HBO's NewsRoom (Sorkin) Season 1

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

  1. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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  2. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    I've enjoyed the last few episodes a lot more than the early ones, but the show still has moments of implausibility. For example, in this Sunday's episode (no. 9), the crew goes to great lengths to be able to present this mock debate, only to debut it before the RNC guys who will decide whether to use it, and they don't. The thing is, there's no way any of those people would be surprised that the RNC wouldn't go for that format. (The format is a good one BTW.) Established news professionals know enough about the political process and the party system to understand that the people who make those decisions would never allow a format in which their candidates get treated aggressively. I see what Sorkin is doing - he's showing a better debate format - but by squeezing it into the show, he makes the circumstances unbelievable.
     
  3. Joe_H

    Joe_H Screenwriter

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    The episode to which you're referring is the first one where I had trouble watching, just because it was too ridiculous. Between the debate, and Neil's "OMG people are mean on the internet" apparently breaking news story, it was just stupid.
     
  4. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    I enjoyed the first season finale, although even in this better-than-most episode, when the story turns from its main focus (Will getting out of the hospital and ready to do the news) and instead goes to the Jim-Maggie-Don romantic subplot, the show stops cold. But, overall, it was a worthwhile season and I will be tuning in again next year for the second batch of episodes.
     
  5. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Without going hard into politics, the problem with the way the season ended is that Will basically became say, Keith Olberman. Not that there is anything per se wrong with that, but the hitch is that like Olberman, his attention to details is lacking; he gave broad brushes to all of those who he sees as ridiculous and painted them as such. He has every right to do that... numerous anchors... right/left on the air do, whether it's someone like Olberman or someone like Hannity.. it's just a way of viewing the world. The hitch is that the farther he got into the rail, the more the drive for a subtle, thoughtful exercise of journalism went by the wayside and the more it became a "worst people in the world" segment.

    The bigger problem with this show is that way too many times it gets "too cute by half".
    Will, as a character is the bold, riteous, forward leader.. while they brought up things like 'he was high on the air" and an accidental depressive overdose (?) he's still right as rain to come in and make demands of the CEO.

    This show to me waffles between really good, overly wonkish, and at times a bit demeaning.

    I'm still reeling from a subplot where MacKenzie, who is a pulitzer prize-winner, did two tours in Afghanistan that got a crew member killed or something, and was "the best producer in the business" couldn't figure out how email works. Or that despite her tours of duty with a war-zone media team, she seems to have a lot of freak outs/panic attacks/just runs off the rails often.

    Or how all of the girls on the show seem - even the smart ones - to completely fall apart at the hopes of winning the guy, or just need a guy to 'set them straight'. Our bold financial reporter? Guidance from Will crushes her so she goes on the air and does something stupid. Young office girl? Just needs a boss to bark at her to show a male role model cares for her. And so on.. I've never seen more women in a show who desperately needed a male role model to boss them around, it's as though they all stepped out of a 1950s show.

    In fact, all of the women are so weak-knee wussies that it's hard for me to envision any of them getting so far. Think about Maggie, recounting a story about hiding under a bed while her then bf (or whatever) had sex with someone else. What was that? Oh, just another sign that she's meek and really needs to grow as a person.. then HOW did she get this job? Oh, wait, that's answered in the last episode, where Will busts in on the girl he yelled at at the college, because that public humiliation was enough to make her want to work for him, and don't worry, a little verbal abuse that ends with "hire her" is all that girl was looking for all day long. I mean, what woman doesn't want to be publicly humiliated as part of a youtube buzz-line and then dressed down in front of a future boss to at the very end be rewarded for taking it? Why, that's apparently ever girl in Sorkin's worlds dream.

    My last swipe is this: I hate the equation game. "American Taliban".. yeah, let's put our cards in order, here.. as much as I may have serious political disagreements with the tea party, and may have serious political disagreements with say, PETA, it doesn't mean I'm equating either of them.. as a whole.. with terrorists. There may be elements or members I associate with those issues, but it's hard to brandish an entirety as such; in fact, it's pretty bad reporting. I found it a bit laughable especially when they had went out on a limb in earlier episodes to show that people from Kansas didn't know who the Koch's were (which is goofball) as a way to show the tea party people were "uninformed".. but they are apparently informed enough to be equated with fully adopting the most radical elements to a man/woman, and can be equated with a group of terrorists.

    You just can't have it both ways. They can't be so dumb they don't know what their cause is to so informed and dangerous.

    Sorkin really gets the dialog when it works. And when dialog flows from his characters, when it really works, it does play off. But "Political Animals" ended up being a far better political type show this year. I'm in for Season 2, but the female characters in this show have to "step it up".. if we come back and it's more Mac is some pulitizer prize winning dingbat and Maggie is the girl with love-life problems who is just pining for the right guy, and Will is the Republican who wants his party back then we'll keep moving into this back and forth that just doesn't work so well for me.
     
  6. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    Bottom line: Sorkin has total control here. And, without the likes of, say, a John Wells or Thomas Schlamme or even a David Fincher (on the feature side) he is lazy. This show has more gaffes than a bad cable sitcom. It is pure fantasy playing in the 'reality pool' and drowning.
    Cable political opinion is not news. It is opinion. I thought Will was a news anchor?
    The naivetee of that 'newsroom' is beyond belief.
    The 'girls' are treated abominably...and act like no professional women I know.
    The love triangles are silly cliches treated childishly.
    Will is both unprofessional and a complete asshole. Not to mention an idiot. And, quit telling me he's a Republican. In what fantasy world?
    There is little to no drama in the show at all - the best 'story' of the season was the wiretapping one...and how did that end? Oh yeah, the "noble" "journalists" used it for blackmail instead of reporting it!!! Friggin' brilliant.
    I'm done with this show.
     
  7. Joe_H

    Joe_H Screenwriter

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    Eh, it's not a perfect show by any means, that's for sure. I just don't think it was nearly as bad overall as a lot of others.
    It was an entertaining enough show during summer, when not much else is on, and so it was good enough for me to be interested in a second season.
    Of course it's naïve and romanticized, I don't know how you could watch the West Wing or Studio 60 and not expect that. Of course, the love triangles and all that just need to stop. They're definitely weakening the show, just like they weakened Studio 60 especially in the final half of the season. Overall though, I'd say the show was a little above average, which is more than enough for me.
     
  8. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    This is the perfect and pretty accurate review. This is a show that as a summer show, I'll watch again next year. If this was a show that was opposite say StarZ "Boss" or Showtimes "Homeland" I'd not watch again and wouldn't miss it
     
  9. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    To be fair, they had no evidence, and the one source they had (remember they need two anyway) had jumped off a bridge. So they couldn't report it, but they had enough to use to get their monkey off their back.
     

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