The Newsroom

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Thank goodness the season premiere of the Newsroom started this past Sunday. I didn’t know if I could make it until the new (and final) season of Breaking Bad starts and am a little depressed I have to wait months to see another glimpse of Tyrion Lannister or Robb Stark Jon Snow. There seems to be no reprieve from The Bachelor or Bachelorette (whichever one is destined for yet another fulfilling marriage) or whatever other crap is on this summer. Luckily outside of American Ninja Warrior, there is a good show that can keep my attention until the fall premieres come – The Newsroom.

If you haven’t checked out The Newsroom, I’ll try to give you a quick breakdown. The Atlantis Cable News company finally tires of the biased media of the modern world and decides to try something new. They bring in a new crew to start a brand new news station that refuses to cater to either the conservative or liberal audience and tries to present the news from an objective viewpoint. The news channel is led by renowned news anchor Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels. His boss, Charlie Skinner, played by Sam Waterston, brings in an executive producer that he thinks can get this job done. To McAvoy’s surprise, the executive producer also happens to be his ex-girlfriend. Their relationship ended in a pretty bad way, so this adds a nice wrinkle in the storyline the writers are able to build up pretty well. And though the news crew has a noble idea, they encounter a lot of pressure from ACN’s owner (played by Jane Fonda) since the station is losing viewers by not catering to a specific audience. The rest of the cast is made up of some pretty good actors and actresses that make up a solid crew, including Olivia Munn and Dav Patel.

Aaron Sorkin is pretty much the head of the operation, so as always with his work, there is plenty of fast-paced and witty dialogue, making the show run smoothly and always entertaining. Though the show covers some extremely interesting topics – from the Deepwater oil spill to the killing of Osama Bin Laden – it’s tough to say the show itself is not biased one way or the other. The way the show runs, it is usually covering events from about a year or more in the past. For example, the season 2 premiere is just now covering the Occupy Wall Street movement, which occurred in Fall of 2011. This gives the show the huge advantage of hindsight – meaning the show or the stories it covers is always on the right end and seems to somehow always get the stories right. By the time the show is made (the one on HBO not the fictional show), the producers and writers have all the information in front of them and are able to make their show look great and extremely ahead of any actual news stations. In reality, news channels are trying to report on these things as they are happening, not a year down the road.

It’s also pretty tough to miss that the show (both the real one and the fictional one) leans a little left. The first season is full of bashing the Tea Party and the Republicans, like Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin. The show attempts to somehow mitigate this by saying that McAvoy is a registered Republican and is just trying to hold his own party accountable. We will see what the second season has in store, but the first one falters a little in this aspect. With all the right-wing bashing and slightly liberal ideals, you have to give them one thing – they’re not wrong. The show is not lying about any information it puts out there. The writers and the producers have certainly done their homework and present a lot of interesting and thoughtful ideas.

This is one of those shows that actually gets you thinking about some of the ideas and arguments it puts forth, something I love in a summer filled with over-the-top reality shows and ridiculous plot lines. I found myself trying to learn about some of the economic and political views discussed in the show and was relieved to watch an intelligent and thought-provoking series. Even if you don’t enjoy the more liberal ideas, its worth a watch just for the exciting dialogue and healthy storyline outside of the news stories it covers. It beats trying to sit through an episode of Big Brother.

First Season – B+

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