HBO's NewsRoom (Sorkin) Season 1

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by mattCR, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. Joe_H

    Joe_H Screenwriter

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    I enjoyed the third episode myself and thought it was an improvement from the second. That being said, I do wonder if it was a little too political for some. I mean, despite the character of Will being a Republican and trying to 'take back his own party', Sorkin's views definitely shone through in that episode.
     
  2. ScottH

    ScottH Producer

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    Yeah this show seems to have much more of an agenda than even West Wing did. Can be annoying no matter which side of the spectrum you fall on.

    I really enjoyed the pilot, didn't like the 2nd episode, and enjoyed the 3rd. Jeff Daniels is good, but I'm not sure I buy a guy with a lisp being a major on-air news anchor.

    So did that last episode actually cover 6 months time?
     
  3. Mikah Cerucco

    Mikah Cerucco Cinematographer

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    I'm seeing various forms of that statement so just to clarify... HBO does care about ratings. But they care about all ratings, and they care about who is watching the show, not the advertising. Thus a 70-year-old person who subscribes to HBO to watch Game of Thrones repeats 4 days after original airing is valuable to HBO. In traditional advertising, that person wouldn't be watching soon enough for the advertisers, and probably won't buy the advertised product anyway, so they're essentially discarded. HBO cares about total (legit) viewers. But while they care about different ratings, they care about them just as much.
     
  4. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Roughly, considering that the prior episodes were covering the Deepwater Horizon which sank in April of 2010 and the third episode covered the November elections of 2010.
    - Walter.
     
  5. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Ugh. Yeah, I get it now. This was.. yeah, not good.

    Snappy dialog about nothing. We'll see.
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    This is all absolutely true, but to add HBO also cares about buzz. A lower-rated show that generates a lot of buzz can be more valuable than a higher-rated show that gets no buzz. They care about subscriptions, so shows that get talked about keep the brand desirable and keep the network in the public consciousness.
     
  7. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    We've now gotten through the four episodes critics based their opinions upon, and it is clear to me why they didn't like the show for the most part. Here's hoping episode 5 begins the road to recovery. At this point, my biggest issues are:
    1) Will is an asshole. Yeah, they tried to make him look good by giving some money to the alien cab driver on the sly but that's just not good enough. We've seen him be completely selfish, totally arrogant, and callous beyond belief. We've seen him yell and throw fits. And, this episode we got to see him lecture women from the most holier than thou place possible. He's an asshole, and Sorkin needs to figure out a way for him to NOT be an asshole.
    2) All the characters in our two love triangles act ridiculously immature, obnoxious, boorish, selfish, and irrational. They are caricatures of characters we've seen before in other Sorkin dramas and at this point I could give a flying foo if anyone gets together with anyone else. They all deserve to go down burning together as a bunch of immature, self-absorbed children at this point. Quit lecturing each other, quit acting like children, stop with the cliched, telegraphed love games. It's annoying.
    3) If you want your show to bring nobility back to news reporting you cannot simply report on what others are doing wrong. You know who 'reports' (and it's not reporting...it's playing ratings games of gotcha) on when Rush, Beck, Hannity, et al are lying or get something wrong? Olbermann, Schulz, Maddow, et al. You know who 'reports' on Olbermann, Schulz, Maddow, et al lying or being wrong? Those first guys. This is not reporting. This is not news. This is not noble. It is what I thought Sorkin was purporting that Will and the Newsroom cast would be overthrowing. You know what else? Reporting on the lies and mistakes of the opposite side does not "inform the electorate". Because the shows that do this are watched by the people who already agree with it. You aren't informing anyone - you are supporting the view they already have. I would really love to see a little more "Broadcast News" here and see a staff truly trying to inform an electorate. I doubt I will.
    4) On the tail end of that thought...in this specific episode, I thought the handling of the Giffords shooting was appalling. 9 people are dead, and a woman has brain damage....and, they are going to get on a high horse because they managed to NOT report that she was dead? They're going to fist pump and cheer themselves for having the 'nobility' (which, here, is really just Sorkin having hindsight to know the other news networks jumped the gun) to hold off? Is Sorking saying the news networks went for ratings? It's awfully convenient and elitist/arrogant to state such a thing. Particularly since NOTHING was given to us for WHY they didn't report it other than 'it didn't feel right'. That's not news, Sorkin. That's you knowing what really happened. And, that is a repeat of the mistakes made in the pilot as well as poor taste to celebrate in the wake of a true tragedy.
    All 4 problems point to the same thing: lazy writing. I hope they improve.
     
  8. Stan

    Stan Producer
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    DVR is filling up so time for some cleanup or marathon TV time.
    I trust you guys and have yet to watch this so have four episodes stored up. The only reason I recorded it was because of Jane Fonda, but saw her on a talk show and looks like she has a fairly small part.
    Is this worth getting into or just dump it and move on? Loved VEEP and you guys turned me onto that one, is this anywhere near the quality and enjoyment level?
     
  9. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I'm very mixed. Look, it could turn into something really interesting. But the problem is there are moments on this show that are incredibly frustrating. I don't find any of the characters (outside of Sam Waterston) worth rooting for. Will, as is mentioned above, comes off often and in full bore as holier-than-thou pompous asshole / know-it-all. That makes it hard to root for him as a character.
    I'm not sure. I'll have to see where this goes.
     
  10. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Cinematographer

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    I actually root for him because of that :)
     
  11. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    The fourth episode had moments, but as it mostly focused on the romantic subplots in the newsroom, it wasn't good. The substantive parts of the show (like when the staff scrambled on the shooting story) were good (although even that was hampered by the contrivance that everyone just happened to be in the office on a Saturday morning). These characters aren't real people, because they have nothing else in their lives but work. Moreover, the romantic stuff is so juvenile that it hurts their characters' credibility.
     
  12. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    My only real problem with the show is the occasional bad sitcom moments. Stuff like Mackenzie accidentally sending out a personal e-mail to everyone in the office, Maggie being a pain in the ass in episode 2 for laughs and Will meeting his dates at the office & Mackenzie acting stupid in front of them should be too obvious and embarassing for a hack sitcom to use so they seem completely out of place here.
    Other than that, I enjoy the show quite a bit.
     
  13. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    Having just watched this episode, I wanted to offer a counterpoint. I will grant that Sorkin is using an actual tragedy in service of his point, however I never felt that it was distasteful. In my opinion, it was clear that the reason they did not call the death was because there was no second source. The other outlets just cited the first source without confirmation. Taking a single person at their word without confirming with anyone is not just questionable from an ethical point of view but also from a legal point of view. I think Sorkin would make the argument that the use of this event for dramatic purposes is symbolic of the respect due anyone who is a subject of a news story, as a human being.
    To the point that Will is a jerk, I don't see this as a problem. How much more awful and unrealistic would a show be that has a main character perfect to a fault who crusades against things? You can at least take away from this show that the character may be too idealistic, which can be dangerous. From the way that Will was written in this episode and what Sorkin said in his commentary following the episode, he knows exactly what criticisms will be made toward him, and he's willing to admit it's hard to swallow.
    Ultimately, this show works for me because I like seeing people who are good at what they do and people who are idealistic. The complications of reality can be minimized or overlooked, sure, but that sense of standing up for something is hugely compelling to me.
     
  14. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/07/19/the-newsroom-writers/
    Well Sorkin let's most of the writing staff go.
     
  15. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Quoted for truth.
     
  16. ScottH

    ScottH Producer

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    I pretty much agree with this. It does seem they are trying too hard for laughs. I'm now one episode behind, but I just watched the "dreaded" 4th episode and didn't think it was that bad. The thing that bothered me most about it was all of that Big Foot nonsense. What was the point of that? It wasn't funny in any way. You can't even call it filler because they could have cut out every Big Foot scene/reference and still come in at around 55 minutes for the episode. I think they made a really poor decision keeping that in the show.
     
  17. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    The fifth episode seemed a big improvement over the fourth. I'll stick with it til the end of the season at least, but it's the romantic subplots that are doing the show the greatest disservice.
     
  18. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Even in 2010, news forums from MSNBC and others offered a Facebook connect which would address 90% of these issues.. for as awesome as their software is, it doesn't seem to keep good logs? I don't know, I had hoped this would go in a different direction
     
  19. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    I thought the sixth episode was pretty good. Lots of flashbacks but the narrative was very strong. I did catch a few pieces of dialogue that were straight out of earlier Sorkin shows (West Wing, Studio 60).
     
  20. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    I thought this week's episode was the most assured yet. It completely won me over and had me feeling like I just watched a great feature film. Only a couple moments (a joke here and there, the ultimate revelation of Will and his desk drawer) seemed to go too far, but I can overllook those easily. And I was thrilled to see Olivia Munn get a storyline to carry. I was originally skeptical of her casting, however I have been floored by how well she takes to Sorkin's material.
     

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