Aaron Sorkin, big man with little glasses, continued his quest to retroactively ruin your enjoyment of The West Wing at a Writers Guild panel Monday, where he said that this week's controversial Newsroom—the one with the almost universally hated campus rape subplot—was the first "really good" episode of the show.
The Newsroom's timeline, which trails along just behind the present day, has finally caught up with last year's Boston Marathon bombing. In the season premiere, Will McAvoy and friends turned their Sorkin-given powers of razor-sharp righteousness toward Reddit's botched online hunt for the bombers.
Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs biopic steered right into the rocks last week when Social Network director David Fincher dropped the project because Sony reportedly wouldn't meet his demands for a $10 million paycheck. Fincher's first (and only) choice to play the Apple founder was Christian Bale—so who's going to fill that Jobs-shaped hole?
Authenticity, good acting, sharp dialogue and good, fast-moving storytelling are the hallmarks of this hour, created and written by Aaron Sorkin. This week’s seemed to whiz by faster than any other I can remember in the now almost two seasons that the series has been running. A good sign that the show is going to finish strong when the current season ends next week. (It already has been renewed for a 3rd season; by any reasonable analysis, it richly deserves to stay on the schedule.)
Climax time for the series thus far. The ACN network and its news operation—despite reservations—went ahead with a report that U.S. troops had used poison gas—lethal sarin— during an operation inside Pakistan. Soon after the investigative exclusive aired, there were revelations that wrecked its credibility.
As the series gets further into its second season, it is broadening, deepening, and becoming even more thought-provoking. There has been no diminution of its trademark sharp scripts and superior acting, which combine for superior story-telling. All television dramas strive for this; few achieve it. Among current or recent offerings, Mad Men does. So does The Good Wife and a few others, but the list isn't long. My opinion for some time now has been that The Newsroom is the best of the current lot and has the potential to be one of the better television series ever. Nothing in this latest episode gives any pause in that opinion, much less any change.
This may not have been the most exciting episode but it was among the most interesting. As the chapter title suggests, the anchorman's character is further developed and filled-out, as he is seen having to balance family tragedy with professional duties. One of the main story lines of the season—how the news network got in trouble with a big story that proved to be wrong—gets considerable new development. As with every episode, plenty of romance is interwoven.
Best line of this installment: When the anchorman, irritated by a Twitter twit, is reminded of an ancient truth: "Relatively small people will try to raise their profile by standing on your neck."
Small nit: I didn't think the frog joke worked.
I liked this episode—a lot. It holds your attention and builds considerable interest for
One headline summation of this latest edition of The Newsroom could read: A riveting new subplot unfolds and a previously unsympathetic heroine—associate producer Maggie Jordan (played by Alison Pill)—emerges transformed. Another might be: That hair color spells trouble (both Maggie's old blonde and new red. Not to mention that the new cut is awful).
The plot thickens, the pace quickens and this new season of master screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's latest work becomes more interesting with each episode. "Gripping" might be the better word. For some viewers "addictive" may soon become more apt. By whatever description it's good, very good. And if the first 2 episodes of the new run are any indication, it'll get better every week.
The verdict's in on the season two premiere of HBO's The Newsroom, and if it isn't unanimous it ought to be. It was good, very good, if not downright terrific (which I personally think it was). Most early reviews seem to say so, one way or another—some more straight out than others. These include the reviews of some writers who last season were either picky, or even dismissive of, a show that started out strong and got better as it went along and was, by any objective analysis, one of the best dramas on television—if not the best of the lot, cable or standard broadcast.
Consensus regarding last night's premiere of The Newsroom seemed to be that the only thing worse than the episode was the Will McAvoy as Christ figure trailer than preceded it. The second season debut appeared to elicit a collective groan from everyone on Twitter except a certain subset of journalists. Which ones? The ones who just happen to be paid by HBO.
While we eagerly await Will McAvoy having the guts to openly demand stricter gun control laws two years from now, Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin has canned his entire writing staff, this despite decent ratings and second season renewal. Oh, but he did keep one writer: ex-girlfriend Corinne Kingsbury.
The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin's new television show for HBO, has a lot of obvious problems, dissected at length here and elsewhere. But the show at least nailed its reverence for broadcast journalism of yore, if you believe official Gawker Newsroom episode recapper Dan Rather. Murrow, Cronkite, Huntley, Brinkley, and, yes, Rather: they were newsmen, the show argues from the opening credits. Today's anchors are pundits and airheads.