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RATED Not Rated
STUDIO HBO Studios
RUNNING TIME 583 Minutes
- Select Audio Commentaries
- Inside The Episodes
- Deleted Scenes
“A much less cynical version of Network where everyone gets what they want. Jeff Daniels is a powerhouse!”
Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Allison Pill, John Gallagher Jr., Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterson
Since saving the news department at the end of season one, Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and the NewsNight team at ACN are riding high. This comes crashing down when they begin to investigate an incident in Genoa where the U.S. Military is claimed to have used chemical weapons against civilians. Facing terrible crimes by exposing this, Will and team decide to go forward with the story. But, as evidence comes in that wasn’t brought to light before, the team slowly begins to unravel.
The Newsroom has worked for me since the first episode. I understand every single criticism lobbed at the show, though. Is it sexist because every single one of the women on the show is some form of ditz? Yes. Is it painfully awkward to see real events relived through a fictional lens where our heroes catch things before the real world did? Sure. Is it Sorkin’s version of the way things ought to be, where everything is overstylized screwball comedy/overwrought monologue/screaming at each other? Yes.
All of that very fair criticism of the way, The Newsroom is appointment television for me. Re-reading the first paragraph make my love for Newsroom a complete oxymoron, but I love this show. As someone that missed West Wing by about a decade, I haven’t gotten enough of Sorkin’s grandstanding. Call me a naïve sheeple, but the passion within Sorkin’s dialogue paired with Jeff Daniels’s Murrow-esque delivery makes for riveting television. Add to this the soap-y elements and the will-they-won’t-they dynamic between Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr.) and Maggie Malone (Allison Pill) and I’m riveted.
I love all of the characters. Starting obviously with Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, there is a fantastic cavalcade of supporting cast, all of whom are equally as enthralling. One of the stand-outs is addition Hamish Linklater as Jerome “Jerry” Dantana, the self-sabotaging Washington D.C. producer who comes to the New York ACN offices. While the main cast has the typical Sorkin screwball pacing, Dantana is a much more complicated character. Not outright villainous in his dealings with Genoa, but antagonistic enough to be a real foil for the rest of the newsroom.
One of the biggest complaints of season one were the clairvoyant ACN staff always getting to the biggest news stories first. Sorkin deals with the criticism of season one head on by shoving the characters under the bus from episode one of this season with a fictionalized tale of chemical weapons. McAvoy and the team get something very, very wrong, forcing them to go into litigation mode. It’s really great to see these seemingly bulletproof characters finally begin to sweat. While this plot line doesn’t exactly stick the landing, SPOILER again resulting in all the characters’ flaws and conduct getting swept under the rug because they have spunk END SPOILER it’s a vast improvement from the already entertaining first season.
If you weren’t a fan of the first season, there’s really no way I can convince you that you’ll like this season better. For me, this show absolutely works. The dialogue crackles, the chemistry between the characters jumps out of the screen, and every episode is a bronzed statue of idealism. For an era that deals with a non-stop barrage of cynicism, this is a show that allows us to process that cynicism without a completely escapist attitude. It’s damn good TV.
As expected with a show that’s self-indulgent, the special features of the show are, indeed, self-indulgent. While I haven’t listened to many interviews with Aaron Sorkin, he comes off just a tad smug in the audio commentaries on this set. I shouldn’t really be surprised, though. It is also interesting to hear the charm and genuine love that the cast and crew have for the show. It translates onto the screen, which really helps elevate the material.
Also neat to know is the fact that, anytime there was news coverage from ACN in the back ground, a parallel script was written for the actors in order to make it look like real news. I don’t really have an analysis of this, it’s just something silly that only anyone in the film or television industry would do.
Rounding out the package are some Inside the Episode retrospectives which basically recap the show and a handful of deleted scenes that don’t offer much.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars