Our Boys List archive link "Meet the sister mailing list to the Our Boys archive/recommendations site. I'm Sabine, and I'll be your listmom for the duration. Come visit at http://www.grapefruithead.com/ourboys if you're not sure what this craziness is all about."
- slashsn archive link "To discuss the inherently slashy properties of the tv show "Sports Night", to drool over Dan and Casey and Josh and Peter (and everyone else on the show), to post slash fanfic, and to de-stress after the show airs. There's already lots of het-centric SN lists out there (and more power to 'em, the show needs all the support it can get), so let's have a good and slashy one! Discussion, fanfic, and what-have-you allowed, including discussion of other projects the SN folks are/have been involved with, especially if you've a slash-eye's view."
- fandom overview on crack_van written by hyperfocused
- fandom overview on newbieguide written by hermitsoul
- sn_updates -- a Sports Night newsletter, posted to LJ each Sunday.
References & Notes
- "Dramedy -- The TV IV". Link accessed January, 2009
- Goodnight, Hollywood Boulevard at Barkley's vid site, accessed November 12, 2008.
- slashsn Yahoo!group, Sports Night Fanfiction Yahoo!group Last accessed October, 2008.
- Email from Mona as slashsn-owner as of January 20, 2000; email announcing Cori as new moderator on August 31, 2000. Slashsn Yahoo!group Accessed October, 2008
- inthetallgrass community profile.
- sn100 community profile.
- snarchive community profile.
- Two-Player Game by Bone.
- Djibouti at Fox's squidge.org website. Djibouti at Caroline's old tripod website (archive link).
- SN fic index for catwalksalone.
- Charlemagne's (Synchronik's) fanfiction site; the Sports Night stories are at the bottom of the page. (Accessed April 2009.)
- Helen's Sports Night fanfiction page. (Accessed 3 April 2010)
- k's Sports Night fanfiction page. (Accessed April 2009.)
- Fic page for A. S. Lawrence (phoebesmum).
- Fic list for laylee.
- MiniSN profile.
- lordessrenegade's fic page.
- Kickoff by Merry.
- AO3 Profile for out_there.
- This Year's Prom Theme by Pares.
- Where Have You Gone, Tom Glavine? by Sab
- Decatur by Scrunchy.
- sinead's fiction on A03. (Accessed April 2009.)
- Friday Night by Te.