HBO is currently home to some of the best shows on television: “Game of Thrones” (which I don’t watch but am including in this list purely because of how many people love it), “Veep” and “Girls.” While I don’t know if I’d include “The Newsroom” as one of the best shows on television, it’s definitely worth a watch and I’m anticipating the start of season two, which begins July 14.
Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is a nightly news anchor at the fictional Atlantis Cable News network, which is meant to be a companion to CNN or Fox News. For years, McAvoy has been complacent – not wanting to cause a stir or upset anybody. But after giving a rousing and, to some, disturbing answer to the question “What makes America the greatest country in the world,” McAvoy is quickly thrown into the spotlight and is forced to shrug off the shackles of complacency and actually stand for what he believes in – all while trying to work with his new executive producer who also happens to be his former girlfriend.
“The Newsroom” is undeniably Sorkin. It’s fast paced, there are plenty of walk-and-talks and it strives for an idealism that is laughably unrealistic, but that’s where part of the charm of the show comes from. It’s also easy for Sorkin to give us these moments of heightened journalistic integrity when the show is airing episodes about events that happened months before. For example, an episode deals with the shooting of Arizona U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords. Sorkin takes to task networks that prematurely and falsely declared her dead. Because of hindsight, Sorkin gives ACN the power to wait until Giffords has officially been declared alive. I agree that facts and not hearsay should be the determining factors in how a story is reported, but Sorkin comes off as a little preachy in this episode. And because of who “The Newsroom’s” audience is, he’s preaching to the choir. It’s absolutely an ideal to strive for, though. It’s time that the most important thing is being right, not first. Everyone in the ACN newsroom also has a connection that can help them get the story, whether it be a classmate of Casey Anthony or a relative involved with the BP oil spill. Unfortunately, in the real world, journalists do not have a wide array of exclusive sources that can help them break the story.
It’s pleasing to see that Michigan-native Jeff Daniels has found new fame with this role, which he is outstanding in. Every time I see Daniels in a new role, he always reminds me just how good of an actor he is. His performance and others help elevate “The Newsroom” into more than just Sorkin pretending to be Frank Capra in his idealism.
Is it a groundbreaking show? Not at all. But it’s entertaining and that alone will keep me viewing.