Who else is excited to watch the news, now?
Last night Aaron Sorkin, creator of the award winning television series The West Wing and writer of the award winning film The Social Network, debuted his newest project on HBO: The Newsroom. The Newsroom is an HBO ongoing series which revolves around a famous experienced news anchor, Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), and his nightly news show, News Night. The Newsroom, much like The West Wing, isn't just about the head honcho, but rather the show tells a story about the news through the many people that make the news possible.
The Newsroom hooks viewers in 5 minutes.
In The Newsroom's opening scene we meet Daniels' character, Will, who has become numb to the same old political debates. While participating in a political discussion panel at a college university, Will suddenly snaps at an overly innocent girl who asks the panelists to comment on, "Why America is the greatest country in the world." Unlike the other two panelists' cookie cutter answers, Will is pushed into saying what he really thinks, and what he really thinks...is amazing. After hearing Jeff Daniels character eloquently say what so many people actually think, I knew that Sorkin was tapping into an idea that many educated television watchers could get behind: what could our country be like if we were simply informed?
The Newsroom has set itself up to have maximum impact with the news stories that the show focuses on because the show starts a couple of years ago. The first major story The Newsroom tackles is the BP oil spill. By revolving episodes around actual major news events, the audience is sure to establish an emotional connection to The Newsroom. In the premier episode last night, "We Just Decided To," the news of the spill starts small and then grows very quickly. The show's pace starts to pick up as the characters start receiving spill information, and when Will finally starts to rally the troops to attack the BP story. As the BP incident is being broadcast, we (viewers) feel the intensity of the news and recall the anger when we found out the horrible information for the first time.
Lead by a wonderful performance by Jeff Daniels, the cast is instantly likable. Daniels can play a dick better than a gay clarinetist. And while his dialog is delivered with so much hostility, you won't believe you actually like him. But then again, after that first scene I mentioned above, there's no way you don't like him.
The supporting crew is also portrayed well by talented actors you will have recognized but maybe not quite remember their names. It's that chick from Scott Pilgrim and Goon, or that woman from Harry Brown, and that old guy from Law & Order...the old lawyer. Alison Pill, Emily Mortimer and Sam Waterston are all excellent. Waterston stands out as the old guy who owns the place and who doesn't care about the rules. He just wants the world to be right and the lead (Will) to be the best he can be. Plus, he randomly curses with humorous effect. Old guys...am I right?
One episode in and we do already have romantic relationship storylines between past, present and new co-workers sprouting up. There are details yet to be revealed about one relationship in particular which will keep the "not so into smart dramas" watcher around. You may not get the Smallville like soundtrack of trendy alternative love songs when some characters just miss each other's elevator which would lead them into each other's arms forever, but fear not, the existing score is beautifully handled by Larry Mah (Mah man!). The musical score is one of the best scores for a television show I have ever heard. It's film score quality. Yeah...big boy stuff.
The Newsroom will go on to be nominated for many awards and last many seasons because it uses the tried and true formula of making the series about the people: The people who frame the news, the people who report it, the people who assist those people, the people in the booth and the people who watch the news. The Newsroom isn't about the news or the room. It's about the people who work in the room and the people who are affected by the news. The Newsroom in a strange way becomes about us, the viewers. One episode in...I am glad to be a part of it.
Written or Contributed by: 365Dom