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The Newsroom: Season 1
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Sorkin told The New York Times he "thought it would be fun to write about a hyper-competent group of people," which he has certainly done. They're also just plain hyper; watching an episode can be like an adrenaline shot of sermonizing, sanctimony, sophistication, and jaw-dropping flights of fast-talking astuteness. Researching the show, Sorkin spent time embedded at MSNBC shadowing both Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. He also dropped in on programs at Fox News and CNN that were the model for McAvoy and his Atlantis Broadcasting Network's show "News Night." The homework clearly informs The Newsroom's sense of verisimilitude, which is made even more realistic by the device of molding episodes about real news events of the recent past. The season unfolds from April 2010 to August 2011, so the action includes the newsroom's reporting on everything from the Gulf oil spill and the killing of Osama bin Laden to the teacher protest in Wisconsin and Arizona's controversial anti-illegal immigration bill. Personal politics enter the fray when the subject of the Koch brothers and the Citizens United decision come up, and there's a "News Night" uproar when the Fukushima nuclear crisis spills over into questions of ethics and personal responsibility. But for such a bunch of brilliant, zealous professionals there certainly is a lot of childish behavior, especially when it comes to everyone's love life. Biting social commentary dressed up as high-class entertainment sometimes dips into the soap opera-ish--which doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. A phone-hacking scandal that develops in the last episode will probably carry into the second season. It's also tantalizing to wonder what to expect when The Newsroom starts delving into the 2012 presidential election as seen through the lens of Aaron Sorkin's cutting pen and gift for putting lots of smart words into other people's mouths. --Ted Fry
Top Customer Reviews
Having spent more than two decades at CNN Center in Atlanta, until two years ago, as a writer and producer, the show is a brilliant success in conveying what it feels like to be in a newsroom like that, especially when there is breaking news.
In particular, the episode with the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford was absolutely true to life. Another reviewer criticized the dilema the team felt as other networks were reporting that she was dead and they were under pressure from network executives not to fall behind on the story. At the climactic moment, the anchor Will McAvoy makes the call on air and offers only the information about the shooting: "Here's what we know so far..." Which, of course, we know to have been the right call.
The factual context is right. NPR did report that Gifford had been killed; CNN, among others, repeated the misinformation, albeit attributing the report to NPR.
I don't know exactly what happened around Congresswoman Gifford's shooting, it was on a Saturday and I was working M-F, but I was there in the CNN Headline News newsroom in a similar situation: we came within seconds of airing a false report that the first president Bush had died during a visit to Japan in 1992 (where he had taken ill the night before, throwing up on the Japanese Prime Minister).
How close?Read more ›
It's rare to turn on the news and get anything more than the cheap thrill of watching someone from the left fight it out with someone on the right. The anchors themselves take a passive role, and yet if they wanted to, they really could challenge the speakers, couldn't they? Force them to defend their statements with verifiable facts? And in so doing, help the viewers to evaluate the merits of the argument on each side?
The Newsroom is a pleasurable fantasy about what that might look like. And I can't help but think that the hostility the show has drawn (Google it; you'll find a lot) is mainly from people who find it easier to call Aaron Sorkin smug and sanctimonious than to admit that our national discourse is broken. Because if it is, then it needs to be fixed, and what if the only way of fixing it was to demand more facts, to think harder, to learn more? I just used several words that Americans are conditioned to hate. You want the country to go back to school for an hour every night? You intellectual, elitist snob.
Perhaps that's controversial. But I doubt that anyone who uses the word "intellectual" as a pejorative would be interested in watching this show. Like any Sorkin series, The Newsroom celebrates the power of intelligence, while reminding us that it's only as good as the heart that wields it. Sorkin's characters are inspiring less because they're smart than because they want so badly for the world to be a better place.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pros: 80s style show about romantics in journalism. Cute, though they don't exist anymore.
Cons: I don't mind a little liberalism, I am not even asking for the unbiased middle... Read more
Best. Show. Ever. I wish this was really how the news was handled. Someone should bring it back.Published 1 hour ago by Amazon Customer
Well written and acted. Would watch 10 hours of this show over 10 minutes of reality tv.Published 4 hours ago by Mary Ann Evans
Aaron Sorkin's excellent writing is on target while humors and though provoking.Published 4 hours ago by PatrickJames