The Newsroom's Series Premiere: Soapbox Derby

The Newsroom S01E01: "We Just Decided To"

There are certain truths to be held as absolutes in this world. We know that so long as there is gravity, our feet will always be held to the earth. We know that so long as air fills our lungs, we may live. And we know that so long as a breathing Aaron Sorkin has his feet firmly planted on this earth, he will make shows featuring impossibly witty characters spouting long-winded speeches in highly rhythmic bouts of inhuman dialogue set against the backdrop of some high-stress, behind-the-scenes profession involving entertainment or politics or both. These are absolutes that cannot be unproven.

With this in mind, anticipating a new Aaron Sorkin series tends to be less about the content of the episodes than the overall setting and characters. Which is to say that, no matter what an episode is about, the dialogue will be of the same general tone and tenor as every other episode. The question then is whether or not the setting and characters speak to us in a way that captures our attention.

With Sports Night, Sorkin took a somewhat niche profession—the production of a major sports news television program—and created an unexpectedly engaging sitcom that centered on extremely interesting, yet still somewhat organic-feeling characters. With The West Wing, Sorkin went for a more ubiquitously interesting subject—the internal machinations of the White House—but kept the same rapid-fire pace and overall cleverness of Sports Night's characters. Then Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip happened. Many interesting words have already been written on the subject of what happened with Studio 60—chief among them, Nathan Rabin's years after-the-fact piece for the A.V. Club—but the brief summary is that the words had overtaken the setting and characters. Suddenly, everything felt hollow, inorganic, and quite frankly narcissistic.

I wish I could say that feeling had dissipated entirely from Sorkin's new series, the HBO drama The Newsroom, but it hasn't. Not entirely, anyway. However, while that feeling still pervades in spaces, the opening episode still showed a strong measure of promise. Of course, so did Studio 60's pilot.

The premiere opened with a scene that appeared familiar to anyone who'd seen the series' first trailer, with cable news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) seated between two mouthpieces from the left and right bickering at one another during a forum at Northwestern University. McAvoy shifted uncomfortably, unwilling or unable to parse the cacophony of partisan politics being shouted in his general direction. McAvoy's character, we learned, is something of a milquetoast presence these days, dubbed "the Jay Leno of cable news" for his unassuming, inoffensive brand of reporting. Finally, after the forum's moderator refused to let him leave without answering a young girl's question about why "America is the greatest country in the world," Will snaps into one of those all-encompassing, browbeating tirades Sorkin characters are so well-known for. That he asserts that America isn't the greatest country in the world by measurable statistics is shocking enough; that he actually backs it up with facts that prove both sides of the argument are basically bickering idiots is all the more unheard of, apparently.

Cut to three weeks later, and McAvoy returned to a newsroom decimated. Much of his staff jumped ship to a new anchor's debut 10pm show, leaving him with a skeleton staff of younglings whose names he seems doomed to never remember. Then along came the network's news director, played by a wonderfully un-Law & Order-like Sam Waterston. Waterston has a plan to revitalize McAvoy's career amid the blow-up... which, much to McAvoy's dismay, involves a new executive producer for the show, and that executive producer (played by Emily Mortimer) just so happens to be McAvoy's former girlfriend. She wants to build on McAvoy's suddenly disapproving demeanor, and plans to steer the ship toward some true north of journalistic idealism.

Familiar and similarly witted male/female leads who will engage in a lengthy bout of "will they or won't they"? Check. A crusading middle-aged male with a talent for writing and cleverly eviscerating his opponents verbally? Check. A supporting cast of interesting young actors all playing characters who are often misguidedly trying to navigate the minefield of office politics? Check. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I do believe The Newsroom is very much an Aaron Sorkin television program.

Unfortunately, the lack of humanity that plagued Studio 60 feels a little bit present here as well. The characters we have before us—the corporate newsman now freed of the bondage of popular opinion, the whip-smart and potentially still romantically interested producer, the alcoholic news director, the assistant who keeps accidentally wandering into increased responsibility—are all very interesting ideas, but whether or not Sorkin will bother getting down to the root of what makes them tick or not remains to be seen. The opening episode didn't offer a great deal of insight about anyone. Minor tidbits of histories and predilections were tossed out in casual dialogue, but there wasn't much insight into what drives any of these people, outside of hopeless idealism, the all-consuming desire to get ahead in life, and booze.

Still, as an introductory volley for what The Newsroom could be, the pilot offered plenty of tantalizing ideas that make me believe it could all work in the end. I find the decision to actually introduce real news stories as subject matter for the show compelling, if altogether risky. This episode revolved around the new producers and staffers coming together to help break the story on the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That was a massive story, with huge, far-reaching implications for BP, Haliburton, and our own federal government. Here, it's what drove the staff to eventually come together under the banner of breaking a potentially game-changing piece of news. This might seem like a somewhat capricious way to handle major real-world events, but outside of potentially offending the real-life journalist who actually broke the story, The Newsroom handled the piece with care and with largely nonpartisan (insomuch as you can ever be nonpartisan in any story about Haliburton) way.

That said, you also run the risk of turning the show into a Law & Order type of scenario, except instead of the level of creative obfuscation Dick Wolf always gets away with in his "ripped from the headlines" plots, you have real, honest-to-god news staring you straight in the face every week. That could get real uncomfortable real quick, if not handled with deft care.

I just wish I could feel anything for these people, even a little something. It's just the beginning of the season and Sorkin has plenty of time to show his hand, but the pilot's attempt at marrying the introduction of a self-serious news drama with a sitcom subplot about a couple arguing because the guy doesn't want to meet the girl's parents was more than a little awkward. Yes, significant screen time was dedicated to a spat between the boyfriend-and-girlfriend couple of McAvoy's former executive producer (Thomas Sadoski) and his assistant-turned-associate producer (Alison Pill). These two are actually two of the more interesting characters offered in the pilot, but the sussing-out of their barely clandestine office relationship needlessly brushed up against the more interesting news drama going on next to them.

At 75 minutes, the episode already felt a bit bloated solely by way of Sorkin's verbose dialogue. I just have a hard time seeing the lighthearted office comedy surviving in a battle of the fittest against the more important news show, and watching it try wasn't that much fun. If this is going to be more substantial stuff than "guy has crush on girl in relationship with other guy" and "aforementioned guy and girl relationship has some problems," then great. If not, then it's just going to get in the way.

Again, this is an interesting show, which is to say it's a show that I can't give a real criticism to yet, because it clearly hasn't found its legs at this juncture. The first half of the pilot wavered awkwardly between expedient, if not always coherent, character establishment and a great deal of overblown bickering between characters we barely understand yet. But once that eventual halfway point arrived, the episode found a rhythm as it depicted the staff slowly converging on the oil spill story, slowly showing more intelligence and capability, and eventually putting together a news program that I'm pretty sure every real news producer in the world would murder someone to have. Yes, this is perhaps not the most accurate portrayal of a newsroom's behind-the-scenes antics as you'll ever find, but neither really were Network, nor Broadcast News. Nor Sports Night, for that matter. But we love them anyway, because they make for incredibly entertaining drama. I have some hope that The Newsroom can get to the same level. Not a lot of it, necessarily, but some idealism is perhaps better than none.

Random Thoughts:

– Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston, and Alison Pill gave the standout performances in the show's opener. Mortimer is a great actress, but the pilot didn't show much of her character beyond what we've seen in every other strong-willed female character crafted by Sorkin. Pill at least brings an unusual energy and warmness to her part that makes her stand out. Daniels was a great casting choice for McAvoy, and Waterston's brilliant. It's nice to see him having some fun in his post-L&O;m> career. <p>

– No sign of Olivia Munn (who is pegged to be a series regular) nor Jane Fonda in this episode. Munn will be playing a financial reporter who works for the same network as McAvoy, while Fonda will make some periodic appearances as the CEO of the network's parent company.

– I have never worked in a newsroom before, so I won't be critiquing this series on its ability to get news production "right." I'm looking at this purely from an entertainment point of view. So long as they don't do anything too egregious, I'm willing to cut a little slack in the name of enjoying a story.

– How many episodes in do you think it will be before some actual reporter loses their mind over having a story that they broke featured on the show? I give it three episodes. Maybe four.

– As my good friend and yours Tim Surette dutifully pointed out in his preview of the series, for as much as this show purports to be equal-opportunity in its offending, Sorkin is most definitely a left-leaning writer, and it seems likely that we'll be getting a heavier skewering of Republican interests as opposed to Democratic. Just something to be aware of if partisan leanings bother you.


What did YOU think of The Newsroom's series premiere?

Comments (69)
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Great pilot and great actors. This is a good time for this story too. With news stations only able to get good rating and, what has become increasingly important, make money by being very partisan. As it was pointed out, I agree and would be shocked if this show didn't lean largely to the left but West Wing shared this trait and many if not most of my friends who consider themselves conservative or Republican liked it. Personally I hope he focuses on characters similarly to Sport's Night. My favorite shows are usually character driven.



To the main criticism here, I'm okay with the long witty comments because they're coming from 2 people that are supposed to be very smart. The primary source of this issue, Daniels' character, spends his life and makes his money talking. If he's supposed to be intelligent it doesn't bother me that he's witty. Also, the rest of the characters don't seem to be too witty (admittedly still early).



I'm really looking forward to this show and think HBO is a good place for Sorkin.
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Loved the show, I also liked Studio 60 and Sportsnight. I was wondering what was going on with the woman they kept showing, turns out it was MacKensie after all. Loved Waterson character, great departure from L&O.
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What I don't get is why people keep comparing everything Sorkin does to Studio 60 (which I loved btw) and holding it up as the epitome of everything that's wrong about Sorkin. Why not instead hold it up against The West Wing? In which case yes it's true Sorkin characters are bright eyed idealists but they're also real people trying to be the best they can in a less than ideal world. And yes it's true they can all be a bit too self important but it doesn't mean we love them any less. And finally yes if anyone knows how to pull off awkward romantic situations in a serious office environment it's Sorkin - Josh and Donna's office flirt was one of the most compelling relationship ever seen on TV.



This is only the pilot episode and as far as pilots go I've seen better but it's Sorkin and Sorkin at his worst is still 3 times better than most other dribble out there so needless to say I'll keep on tuning in. If this show gives me half the kick The West Wing used to I'll be the happiest TV viewer ever.



Also you spent over one and half paragraphs dissecting that silly relationship scene and complementing Allison Pill's performance (an enthusiasm I'm afraid I can't share) but didn't think of devoting a bit more time to Jeff Daniels and his character???
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Another wonderfully paced show with good dialogue from Aaron Sorkin. It was odd at first, to see that rhythm from Sam Waterson, who was usually more paused in L&O, but great to see him in a different light. The rest of the cast also seems appropriate in their roles, a little rough around the edges but only time will tell whether they will meld together and into their respective roles. I particularly like the Mackenzie MacHale and Jim Harper dynamic as well as the Charlie Skinner and Will McAvoy banter. Hopefully the show can be fresh and exciting every week even though they are covering old news. Perhaps the dialogue will shift between long winded speeches and regular conversions (very unlike Sorkin), so as to keep it in the air a little longer, and not have cut short like Studio 60.
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I loved it despite what the critics may say. You can't develop every character fully in one show - that takes a season or so - really it does. Too many shows never get the chance - I hope this one will. The storyline was engaging; the characters on introduction made me want to know them better; and the premise of reporters willing to speak facts rather than politically sanctioned opinion was quite a relief. I see promise in this show - I just hope it continues long enough to attain that promise. Besides - Jeff Daniels as the star - has to be good.
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Loved especially seeing Allison Pill again. Despite all the possible criticisms, I enjoyed watching the show. That's all I care about.
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Although someone made a joke about it on the open caption contest a few days ago, I never realized just how much dialog Sorkin recycles, until I saw this: http://youtu.be/S78RzZr3IwI . Wow!
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Loved it. Was looking forward to it since it was announced, and loved it!



Oh, and to those that talk about how Sorkin seems to write the same thing, is that really a bad thing, when what he writes is awesome? It's like in music, with Jim Steinman. If a Steinman song comes on the radio, you will know he wrote/produced it, just from the way it sounds. Most of his songs sound alike. And that is NOT a problem, because they all sound awesome! Sorkin is the same.
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I enjoyed it, but compared to West wing and Studio 60 where the scenes felt more intimate, in News Room, it feels a bit more open, almost empty feeling. I'm talk strictly about the physical scenes and not the acting nor the substance.
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very good first episode
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LOVED IT. Fantastic.
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I have a confession: there is nothing Sorkin has written (that I've seen) that I didn't love. That declaration made ... I don't think I can really contribute to the discussion except that I am excited for this series ... and what we learned at the elevator in the last scene: priceless.
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That opening sequence was BRILLIANT. The rest of the episode was just terrific TV, like anything I've ever seen. Love it, as much as the pilot of Lost, Breaking Bad or Homeland. My heart and my mind was blown away.
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I liked this show! Also liked Studio 60

Better than another reality show or mindless sit com with a laugh track!!!!!!!
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Interesting, but heavy show. The opening scene was powerful. then I got lost in the long discussions about petty office politics. The show returned to its greatness in the final minutes with the TV broadcast.



Is America the greatest country in the world? Even considering I'm not an American, I might disagree with Will. To me what makes a country "great" has a very subjective definition. Someone might find Italy the greatest country for its culture, Iraq for the return of democracy, or whatever. You can't blame someone for being patriot. But does America have the best standard of living in the world? Then no, because that's something objective.



I loved they mentioned so many other countries have freedom. I can't believe that some Americans use that as a catch phrase, as if freedom was to America what wine is to France. There's freedom everywhere. But the show seemed to have made the same mistake when it suggested journalism with integrity was meant to bring America back to the greatness it used to have, suggesting that integrity in journalism is an American trait. In fact a show like Newsroom is so captivating because people in some many countries can identify with it, as freedom, integrity, independence of the Press is such a present topic these days. The message I had was that any society can become a better place with better journalism.



Last, but by no means least, of course they are going to make fun of the Right on TV. The Right is much more fun to make fun of. Take George W. Bush, with the reputation of being an uncontrollable cowboy, religious fundamentalist and plain stupid unable to pronounce simple words. That's everything comedians and critics want. On the other hand, how can you use Obama as a punch bag, considering he is the first black president and his election alone was a symbol of deep and necessary social changes?



And I think the Republicans don't mind being ridiculed in fiction. I mean, as long as they keeping holding the real power in reality...



Just my two cents.
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It was a strong start to what will hopefully be a great series. While it hasn't reached the heights of The West Wing yet (duh, this is just the pilot episode), it has a lot of the things I love from that show. The passionate characters, the wit that is thrown into the script to lighten the mood, the tightly-written dialogue, the strong actors that do a great job selling the characters. So far the show seems very promising, hopefully the quality will be fairly consistent the whole season.
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I actually found the show quite enjoyable



I hate mad men in the sense where its a show where nothing happens...ever



but even though someone could make the argument that this falls under the same type of show... I dunno...I just found this entertaining
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Absolutely loved the opening monologue as Jeff Daniels/McAvoy just skewered the entire audience in the gut as he proclaimed that the US is not actually the best country in the world. People actually looked on the verge of tears as if this perfect idea they have of their nation were being torn apart right in front of them. Absolutely loved it.
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I thought it was a decent start but I guess the part when Will discover's Mackenzie's coming back on board took a long time to hammer through. Thoroughly entertained but the pace has to continue instead of stagnate in my opinion. Looking forward to the next episode (and a sneaky glance at Olivia Munn, who was absent this time round)
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Aside from the slight headache I got after maybe the third (maybe it started during the second) rambling and long-winded jibber-jabber, I thought this was a fantastic episode. One of the better parts of the show is definitely the humor sprinkled in between all the eggheaded dialogue. Sam Waterston, in particular, was fantastic and funny.



I don't mind that almost all of the characters are smarter, quicker, and wittier than most of the people I've met. I meet a lot of idiots, and I've always assumed there are over 7 billion people out there smarter and/or quicker-minded than I, so I don't have a problem with a show deciding to make almost every character that smart, quick, and/or witty.
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I laughed out loud when Sam Waterston just lost his **** and yelled something like "I'm a Marine, I will beat you to DEATH if you don't shut up" or something.



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I did not watch any of his other shows, but I very much enjoyed that. I'll keep watching.

It was quixotic?

Very true that you need a dictionary to watch the show. I have no idea what that word and half a dozen others meant while watching.
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Disappointment for me. Hated all the characters (except Daniels), secretary Ellen/Maggie drove me nuts, by the time Mckenzie appeared I changed the channel.



Will not be tuning in again.
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Sorry, but my emotions told me I was watching something pretty great so I guess I musta liked it. What I don't like is people telling me what I should and shouldn't like. It still amazes me that people spend millions of dollars in an effort to entertain me and quite often succeed. There's a new burger joint down the street called Shorty's Steakburgers and I want them to succeed badly...because they make my tummy happy once or twice a week, it's like that...
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Damn, how I missed you, Sorkin. Don't care about what anyone says regarding West Wing or even Studio 60 (sooooo misunderstood), I just love Sorkin's writing. Give me a handful of seasons of exactly this and I will be the most faithful viewer ever.
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This show is genius if you are a liberal living in lala land. But as a Conservative, the absolutely most Conservative character on the show is by definition a liberal.



It's another sliding scale of insanity written by the mentally ill. Evil Corporations. Good news anchors like that not so hidden Communist called Cronkite. It's fantasy land. No mention of BP's largest donor recipient being Barack Hussein Obama. That must have been too hard to look up.



This is going to reinforce the stupidity of liberals, and continue to insult the facts presented by Conservative's. When every character is for maximum government, there is no Conservative viewpoint. And that, ladies and gents, is the real point of this show. Tolerance through ignorance.
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Such a visceral response. I guess the fact that you're so angry means you care...? Though President Obama hasn't acted like an DC outsider when in comes to corps. I find it hard to believe that his response to BP or the disaster was affected by donations from BP. He did however get about 71,000 but it was from individual employees of BP (he didn't accept PAC money during campaign) which still only works out to less than 1/100 of 1% of what he got from all the donations to his campaign (I do think his responses were affected more by the opinions of Republicans and how he'd be attacked for his response. If he would have just jumped in and slammed BP and took over the issue he would have been attacked for Gov takeover and using taxpayer money when BP could have done it). -As a side note, Senator McCain did receive about $37,000 from BP (don't know if it's from individuals with BP, a BP PAC , or combination of the 2).
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Actually, the point was the opposite of "tolerance through ignorance." It was about the duty of the journalism being to inform the nation. We can't have a national discourse without all the facts.

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There are thin skinned ideologues on both sides of the aisle and if this show does it right it will upset both of them. Being a Sorkin production I'm sure the Right will get more of a beating but frankly they are more firm/rigid in their positions and therefore have more to attack (to paraphrase the right .. the left can be wishy washy aand it is harder to attack someone if they don't stand for anything).



I thought the opening monologue hit it pretty well and attacked not only empty statements by talking heads but organizations like the NEA. It's a good start and hopefully will find a good balance because if we are honest with ourself ... both sides need a kick in tne rear.
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Would you care to offer specifics about how this show in any way resembles the nonsense that you just spewed?
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Yeah, what he said!!!
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ditto
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I loved it!
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I thought the pilot was pretty fantastic.

I agree on all parts about the dialogue stretching just a tad too far away from realism. I don't think these characters have ever experienced the "5 minutes later and now I have a great comeback for that argument!" moment. Still, I've always loved Sorkin's style of wit and humor.

The first ten minutes of the pilot were the best, though. McAvoy's speech about how America is not the greatest country of the world was so completely and painfully true. He shot right to the core of our country; we are really just a screwed up nation with one of the world's most polarized populations.

I sort of wish the real news was more like this show's portrayal. Maybe I would actually bother watching.
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<> No, apparently they haven't, because then the show would be like Seinfeld. (I remember when George Costanza had quite a few moments like that.) A good example was when Will had all those statistics at the tip of his tongue in the opening scene. And he did all that without quoting Wikipedia...
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It was fantastic! But I'm not surprised! Sorkin is always at his best!
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Watching this show as a Canadian is ... odd.



I've grown up on American News. I know more about the politics of your country than I do my own. Which isn't to say I know nothing about Canadian politics, it's just that they're no where near as interesting. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and ABCNews have all been watched in my household throughout my formative years. And what this simple Canadian has noticed from afar is one of the prominent messages Sorkin is trying to make through this show.



You guys are polarized as fuck.



Liberal/Conservative, Red State/Blue State, Democrat/Republican, Tea Party/We Are The 99%. Labels, labels, labels. You shouldn't be defined by what party you affiliate with.



The news in America seems to always have a narrative attached to it. Be it left leaning or right. Fox News is the master at spinning a story and redefining it to fit their script, but they're not the only ones who do this. They're just the best at it. Even this show talks about "framing" the news. When did context become more important than substance?



I loved the premier of Newsroom. It is an intelligent show that may be a tad verbose at times, but it's raising issues that need to be discussed. Politics in America has morphed into a partisan melee. It has been corrupted to its very core. Money is speech. Corporations are people. Special interest lobbying is apropos. An open and honest debate needs to be had. News needs to inform, not misinform. The public must take notice and engage in the national debate. Apathy is the death of enlightenment.



The only "News" shows that are actually doing what the fictional "Newsroom" aspires to do are not News shows at all. They are Faux-News. The Daily Show with John Stewart and The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert are on the front lines of these issues. They remove the filter through which the news is now conveyed and strip it bare for all to see. Will McAvoy would like these guys.



I'm a fan of impassioned speeches and snappy dialogue that is too witty for its own good. I can't wait to see how this show will cover the various stories of the past two years. It's a bold premise that is sure to inspire some honest debate.



And I think that is precisely what Sorkin wants to achieve.
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Very well said, sir!
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Oh, forgot to answer the question about real reporters.



-For all you out there, I am sorry if you feel you are/were misrepresented by this show. I know nothing about your craft and it's one reason I would have rather seen fictitious current events rather than past events. But it's fiction, so I'll enjoy it either way. Also, I will not be surprised if some reporters choose to skewer this show.
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What no one should want who cares somewhat of this show is that becomes a serious uptake to Bill Maher's Real Time. By that I mean, that news become a commodity of wit instead of a commodity of reflection on the world we actually do live in. revisiting old news we will soon get bored as I frankly was beyond the fact that the premiere wanted to camp its positions on an issue the American peoples are familiar with. In fact if the series will have any impact is with a new take, new ideas on the resolution of existing conflict not necessarily that espoused by the mainstream national positioning. Issues that perhaps present a new paradigm for the Mideast conflict, a genuine reflection on the real meaning of freedom and democracy, most of which most Americans totally ignore. Up to what point does "laissez-faire. laissez-aller" compromise the authentic foundations of capitalism as it has been expounded by Adam Smith.

If the show will be simply the internal relationship within a newsroom, it will not survive.
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I liked the premiere. It's true I liked "Studio 60..." while many didn't, though. Partially, I like to think that's because I don't care whether Sorkin wrote it as an homage to his ego (there seems a consensus that he did). I liked the show because it had great dialogue, characters I enjoyed watching, and told some interesting stories. "The West Wing" was of course loved by many and "Sports Night" was loved but not by too many. He writes dialogue and can frame a story well. Looking at his movies, the last three were great. But then "Charlie Wilson's War" was history, and "The Social Network" and "Moneyball" were both books, and those last two were much more popular than the first. What I'm saying is that if Sorkin can relinquish enough power to let someone else create the story, this could get awesome (Thomas Schlamme was instrumental in focusing "The West Wing" but his credit is noticeably absent from this show). The events in these shows will be from history, but none of these characters are and that's where we could get into some trouble. I was also not aware that this show was set in the past about real events. I figured he'd do like he did for "The West Wing" and just make it all up (I think that might have been the safer route). I am one of Sorkin's biggest fans, and his dialogue is pretty much enough in itself to get me to love a show (and yes I know that it's unrealistic and no I don't care), but I am routinely told that I am an unusual person and just pleasing me isn't going to give you a hit.



-Daniels was great, I don't know him from much. Waterston was FABULOUS (or maybe I just think that because I am SOOO used to seeing him as ADA Jack McCoy and was delighted with a complete separate character). Alison Pill was really unusual, and I think I like it.

-Oh well. I'm sure we'll see enough of Olivia Munn. And Jane Fonda is Jane Fonda.

-Yes. I have never worked in a newsroom before either and will also give it much slack in that regard. I want to enjoy the story. Well crafted story-telling draws me, and that's enough. Though bonus points if he gets it somewhere in the area of right (though I wouldn't know whether or not he earned the points because what do I know).

-As a big fan of Sorkin, and a staunch Republican, let me say YES. He is liberal, and writes it. He tries to maintain the middle but fails noticeably. I can still enjoy it, as long as I don't take it personally. I was okay for "The West Wing", so I figure I'll be fine on this one. But President Obama has taken some heat since 2010, and given the clear intentional choice to put this show right there, it would be sad not to see this show not use those aspects of recent history. (For liberals out there, I'm not saying this because I want to see President Obama bashed even though he's not my favourite politician. I am saying that I have no doubt that this show will have enough left-ward leaning moments. I wouldn't mind seeing some right-ward moments, too, and there have been some.)
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And here I thought I was the only Studio 60 lover out there... Killing cast, great writing and made me see SNL with different eyes.
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Absolutely loved it. It's been a while since I hadn't seen such a clever, witty show.
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Can I also say how AWESOME it is that they called his show "News Night". And again, someone call Josh Malina. Stat.
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I loved this episode and I liked all of the characters except Don. But I guess every show needs a resident douche. I also loved Sports Night and The West Wing. And really, the only reason that I didn't like Studio 60 was that there was so much life and death level drama for behind the scenes of a comedy show. It makes way more sense in a white house or high profile news room setting. I'm just glad Aaron Sorkin is back and I can't wait for next week!
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Great episode and showing lots of promise. first ten minutes reminded me of Studio 60 with Matt perry and Bradley whitford in that it showed a rare grittiness in the world of television and behind the scenes. Will's speech at the beginning was spot on (even if it was alarmingly close to the truth in content) though Mackenzies speech later seemed wooden in comparison. all in all though, the quick fire conversation and the energy the newsroom channeled made me hope this sticks around a while (Studio 60 was equally good and yet cancelled after one season).
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I thought it was a good episode. I never watched Sportsnight and wasn't in the country while Studio 60 was on the air. What I like about it is the two speeches. Wills first one, and Macs. I think it is more an indictment of the Media as it exists today. Which is to say it sucks and doesn't do what it was supposed to. I think this might be Sorkin showing people in the media what they should be doing. The thing I loved about it was not HBO. It had nothing to do with annoying dbag actors, vampires, Girls that don't live in reality. It was it's own thing and I think it could be great. However, Will's thing is going to be constantly pointing out how dumb things are mostly the public and it is of my experience that people don't like it when you point out how stupid they are. Because he is talking about the audience not just the audience in their world, but the audience that is watching the show. So it will be interesting to see how they walk that line. But good first start and I am a viewer.
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Awesome first episode. Jeff Daniels was sensational and the supporting cast worked well together. Good dialog and acting. HBO could be on to a winner
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God I've missed Sorkin.



I loved this episode, it was everything I had hoped for and then some.



Who cares that Sorkin seems to use the same formula for what he does? As far as I'm concerned, that's what makes them awesome. I think the reviewer is too worried about 'being able to criticise this show', as he puts it; and too worried about the drama around the characters. You know, if you're looking for drama of that kind I'm pretty sure there's a gazillion other shows for you. This show is about news and politics, and how they interlace. That's what you should be looking for and analysing, not if the boyfriend is going with the girlfriend to the dinner - that's just a bonus for connectivity with the characters (which again... not what this show is about).



"The death of bitchiness, the death of gossip and voyeurism". That's what she's talking about. That's what Sorkin is talking about. Somehow, it's these things that the reviewer is looking at in this show.



Sorkin is on the left side of things yes - and he has never tried to hide it - , but his message is and has been pretty clear in every show he has done - People in high powered positions should be Passionate about what they do, and do it with integrity. Liberal, democrat, conservative, republican, whatever you associate yourself to, that message should apply to you.
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I couldn't say it better myself.
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Loved the episode, hope Olivia Munn doesn't ruin the show like she ruins everything else.
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Good episode but that opening sequence was LONG! Longer than Homeland's even!



And I loved Studio 60 as well. I don't get the hate it gets.
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I absolutely loved Studio 60, I liked it more than Sports Night, so I don't really agree with what you think about that part of Sorkin's writing. The problem I had with Studio 60, despite liking it, was that it felt more political than a behind-the-scenes-of-SNL-like show should be. Here, you have people giving you the news, politics are a big part of that, and as a result, it doesn't bother me.



Character development will probably come eventually. In my opinion, I had a hard time remembering the names of people in the first season of The West Wing, same with Sports Night, same with the first viewing of Studio 60. I'm expecting to slowly get used to these people, and so far, it seems like they're doing that.



Anyways, The Newsroom. I thought it was great, maybe slightly less "fun" than Studio 60, The West Wing, and Sports Night, but I still enjoyed it a lot. Alison Pill was great, and I loved her in Scott Pilgrim.
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I absolutely loved it. All of it. But then I absolutely loved Studio 60.

I' allready in love with the two love stories and all of the politics as well. I think the casting is great and also - I learned stuff from whatching. I like it when that happens.

I never wanted the episode to end and I am looking forward to next weeks episode.
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wow, strange review, so far from what I thought about it.

Personally, I loved it, great characters, very interesting story, the snappy dialogue is fantastic, the setting is very realistic and the overall feeling is very good indeed.

I truly think that HBO has another winner here, let's hope that people watch it and that we get the time needed to really enjoy this one.
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been hearing people say this wasn't good and some say it was.. I would fall in with the latter. I didn't really like how it took place two years ago but whatever. I haven't ever seen and probably will never see The West Wing because honestly I hate most anything to do with politics which is why I was weary of a show about a news show but I gave it a shot anyway because I really liked Sports Night and even Studio 60.. Was it great? No. Some parts seemed to drag a little but that's probably because it was like an hour and 12 minutes and the first half was setting up stuff which is what happens in pilots.. but I still thought it was good, it was only the pilot afterall and I'm sure it'll get better as it goes along. Plus Emily Mortimer and Alison Pill are in it, and I didn't realize Dev Patel was going to be on as well.. I was sort of confused as to why the credits had Olivia Munn but she's not there yet though.



also.. did anybody else immediately think Eric Neal from MMS was Jesse Eisenberg?
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I'm sorry but.. you hate anything to do with politics?! That's like saying, you hate everything. This show is incredibly politicized, yet you liked it. Studio 60 was incredibly politicized, yet you liked it. Never say something like 'I hate anything to do with politics', because politics is everywhere. If you say stuff like that to seem cooler, don't. You sound even dumber and ignorant.
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you zeroed in on exactly the wrong thing my comment was about. and I didn't say it to sound cooler, which one of the problems with politics today is that people are just trying to be popular and don't actually do anything to make anything better. and if you read what I said, I said I hate most shows that deal with politics because it's too polarizing. one side is always made out to be idiots and the other is perfect when neither are true.
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Yeah but... people who get into doing shows about politics are not doing it to show you how wonderful politics are, it's because they have an opinion and want to voice it through characters and plot. Even having said so, there are plenty of times where democrats and even the main characters are made fun of, or downright humiliated, by republicans on the West Wing because their view is not the best one.



Look man, politics is about having an opinion, and facing other people who go from fully agreeing with you to wishing you were dead. You can't be neutral in politics, you have to take a stand on the issues, otherwise, you're not in politics at all. I'd strongly advise you to go ahead and watch the 7 seasons of the West Wing. It's brilliant. And if you don't like it, spend your time criticizing what they do and how they go about doing it. Because that's what matters, having an opinion (rather than being ignorant and not having one at al (and I'm not saying this is what you're doing)).
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I loved it. The thing about Sorkin is that it isn't uncommon to take a while before you really care about his characters. You eventually begin to like them because of their conviction and their intelligent dialogue. Sure he's gonna lean left (he always has), but like Jon Stewart he'll drill the left too - he's not a Bill Maher. And since he's dealing with news organizations, we can expect this to be the case because many independent studies have shown that Fox News is much worse when it comes to being partisan than the the most left media, like MSNBC.



I've missed Sorkin's dialogue though and am glad it's back. The West Wing and Studio 60 are often on in our house. It'll be nice to get some new material :)
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I thought this was a really really good show...HBO has another winner...I will be staying tuned
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Dev Patel is fantastic, lovable and should grow a lot on the show. He seemed like fresh air in the midst of all those same old faces.
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I graduated from my college's Broadcast Journalism program on Friday so I found this show absolutely riveting. I found it a little slow when the focus was on Jeff Daniels' history with Emily Mortimer but as soon as the BP oil spill stuff started, I was glued to my TV.
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I am going to be attending a Journalism program in the upcoming fall semester and halfway through the episode I was just like, "If everyone in the program is this clever and witty, I'm screwed".
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I truly loved this show. I am old enough to remember Edward R. Murrow's show and Walter Cronkite. What was amazing about their shows (and what I have missed for years), was that they were not afraid to tell the truth. They were not trying to entertain, but to give us the news. I also felt like the fast conversation was fantastic and reminded me of the great movies of the 1940s when talking to one another wasn't seen as boring!
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