Think about it: When was the last time there was a good, long-running show about a newsroom? “Murphy Brown” comes to mind, and that ended before I lost all of my baby teeth. One could make a case for the fifth season of “The Wire,” but again, that ended a while ago. Thankfully, now there’s the bluntly named “The Newsroom.”
It’s in good hands with Aaron Sorkin, because a newsroom is just one big walk-and-talk, anyway.
There are reviews here, here and here (which range from “well worth watching” to “preachy and from a writer who still can’t write roles for women”) from various writers and all giving a general synopsis of the show and rundown of characters. But I’m judging the show on the quality of its journalism. It does well.
Ignoring Sorkin’s wasted energy writing about failed relationships among the show’s characters, there was a lot right about journalism, the need for good reporting and what reporters do to get the story right the first time. It’s preachy about the current culture of TV news anchors and cable news on a 24-hour news cycle, but it wouldn’t be Sorkin if it weren’t trying to inform viewers as much as entertain them.
Which is precisely why I think it will fail. “The West Wing” tried to teach Americans about the presidency, “Sports Night” was about a plucky little sports show always running into problems with network brass obsessed with ratings, trying to say their way was the right one. “Newsroom” is more of the same, just different actors and, now that it’s on cable, more swearing. (Really, Sam Waterston as Charlie Skinner and Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, should just have their own show.)
The show has its faults, and really, I don’t feel bad for any of the characters, which is what doomed “Studio 60” in my opinion. It does get the busy newsroom interaction scenes spot-on, and friends from newspapers agree. To us, the first episode kept our attention because of the facts about the situation it gets right.
I’ll keep watching because this is a good news show, that could probably be great in a few episodes if it gets more “West Wing” and less “Studio 60.” Other non-newsroom junkies probably need not apply.