A news team attempts to create a news show that reports the news in an ethical and reasonable way. They take real, newsworthy events from our world as they're happening (such as bin Laden's assassination, NSA spying, etc) and report on them as if they were an actual news station that followed rational and moral guidelines, in a biting criticism of our popular press and a clever blurring of art and reality. Written by
A new series launched on HBO with a star-spangled episode 'We just decided to'. As conceived and written by Aaron Sorkin it is a timely, incredibly intelligently written show populated with some of our best seasoned actors as well as some very fine actors on the way up. This is the kind of television that reminds us that at one time the news programs informed us about current events and ran a continuing commentary on the development of events in this country and around the world in a manner that kept us alerted of why we as a nation needed to remain alert to both good and bad events, to celebrate when indicated and to fight back when injustices were occurring. This direction is indicated in the background imagery for the titles running glimpses of the likes of Walter Cronkite, Edward R Murrow, Huntley/Brinkley etc who were responsible news anchors instead of the flippant celebrities more concerned with ratings of their show than the news we see today.
The first episode opens with popular news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels who proves his acting chops here) being interviewed on a college campus and responds to a student question 'Why is America the greatest country' by answering 'We're not. We used to be' and then runs us past our history of reportage on television that proves that the country has fallen in world view because we no longer care about our initial basic rites an freedoms and concern for humanity. It is a powerful start with some of the most gut-wrenching insightful history of this country that has been written for television.
From there, McAvoy returns to his station to find a support team missing and a replacement named. But enter an old flame, the war correspondent fatigued Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer, never more brilliant) who has been assigned Will's new Executive Producer and in the midst of many changes the new arrangement (not a popular one for Will) evolves into a return to actual news reporting of the significant type all over the 2010 BP oil explosion and spill that threatened the Gulf of Mexico. It is raw, real, factual, and immediate news delivered with veracity and commitment.
Greg Mottola directs with keen precision, allowing moments of comic relief to be present if subtle and keeps the momentum of the show propelling smoothly. The cast of superb actors includes John Gallagher, Jr. (brilliant), Dev Patel, Allison Pill, Sam Waterston (never better), Thomas Sadoski, Chris Chalk, Trieu Tran, Charlie Weirauch, Margaret Judson, Olivia Munn, Adina Porter and more. A more talented and committed cast would be hard to imagine. THIS is the kind of television series we so very sorely need right now. It is refreshingly free of the usual clatter and gimmicks that clutter the airways, and it s full of information and food for thought delivered in an entertaining manner. And this is only Episode 1!
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