In the tradition of his earlier 'behind-the-scenes of TV' shows, Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom takes a hard (and witty) look at the behind the scenes of cable news. And like all his other shows, The Newsroom deals as much with themes of honour, ethics, loyalty, idealism and love, as it does with the news. It's also written in Sorkinese – Aaron Sorkin's fast-paced, back-and-forth, sing-song dialogue that'll leave you heady on a good day but with a headache on a bad one.
So, like critics have lambasted, is it "weighted too heavily toward sermonizing diatribes (LA Times)?" Maybe. Does it "choke on its own sanctimony (NY Times)?" Perhaps. Is it "yet another platform in which to Set the People Straight is a worthwhile purpose (Huffington Post)?" Most definitely yes. But is this all really so horribly, terribly bad? NO!
The main bone of contention for critics for this show seems to be that it tries too hard to be good, do good and instill good, just like all of Sorkin's earlier work. But when did that become a crime, in times of shows about becoming the next scrawniest supermodel, douchiest reality housemate or Tim Allen's 30th comeback? What's wrong with a show fantasizing about a world upheld by a long-forgotten morality in a time infested with shows that fall over each other to portray stark, grim realities and apocalyptic futures?
The Newsroom's got a fantastic cast with enough charm to last you till the next Woody Allen movie. Emily Mortimer's already got me falling in love with her, Jeff Daniel makes you really root for him, John Gallagher Jr and Alison Pill have an instant chemistry and Sam Waterson's singularly enough to bring you back every week. Yes, it's longer than it needed to be, and yes, it could have done with a little more Noam Chomsky and a little less Don Quixote. But really, as long as it does what so few show can ever claim to together – rouse you, make you think and ENTERTAIN, bloody well at that – who's complaining?
Admittedly, I'm a fan of Aaron Sorkin. I've seen (repeatedly) and LOVED Sports Night and The West Wing, and I think Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is one of the best shows ever made. His writing has inspired me in the past, and after watching The Newsroom, I have all reasons to believe that it will continue to, well into the future.
Critics be damned, watch this show simply because it's good television. It may not change the world, but at least it's trying to.
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