The Newsroom is the latest HBO TV offering from Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, The Social Network, Moneyball) and stars an ensemble cast including Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Jane Fonda and Sam Waterston.
Daniels plays anchor Will McAvoy, who, together with his staff set out to put on a news show “in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles and their own personal entanglements.”
Sorkin described The Newsroom as
an idealistic, romantic, swashbuckling, sometimes comedic but very optimistic, upward-looking look at a group of people who are often looked at cynically. The same as with The West Wing, where ordinarily in popular culture our leaders are portrayed either as Machiavellian or dumb; I wanted to do something different and show a highly competent group of people.
Each episode is built around a major news event from the recent past, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill or the killing of Osama Bin Laden. This reality acts as a background for the interpersonal drama, as well as providing a sense of familiarity, as we’re more likely to know what’s going on and therefore the show doesn’t need to spend time explaining sometimes complex plots.
If you loved the West Wing, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this. The chemistry between the cast is superb, especially with Daniels and Mortimer, playing ex-lovers, now colleagues. The ensemble brought together works well, with characterisations being formed pretty rapidly.
Using past, real news stories works so well. It gives you a familiarity with the world, a foot already in the door to their world. A position of power of the characters where you know whats going to happen (at least in the news story) but are eager to find out how the team deal with it. The show sometimes does fall on the side of sentimentality, but this is quickly forgiven with strong dialogue and fantastic performances.
By the end of episode 1 I was hooked, and now with only 3 more to go to the finale, I’m feeling that bittersweet pleasure of needing to watch more but knowing that the ned is in sight and I’ll have to wait until next year for more.
Here’s one of the standout scenes from episode 4, the shooting of Gabrielle Gifford, and how the team hold off calling the Congresswoman’s death (unlike many of the other stations) until they receive full confirmation (contains strong language). Stunning TV.
I can’t recommend this show enough. Season 1 consisted of 1o episodes, with a second season being commissioned shortly after the first episode was aired. Season 2 is due in 2013 and will more than likely cover the 2012 US Presidential Election.
The Newsroom has been shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK, HBO in the US and SoHo in Australia.