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|Index||210 reviews in total|
Not at all surprising that "critics" mostly don't like it. How often do
you see them praise a show that so successfully presents such a bright,
fast paced, thought provoking, and BI- PARTISAN message throughout?
Ironic really, as one of the most "hmmmmmmmm producing" lines in the
show was a facsimile of "the American people haven't been so polarized
since the Civil War".
The first premise made in the episode - "America needs to wake up, and acknowledge that we are no longer the greatest country in the world" - was really painful to process, but incredibly timely and accurate.
The best endorsement I can give: after watching this incredible show, I no longer have just a TRIAL subscription. WELL DONE HBO!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the wake of all the criticism that, well, critics have been doling
out for Sorkin's new show, I admit that I was a little wary about
watching the premiere. While I pray at the altar of Sorkin (a little
creepy, perhaps, but I aspire to be the man so let it go), I'm not so
naive as to think that in his long career of quality television and
films, he won't one day come out with a dud (even though he hasn't
"The Newsroom" stars Jeff Daniels, who plays news anchor Will McAvoy. McAvoy loses his cool during a university panel discussion when a young woman asks why America is the best country in the world. Understandably, the rant goes viral, and after a vacation, McAvoy comes back to an empty newsroom and a show in need of an executive producer. As expected in the world of 24-hour news coverage, the internal drama collides with reality as they fight for their jobs.
Let me just start by saying that I still pray at the altar of Sorkin, and don't think he's lost a single bit of the razor-sharp wit that he is known for. The writing of "The Newsroom" hearkens back to the days of President Bartlet and his White House of young, idealistic staffers working to make liberalism classy again. He has lost absolutely nothing in the quality of the production, and while he's working with a brand new cast of actors, he has not lost the ability to weave a brilliant arc of dialogue.
I'm not ignorant to the fact that critics these days tend to be either cranky old people who've taken it upon themselves to enjoy absolutely nothing of substance, or hipsters who live to tear things down because it gets their click-through numbers up. It's the name of the game these days. That said, I'm not blind to some minor speed bumps that could've contributed to the almost unanimously negative response "The Newsroom" has been receiving.
The first, and I think the most outstanding for me as a longtime Sorkin fan, is the cast. I'm not saying that the cast isn't good. It's an outstanding cast for television, as HBO gets incredibly talented people to step away from lucrative movie careers to participate in their shows. Hence Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Allison Pill and Dev Patel, all of whom have had fantastic film careers. So I'm not in any way criticizing the cast.
There's a rhythm to Sorkin's writing; a lyrical quality, if you will, that is not easily executed. In fact, there are very few who have been able to sustain it because it's so quick and sharp. But this is why Sorkin has worked with those actors over and over again. Actors like Allison Janney and Felicity Huffman, who I am convinced could have played Mortimer's role. Actors like Bradley Whitford, Matthew Perry, Timothy Busfield and Joshua Malina also round out the Sorkin crew that can handle the fast-paced dialogue that Sorkin is known for.
Mortimer and Daniels have not yet reached that level. I have every hope that they will. They are talented, adaptable people who have been able to master comedy and drama with grace and aplomb. They just haven't yet. But I hold out hope because some of the younger cast members, specifically Patel, Pill, Thomas Sadoski and John Gallagher Jr. have been able to catch onto the admittedly-difficult flow.
Major comedy props also go to Sam Waterston, whose venerable, if slightly dysfunctional, grandfatherly mentor character added both gravitas and levity to the episode.
This rough start, however, can easily be sandpapered as the series continues and the cast becomes more familiar with Sorkin's dialogue. I look forward to the upcoming episodes to see if this hypothesis runs true. This is, however, not the only hurdle that the show needs to jump. Something else exists that may not be as easy to fix, though I hope Sorkin has remedied in the upcoming episodes as well.
McAvoy's news anchor persona seems trustworthy and affable to his loyal viewers. However, to his staff and, frankly, everyone, he is cold, snide, dismissive and an utter pain-in-the-ass to be around. His attitude is infuriating, and hearkens to another brilliant Sorkin work, "The Social Network." Jesse Eisenberg's Mark Zuckerberg had the same ruthless, calculating disregard for his fellow human beings as McAvoy, but the difference is that McAvoy is old enough to know better.
This isn't the first time an supremely unlikable character has graced our screens. J.R. Ewing, for example, brought millions of people to a halt for an hour a week to see what evil he'd contrive next (and, it seems, is attempting to do it again 20 years later). Will McAvoy, however, is not evil. He's not understood to be "the bad guy." He's just mean. And when he's surrounded by a cast of characters who are relatable and loyal to him, it makes his meanness less palatable.
People don't mind rooting for the bad guy, so long as he's identified as the bad guy. McAvoy is identified as the good guy, who is mean. That's not as easy to stomach, especially in an age where bullying is being dragged to the spotlight (kicking and screaming, but still there). And McAvoy is introduced as one heck of a bully.
Now, I find it hard to judge a television show merely by watching one episode (most of the time). And when it comes to Aaron Sorkin, I like to give the man the benefit of the doubt and trust in his brilliance. But I do believe that unless these two issues are ironed out, a renewal for a second season may be less of a sure thing as one would expect. Even from HBO.
Sadly, this show is getting old very fast. Do they really think
speed-talking makes this show more hip? Half the characters in Newsroom
sound like outtakes from The Social Network. Rapid-fire banter does not
a His Girl Friday make. More like Social Network meets Broadcast News.
What's with the network soap subplots of office gossip on which boss cheated on whom. Who cares in this day & age? Only the chemistry between Will & Charlie (Sam Waterston) works at this point. When either or both characters are not on-screen, the dialog sounds like tweet rehashes of NY Times front page clichés (student debt, high rent housing for 20-somethings) better handled in Girls. Maggie's goofy self-righteous quirkiness competes with Mac's whininess for irritation points.
Come on, what topics could be more tedious for a prime-time HBO show than how a network newsroom covers the BP spill (last year's news) or Will & Mac's (surrogate mom & dad of the newsroom crew) sexual history? Jokes (comedy situations) dependent on educated adults in a high-tech media organization incapable of correctly typing & sending e-mails? Excuse me?
Too bad Julia Louis-Dreyfus was committed to Veep. She might have given this series the humor & nuance it sorely lacks. Plus her chemistry with Jeff Daniels could have been terrific.
ADDENDUM - 7/17/2012
I have had it with this inexcusably derivative series. It's funny to read the reviews claiming how fresh this show is because it deals with "contemporary" issues when the "issues" are actually 2+ years old which in TV news years is about 30-something.
The cutesy stuff between 50+ sad-sack Daniels & whiny (& strangely humorless) Mortimer only gets more grating in each episode. But the worst part is the dialog tossed about by the newsroom crew, standard & very tired baggage of adolescent misunderstandings, unrequited love & goofy non-sequiturs.
The humor on this show sounds & feels like out-takes from early 1960s Beach party movies.
If Bud Lite is your favorite drink, you'll love this show. Personally, I'm tired of the dumbing down.
without putting myself on a pedestal, I figure my general knowledge to
be quite good, and I follow what's going on in the World and in the US
in particular (although not on a fanatical level). with that said, I
understand all the puns and irony made by the characters in the
Plot: every day drama about the intrinsic work at a TV-station in America.
What makes this series so great is that is centered on, mostly, on real Life events/news. Obviously it slacks behind because it is impossible to make a series about news of the day.
The dialog is out of this World a I laugh my head of watching each episode. Back to the puns and the irony, the ironic comments from the character Will in particular (played by Jeff Daniels) is brutally funny and the irony is just over the top. You might say it is Tarantino dialog without the cursing. Aaron Sorkin rules the World of TV. too bad his Studio 60 on the sunset strip got put down, a real shame.
I give this series 10 out of 10 because it is just brilliant. It is pure drama, so if you prefer/only Watch suspense or horror stay away. If you like Tarantino's Movies...well, what are you waiting for?!
I have to admit, that I very much like most of the things I've seen Mr.
Sorkin do TV-wise. "Sports Night" was sort of comfort food and "Studio
60..." was nice (with a different cast though, I'd reckon it could've
been a total disaster). "The West Wing" was simply a great piece of
television, and I don't think that many people would argue with that.
"The Newsroom" is very weird; it takes itself way too seriously for my taste and seems to deteriorate more and more into soapy terrain. The premise of the show is very interesting: The workings of a newsroom and so the genesis of News (even putting it one year in the past and being able to keep up with/use history to its advantage is a grand idea). But why shift the focus to those inner-office relationships? Sure, I wouldn't generally mind seeing some of those develop, but 75% of the time? Also, I do not think those characters are that entertaining or interesting at all. The second sujet that's sort of annoying, is the aggrandizement of the US; "Our elections are the envy of the world!" Really? Naw. OK enough show I guess, I just hoped for more from the Sorkin-HBO-Combo.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I hold Sorkin to high standards, so my rating reflects this. I, like most was 1st exposed to Aaron Sorkin on the West Wing. Then I saw a similar writing flare on the film The Social Network. Now, with the Newsroom, I see it all again and its a bit much. Sorkin's writing style is akin to bad jazz: it jerks-off, it pontificates, it over indulges. He throws in bunch of stylized analogies to support his opinions, which unfortunately is the real platform of his shows. Don't get me wrong, you got to be on your toes to watch Newsroom as the informations is fast and furious and I love to be challenged, but Sorkin makes the challenge needlessly tedious and boring. Its painfully obvious Sorkin has a lot of opinion to get off his chest and he spends most of his time figuring out how to parse-out different viewpoints of his opinions amongst his players, sacrificing their potential character development along the way. On a 2-dimensional level, I will continue to watch the program, because I learn things along the way, but I don't buy for one second that every-single person is capable of delivering razor-sharp dialog and subtext in this manner. It seems Sorkin prioritizes his fear of rejection in the form of over compensation and he has done so at the show's expense.
1st season was phenomenal but the 2nd season is horrible! First thing is that they changed the intro music a little bit and that little bit made a difference. Second thing is that the show has gone way off the rails with the story line. The main focus being so far that of a fictional event. I would love to go on aNd on but don't have the time, point is that this second season has been terrible, they must change it around and in a hurry. Avert back to what worked in season one. Start with the intro music. Take a look at what u did in the west wing. Give a taste of what the episode will be then cut into the intro. This show has a lot of potential and with only 10 episodes a season the shows have to have more drama and more thought into it then what has been going on. So get with it Sorkin or this will be your last show!
The minute you see 'Written by Aaron Sorkin' come up at the start of
any TV programme or film you know exactly what you're getting. Lots of
quick paced dialogue, lots of even faster walking down corridors but
also great characters and plots that have the ability to make you both
think,pull at your heart-strings and sometimes laugh.
The Newsroom features all those elements and more but as was pointed out last year, Sorkin loves to reuse character types and situations and having watched The West Wing and Studio 60 it's both fun and annoying to see very similar characters again. Especially if you prefer the original version.
However Sorkin's talent is undeniable and although The Newsroom is not a perfect show it is a darn sight better than most of the other shows on TV. My only real complaint is that there is a fair bit of swearing, some of which is just not needed. If Sorkin is painting these characters as being so smart why do they need to keep swearing every so often to make their point?
Overall, if you like the work of Sorkin then this series will be something you check out but if you're not a fan you'll find nothing to alter your opinion. For me The Newsroom feels like Sorkin trying to get some of the flaws he made in Studio 60 right second time around and I preferred the original attempt.
Having just watched the 2nd episode of the 3rd (and apparently) final
season of this awesome series I can honestly say that for this to end
after just 3 seasons is one of the worst production decisions on TV
The storyline, as before, is captivating, the delivery at breakneck pace is brilliant and carried over by some of the best acting I have seen in years. Directing this series must be both a challenge and a joy because to end up with a product that is not only entertaining and interesting but always totally absorbing! The actors who carry over these episodes cannot be praised highly enough, I would love to single out individuals, but to do so would be a complete and utter disservice to all of the other members of the cast from the person who fills in as a bit part player to the highly recognisable stars. Suffice to say that those with the biggest profiles should be proud to be able say that they have been able to add their polished contributions to the series as a whole.
If there is anyway that my review can contribute to achieving a reversal of the decision to not continue making more episodes, then I sincerely hope that this will prove successful.
An old saying sums it up ..................
"You don't know what you've got until you lose it!!"
THINK CAREFULLY ....... DON'T REGRET KILLING THIS SERIES SO SOON - IT'S TOO GOOD FOR THAT!!
I guess someone can't protect Sorkin in HBO if most people are too dumb
to watch the best TV show we had since the "west wing.
I hope in the next act Netflix will buy the show, and i could cancel my HBO subscription. if i waited a year to get just six episodes that's not right.
Yet again Aaron Sorkin, thank you so much for anything you write, it's absolutely a symphony of words and wisdom.
I don't care if it's 3rd or 4th or 80th, it tell a lot about HBO if they don't keep the only high quality show they have.
And for those that don't watch it, you have no idea what you are missing.
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