TV REVIEW: The Newsroom
The Newsroom is Aaron Sorkin at his best.
After 6 years, Aaron Sorkin is finally back on the air with The Newsroom, which aired its first episode this Sunday. Not only is Sorkin coming back to TV with an Academy Award under his belt and a new generation of fans from his writing of The Social Network and Moneyball, but he’s coming back with complete and utter freedom and creative control, granted to him by none other than HBO; the gold standard of television.
In the works for many years, The Newsroom is set behind the scenes of a nightly news program and follows Jeff Daniels as the anchor, Will McAvoy. With each new episode focusing on the news team’s personal relationships, struggles in the face of an increasingly disinterested audience, as well as real-life news events from the past, The Newsroom takes Sorkin’s distinct style and elevates it to new levels. Thanks to HBO, Sorkin is free to create characters and dialogue that would never be allowed to exist on the broadcast networks in which his previous shows aired on.
From the very first scene, Aaron Sorkin creates a universe with compelling drama, human emotion, and comedy. Though it’s all very “Sorkin,” it’s a show so much like his others and yet so vastly different. For anyone that has seen Sports Night or The West Wing, The Newsroom takes the best elements of both worlds and blends them flawlessly. As funny and heartwarming as Sports Night was and as smart and political as The West Wing was, The Newsroom takes these elements and amps them up for a modern, HBO worthy audience. The Newsroom doesn’t pander or even take a second to breathe. If you’re not following along from the first second you’re going to miss a whole lot.
And while the speeches are soaring and the banter is witty, the writing isn’t all there is to love in The Newsroom. Jeff Daniels gives a commanding performance and defines the role of Will immediately. Emily Mortimer plays smart, sexy, and charming; and she knows it. Alison Pill, John Gallagher Jr., Dev Patel, and Sam Waterston each pull off funny and intelligent so much that you can’t help but root for them every second they’re on screen. While the pilot doesn’t even come close to introducing all of the characters that we’ll see throughout the series, it’s clear from the get-go that the characters are classics in the making and that the acting is sure to garner immense critical acclaim during the show’s run.
At the end of the hour and fifteen minute pilot, not only are we treated to a few nice twists and some amazingly quotable and sure to be talked about moments, but we’re left wanting more. So much more. With this show, Aaron Sorkin has created a living, breathing universe that just so happens to be set in our own. And so while the news events may be real and their outcomes already part of history, The Newsroom manages to make us need to know what happens next.
Like Sports Night, The West Wing, and even Studio 60 before it, The Newsroom takes TV and raises the bar to new heights. In short, it’s everything that its’ own characters would hope it could be. It’s idealistic, it’s romantic, it’s intelligent, it’s funny, and it’s the beginning of what is hopefully television history in the making.