I love Aaron Sorkin television shows. The West Wing, Sportsnight, even the short-lived Studio 60 on Sunset Strip. The characters are real, the storylines plausible and the shows don’t treat the audience as if they are idiots. Which is refreshing.
The Newsroom is based on the set of News Night with Will McAvoy, a late night news show on a cable channel in the US. Will (Jeff Daniels) is a conservative who feels that America has lost its way, being distracted by the posturing of the tea party movement and bad journalism. Luckily for him, along comes MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) a producer who passionately wants to change the face of the news. Unluckily for him, she is also his ex, and he is clearly still hung up on her. Guided by the news president of the station, Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) and supported by a huge and very strong cast, they face the onslaught of pressure from the cable company, tabloid scandal and their own relationship issues.
The show is held together by the personal storylines, and they are important, but who dates who and who wants to date who and, indeed, who used to date who… I’m not too fussed. What I like is the other stuff – how do they work together (and against each other) when the push comes to the shove? The show is based around real events – the first episode has them covering an event that most other shows are writing off as a less-important issue – the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In my (admittedly minimal) research for this review, I learnt that apparently HBO and Aaron Sorkin are still negotiating a third season. I hope whatever the issues are that they figure it out, because I feel this show still has a lot more to offer.