Aaron Sorkin is one of the greatest writers of our time whose works span the media of theatre, film and TV. His penmanship has gifted us with such masterpieces as A Few Good Men, The Social Network and of course, the TV spectacle that is The West Wing. His latest offering of pretentious pie comes in the form of a HBO drama titled The Newsroom.

Untitled-1

Much like a can of Ronseal, this show does what it says on the tin and follows the events of a fictional cable news network. Despite being set in a make-believe studio, the stories they cover are very real and are events that have occurred within the past year, for example the pilot episode deals with the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. The premise of this political drama is the creation of a news broadcast that is free of political bias and commercial interest, one that strives to deliver the facts as they are whilst choosing not to dabble in fear mongering or ratings-grabbing. Essentially what the BBC News used to do.

Photo2

Throughout the show many fundamental, political issues and events are addressed and debated. Now, I don’t do politics, like at all, it’s something I leave for those who read the Guardian and students who think communism is a great idea. Yet even I, the plebiest of plebs found this dense, intelligent political drama utterly enthralling. The corruption of the Republican Party and all their billionaire cocksucking, the manipulation of facts and the power the news has over the population is terrifying and all of which is exposed by The Newsroom.

Like any amazing show it would be nothing without an amazing and talented cast. Taking the lead role of Will McAvoy a cynical yet fundamentally good-natured, genius news anchor is Jeff Daniels aka Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber. While you may find it near impossible to consider Daniels in a serious role after witnessing the infamous toilet scene he never the less gives a stunning performance and totally immerses you into his world.

Joining the ranks is the simply delightful English muffin that is Emily Mortimer who plays a stern and brilliant executive producer, MacKenzie McHale. You may know her from Shutter Island, Lars and the Real Girl or one of those films that your mum would love.

photo3

Then there is that loveable Indian-Brit scamp Dev Patel, famous for Slumdog Millionaire and that string of TV-pornos he did for Channel 4 (you may know it as Skins) who plays an enthusiastic intern who just wants to be a part of something great.

photo4

With such a stellar cast and phenomenal writing The Newsroom is nothing short of incredible but it’s the writing that’s also one its unfortunate flaws.

Much like in The West Wing and The Social Network the dialogue is 100% Sorkin. This means when two characters converse it’s brilliant and insightful, a battle of the planets two greatest minds, that poetically flows like a raging torrent down a valley. It’s also completely unbelievable. Conversations on The Newsroom are similar to conversations I have with myself in the shower following an argument I had 3 days ago. Every line had been analysed and tailored to deliver maximum impact to the other party. The wittiest, coldest and damning of retorts are rapidly bounced back and forth like a shuttlecock in a game of badminton. Not once does anyone go ‘Burrr, I don’t know’ or ‘Oh yeah! Well, shut up!’ or

photo5

While it’s outstanding dialogue and mesmerizing to witness it still alienates the viewer somewhat. I have thought many a time while watching ‘Man, I’m so stupid, I could never be that witty’ and quite often they talk so fucking fast I’m having to rewind scenes and pause them while I google the big word they just used.

E CON O ME!

The other flaw however, is far more irritating. Now where would a show be without a romantic interest? In my opinion they would all be infinitely better, but this is especially true in the case of The Newsroom. This bullshit subplot follows a charming, floppy fringed everyman who falls for the quirky and lovable fema-nerd who is unfortunately going out with someone who’s a bit of a douche. Sound familiar? Of course it fucking does because it is exactly the same romance plot from the US version of the Office! Copied and pasted down to the very last detail! It’s not even remotely subtle. The love-struck pretty-boy is even called Jim Harper for fucks sake! (In case you don’t know, the character in The Office is called Jim Halpert) They even cast someone who looks like him! LOOK!

photo6

And in case you think I’m cherry picking images, here is some more proof

photo7

photo8

It’s a good job their fringes sit in different directions or I would have real trouble telling them apart.
With all the time spent fact-checking, story-crafting and writing fantastic, poetic dialogue it baffles me beyond belief that Mr Sorkin didn’t spend just a little bit more time creating something more substantial and original than this turd of a sub-plot. It serves as nothing more than an irritation and is a massive blot in an otherwise near flawless show.

Despite these two semi-minor flaws, The Newsroom is still a must watch. With informative and captivating story lines that are so very relevant to today’s society it is just like watching a well made and ridiculously entertaining documentary. It has only had two seasons so far with less than 10 episodes in each so it’s not that big of a commitment if you do choose to watch it. The third and final season will be out this autumn so you have plenty of time to catch up on it by then. Besides, season 3 of House of Cards isn’t out for a while so you have no excuse.

If you are still unsure whether or not this show is for you, I urge you to watch this clip below. It’s what captured my interest in the show and I guarantee it will do the same to you too.

About The Author

Head of Satire

Andy hails from a small village that is twinned with Deliverance. Since there is sweet eff-all to do there, he grew up listening to music whilst playing Nintendo and as a result has learnt the difference between good and bad music. Having just finished his Masters in Physics he is now on the hunt for a big-boy job but don't worry, music is still very much a priority in his life. Andy prefers Gigs over Clubs, Whiskey over Wine and Christina Hendricks over any woman ever made, ever.