The Newsroom

Newsroom HBO Election Coverage Aaron Sorkin, Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterston, Hope Davis, Chris Chalk

The Newsroom (Season 1): a news team bring their show back to old-school and trustworthy coverage of the stories that really matter – which proves to be a controversial decision for the network and the viewers. The first thing you have to tune in to is writer Aaron Sorkin’s unrealistic ping-pong-ping-pong rapid fire dialogue. Sorkin feels like the Tarantino of scriptwriting, everything seems to make it to the screen unedited, and you can hear him through the lines, smugly asking you: “Can you hear just how smart this show is!? Did you catch that cultural reference!? Can you keep up OK? Are you impressed? Please admire me…” The show is split into two main areas – the elite production team that are trying to bring facts and ethics back into news broadcasting, and two personal love dramas between various employees. The news stuff/cable network politics is absolutely dynamite and I could watch it all day; it’s dramatic, informative, well-researched, well-written, eye-opening, and makes for some of the best acting, speeches, and #scenes I can remember watching. The love angles on the other hand completely torpedo the show: it’s old writers writing unrealistic dialogue for youths; actors struggling to play dated neurotic caricatures; stretched out sub-Dawson’s Creek relationship arcs. I hate fingering people out, but it child over-actor Alison Pill plays the most unlikable love-interest in history – a terrible actress/character combo. To top off the stupidity, there’s a throughline of abysmal slapstick moments like people walking in to doors, falling over objects, ‘hilariously’ struggling to put trousers on, and general ACME antics that would perfectly match this song. When one of the female characters gets splashed by a passing Sex and the City tour bus playing the show’s theme song, I wanted to chew my fists off – this potentially great show is jumping sharks in season 1.

Newsroom HBO Will Anchor Aaron Sorkin, Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterston, Hope Davis, Chris Chalk

It’s ironic that a ‘highbrow’ concept about how stupid TV has become, decides to devote over half of its runtime to shitty, banal and moronic will-they/won’t-they love stories, aimed squarely at the very idiots it’s trying to scold. Worse still, this is clearly Sorkin’s idea as HBO doesn’t tend to shy away from serious, engaging, and intellectual television. More than anything else, it’s a shame that the scathing, and brutally honest critique of US mainstream culture (especially tabloid press & broadcasting) loses out to second-rate soap opera stories. I can’t remember any other TV show that is so brilliant at some things (news, drama, dialogue), and inept at others (relationships, interactions, dialogue). You’ll be fist-pumping the air one minute, then tensing up in maximum cringe mode at the next. It gives with one hand, then pisses all over both of your hands. I could watch Jeff Daniels and Sam Waterson all day – and there’s a phenomenal mini series praying to be edited out of this – but in the current form, The Newsroom is one of the most frustrating TV shows you’ll ever watch.

Score: 4/10

Newsroom Cast AMC Aaron Sorkin, Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterston, Hope Davis, Chris Chalk

Newsroom Sexy Sloan Hot Aaron Sorkin, Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterston, Hope Davis, Chris Chalk

Advertisements
17 comments
  1. I haven’t seen this yet (not a fan of Sorkin), but it got cancelled, so it probably never improved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It actually didn’t get cancelled, it was just set to be a shorter show.
      Just having seen the 2nd season, I can say that it is pretty decent, but you have to have an interest in both journalism and politics to admire it. But if you’re not a Sorkin fan at all..definitely don’t watch.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

        Yes, I was a bit confused seeing that they’d chopped the 3rd season down. IMDB seems to have the second season as better than the first – trying to figure out if it’s worth marching on or if it’s more of the same…

        Liked by 1 person

        • If you didn’t like the 1st, I really wouldn’t bother with the second. It’s more convoluted. Too many plot lines. They’re far more interesting, but again, if season one didn’t grab your attention enough, season two probably won’t do it.
          It’s weird not recommending something that I would normally recommend. haha I’m just trying to go by what it seems like your interests are.

          Like

    • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

      It’s a great shame because the Political and new stuff is out of this world and entirely watchable. I just fail to understand why it focuses so much on boring and unnecessary he-said-she-said telemundo interpersonal nonsense.

      Like

  2. It’s definitely not for everyone. I enjoyed it myself and I’m about to move into season 3, even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of season 2. There were just way too many plots for 9 episodes. But hey, season 3 is only 6 episodes so why not finish it?

    I agree with your criticisms on the dialogue though. Many times you feel like it’s just showing off. Like “Hey look how smart our dialogue is, and look at how fast our brains work”. The fast paced, back and forth, finishing each others’ sentences is totally unrealistic and does get under my skin.

    With that said though, there is something underneath it all that kept me going. It does tell good stories, and the script actually does delve into ideals that I can really think about. Watching this show right now with the presidential election happening currently has been really interesting for me, as the show has brought up very great points–mostly pertaining to the current viewpoints on the Republican Party. But this isn’t the place to get political, I just wanted to say that it’s a show I feel I’m watching at the right time.

    I enjoy the show quite a bit for when it jumps into the political and journalism side of things. It’s interesting, and educational. But I agree with your points so highly on everything else. It tries to be a soap opera, and sometimes the execution of its script becomes too overwhelming and pretentious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

      It’s weird, once you tune in to the dialogue it’s not as big a deal but for the first few episodes I just got annoyed at how NOBODY EVER TALKS LIKE THIS. But then again, nobody ever talks like John McLean.

      I know what you mean about keeping you going. My mrs wanted to bail out on this around halfway through, but straight after there were a couple of episodes that didn’t really bother with the love triangle/quadrangle – then it went front and centre in the finale, with vexed and annoyed me so much.

      I really with I could trade in our box set for a cut with just the good stuff!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ouch! Maybe that’s a reason you feel like it’s a bigger waste of time. Buying a boxed set (for me) would probably have something in my brain telling me I have to like at least 90% of what I’m seeing. Otherwise I feel like I’d have wasted my money.
        I’ve just been streaming it on Amazon, so that might be a factor for why I’m able to tune out the dumb soapy stuff. Plus I’m piggy backing off my brothers’ account. I’ve put zero dollars towards this show. :P

        Liked by 1 person

        • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

          £30/$42 USD spent on 2.5 seasons (not really fair to call it three!).

          I’m not angry – just disappointed.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t blame you at all! Especially when it’s not of the quality you want. That’s a lot of hours to dedicate your time to.

            Like

  3. Dan said:

    You’re right that Sorkin is terrible at the more straightforward relationship stuff but I didn’t feel this overshadowed what was a brilliant critique of corporate news media and, at times, a thrilling depiction of news gathering and presentation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

      For me, the boring stuff got far too much screen-time and really distracted from the ‘holier than thou’ / ‘you may actually learn something’ aspect. I absolutely loved the news stuff front and back of house, but Alison Pill / Maggie was just a terrible character… couldn’t connect with her, and she felt like something straight out of Ally Mcbeal or SATC (even though she got the I’M NOT CARRIE speech)

      I’m right on the fence on whether or not to continue watching. I love Daniels and Waterson in particular – but they’re only about 40% of the runtime.

      Like

  4. Too bad you didn’t like it more. Great review though. I loved this show and watched every season. I really dig the fireacracker dialogue and topical commentary. The physical jokes may feel a little out of place, but help break the tension. One of the best shows from last few years. Check my reviews of the final season if you’re curious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

      I’ll soldier on with the later seasons after letting this digest for a while – I did enjoy it, but would have much preferred to see a far shorter cut without the underling love story and bawdy comedy! I’ll have a dig back at the finale review once it’s in the bag. Cheers :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Right on. I think as the seasons progressed they nailed the structure and balanced out the tone a bit more. I’d love to know what you think of the Final Season later on.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved this show, watched it all the way through 3 times now. But I agree with a lot of the relationship stuff – Mac and Will were good. But the Don/Maggie/Jim/Lisa stuff was too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

      Started season 2 the other night and was praying that they’d have canned the boring Maggie stuff but it looks like they’ve put her even more front and centre – such a bad move as she’s a boring / rubbish character. The news stuff looked great and sounded like it had an even bigger arc through the season.

      Like

Opinions are like nipples... I WANT TO SEE YOURS!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: