Post by Mike Spadoni on Jun 25, 2012 17:25:49 GMT 1
When Aaron Sorkin is at the top of his game ("The West Wing;" "SportsNight"), few television writers are his equal. And even a mediocre Sorkin effort ("Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip") is still interesting to watch. Sorkin's latest television project, "The Newsroom," is between those extremes--better than "Studio 60" but not yet reaching "West Wing" heights. For now, there's plenty of potential, with some yet to be realized. On the plus side, it's on HBO--a pay cable network where the rules are somewhat different for success (you live or fall on how many subscribers watch, as "Deadwood" and other programs have learned). The drama itself--centering on a cable news program and a host (Jeff Daniels) who's bland at a time when conservative and progressive shows provide plenty of heat but not much light--is Sorkin's ode to television journalism as a romantic enterprise. All his tricks are in place: Fast dialog, the "walk and talk" scenes, and occasional majestic speeches and lines. The weakest parts of "The Newsroom" have nothing to do with news: They're the (heterosexual) relationships between the major characters. And sometimes the series can get too political--but with a Sorkin series, it comes with the territory. At least it grapples with real-world issues, a rarity for American dramatic series, which seems to be obsessed with crime, vampires and vapid characters. In the end, I'll keep watching--faults and all. Why? It's Aaron Sorkin, for better or worse.
"Seeing a murder on television can help work off one's antagonisms. And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some."--Alfred Hitchcock