Wednesday, June 27, 2012


By now, you may have heard about the new show on HBO called "Newsroom". In case you missed it, you can watch the premiere episode for free here. The show stars Jeff Daniels as the anchor of an hourlong news show for a fictional news network. He is described as being the "Jay Leno" of news anchors, because he has developed a reputation for never offending anyone.

That reputation, however, takes a hit when, as part of a panel discussion at a university (later revealed to be Northwestern), he loses all patience and launches into a rant about how America is no longer the greatest country in the world, and then lists the reasons why. Watch that clip here.


Naturally, in today's media saturated market, the clip gets widespread distribution, and Daniels' character, Will McAvoy, is forced by his network to accept a new Executive Producer (MacKenzie McHale, played by Emily Mortimer), who challenges him to re-create the format of his show to be more about "real" news, instead of entertaining people and not offending anyone.

There have been very few shows on TV that have grabbed me with both hand from the very first episode and never let go. "The West Wing" was one. "Scrubs" was another. And now we have "The Newsroom".

An aside: The character played by Daniels seems to be a somewhat toned down version of the Howard Beale character played by Peter Finch in the movie Network. Another excellent movie, by the way. Hopefully Daniels character won't eventually meet the same fate as Finch's

The show was created by Aaron Sorkin, who also created the aforementioned "West Wing", along with "Sports Night" (a show that, sadly, was never fully appreciated for how good it was), as well as several excellent movies (A Few Good Men, The Social Network, The American President). Sorkin is a rarity in Hollyweird these days: A man who believes that people will be entertained by good, intelligent writing that can provoke lively conversation and examination of the issues.

Fans of "The West Wing" - myself included -  have been waiting for years now for something else that we could sink our teeth into. In this world of idiotic reality television shows *cough* Jersey Shore *cough* and live talentless talent shows, it is nice to know that there is still some good TV to look forward to. As I've mentioned before, I do not have cable (yes, I'm the one), so I won't be able to watch the rest of the episodes  until they become available on DVD or Netflix. But it gives me something to look forward to. And a good feeling that there is still some hope for Hollywood.

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