Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: The Newsroom

Every time I mention this show to someone I'm surprised to find that they think it's a re-make of the Canadian show of the same name.  Fortunately not but what we have here is a smart new drama from the creator of the west wing, Mr. Aaron Sorkin.  When Will McAvoy-- a well respected new anchor for a prime time magazine show-- has an outburst on a local political panel it starts his career spinning off its axis.  To save his career (and the show) a crack executive producer is brought in to revamp the show.  The hitch?  She happens to be Will's ex-girlfriend.

While the premise is a great one (and the pilot is one of the best I've seen in years) Sorkin is leaning a little heavily on the relationships.  I would like to see the Emily Mortimer/Jeff Daniels connection played way down (this should be a slow, full-series burn) as well as some of the other romantic connections that have been made on the show.  Luckily while we've seen this dance before (Josh and Donna on The West Wing, Matt and Harriet from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) he does it so well that it's certainly not something that I would do away with, just downplay a little.

With the pilot being so well balanced we also have a situation where the second episode is given a lot to live up to so I did find that a little difficult to sit through but hopefully by episodes 3 and 4 Sorkin and his team will find their stride.  I think this is possibly a case (as with the West Wing) of a series that needs some time to breathe.  There's a lot of talent on this roster (Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Dev Patel) and if they could just pare things down a little and concentrate on what makes this premise great-- namely the news stories and historical significance of a great newcast-- then they'll be alright.

It's already been green lit for another series but I would keep my eye on this one.  It could be amazing.

EDIT (June 10, 2012): So now after the third episode I'm still waiting for it to be amazing and it seems to be the choices that they're making that are keeping it from really hitting the stride that had me so in love with The West Wing.  Less is more people!  Less romance!  Fewer words!  Fewer shots of Jeff Daniels anchoring the news (pssst: he is not your strength).  Just sayin'.

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