“The Newsroom” from HBO is back for its second season, and it’s showing us why they want to be THE Newsroom. In the first few minutes of the TV show we will be hit by several hard hitting news topics, a flashback, SOPA, and a fierce legal debate. Some interesting choices to make to start the season off. Sorkin probably began the season that way because he wants to change the critics opinion, which claims; “The Newsroom” must get off its high horse.
You might not be surprised by such a strong start of the season, because if you are a fan of Sorkin, you know what he is capable of and what to expect. For example, Sorkin wrote, “A few Good Men,” “Moneyball,” and won several Emmys, including critical acclaim for “The West Wing;” a TV drama series about an American President portrayed by Martin Sheen. Most of the people involved with that project thought that it wouldn’t become a popular show, because it was too political. In the end, according to Rob Lowe, if the writing is engaging, and the characters relatable even politics can become interesting, and entertaining. Sorkin applied the same logic to “The Newsroom,” that’s why he started with the SOPA topic. SOPA stands for, Stop Online Piracy Act. It is a hot topic online. It’s a good idea to have an in depth look into online piracy, but the ugly truth is that the real “pirates” won’t be caught. It will actually limit our own freedom, and large companies will be able to force smaller companies out of business. Nevertheless, it makes this topic an excellent one to start the season with.
Even though “The Newsroom” is a popular show, and they might even win several Emmy nominations in the coming week, most critics are not impressed by Sorkin’s work this time around. Maybe they expected more from him, or maybe he could not improve on his already incredible oeuvre. New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley had the following to say: “‘The Newsroom’ would be a lot better if the main characters preached less, and went back to reporting.” It appears that most critics concede that “The Newsroom” must get off its high horse and focus more on good drama, and stories.
Aaron Sorkin in response says: “This show isn’t meant to be a ‘here’s how you do it’ kind of thing,” Sorkin explained, “It’s a workplace show.” He doesn’t want to tell people how news should be presented. He just wants to show it from the most objective point of view possible. Either way, Aaron took the criticism to heart, and he re-wrote three episodes for season two. This resulted in having to go back to the set, and re-shoot scenes or even add new ones. Which in turn resulted in several million dollars that HBO had to cough up in extra production costs.
The main character of the show is portrayed by Jeff Daniels, Harry from “Dumb and Dumber,” adorable Bill from “Pleasantville,” not uncle Joey from “Full House,” even though he was considered for that role. (Dave Coulier got the part in the end and they could have been identical twin brothers, right?)
Jeff plays Will McAvoy the news anchor who has seen better days. He really wants to deliver the toughest news issues out there, and he does so during nightly newscasts. He has some help to get the news on the air and the assistance comes in the form of MacKenzie McHale, his ex-lover and the producer of the show (Emily Mortimer), his boss (Sam Waterston) and witty members of the team whose delicate personal lives boosts each episode.
Are you eagerly anticipating the premiere on Sunday? Do you agree with the critics that Sorkin is too preachy and that his show, “The Newsroom,” must get off its high horse? Let us know with your comments.
By Georgina Pijttersen