'The Newsroom' has potential to compete with hits of HBO
When you think of Jeff Daniels, you probably don't think much further than spiders, speeding buses or two dumb friends. Drama has never been his strong suit other than his role in "Terms of Endearment," which launched his career, but "The Newsroo...
When you think of Jeff Daniels, you probably don't think much further than
spiders, speeding buses or two dumb friends. Drama has never been his strong suit other than his role in "Terms of Endearment," which launched his career, but "The Newsroom" shows he still has the ability to play well in the emotional acting realm.
The fact that the show is written by Aaron Sorkin helps give Daniels an extra edge. Sorkin, most famous for his recent box-office hit, "The Social Network" and past TV hit "The West Wing," brings his signature wit and charm to this project.
The opening scene is probably the most engaging part of the pilot as it takes a simple question and provides the basis for the entire show. Daniels' character Will McAvoy goes on a tirade when asked why America is the best country in the world. His judgment of the current direction of journalism and society as a whole is a gut shot to the fictional world he lives in and the real world of the viewer.
This is a testament to Sorkin's storytelling as he likes to touch on current socially relevant issues, which was frequently seen in "The West Wing." By having McAvoy take shots at the state of the news in society and asking what happened to America, "Newsroom" viewers ask the same question.
The show unfolds the same day of the BP oil spill. Setting the show in 2010 allows Sorkin some storytelling leeway, as he has two years of news for plotlines. This is a minor disappointment as a show that runs concurrent with daily news could allow for more poignant television.
There are a few common character tropes: the bossy lead (Jeff Daniels), the mousy secretary (Alison Pill), the head studio exec (Sam Waterston). Still, Sorkin plays them together well. Each receives ample screen time for character development, which keeps viewers invested in all.
The cast is the driving force of "The Newsroom." Their interactions give weight to the social relevance of journalism and push the motive of the show.
There are some great character moments as well. One line by McKenzie's senior producer, Jim, about the blurred borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan got a chuckle out of me because of a similar experience.
The appearance of Olivia Munn was a special surprise for this particular nerd and I'm sure could draw a few more fan boys to the show as she is contracted for 10 episodes. There's also a brief cameo by "Social Network" star Jesse Eisenberg that may go unnoticed unless you're paying attention.
"The Newsroom" is a testament to modern TV and how far it's come, nearly representing mini- movies in each episode. Based on the pilot, there is enough put in place to provide engaging stories for awhile which will keep viewers coming back.
This type of show is one that could probably only reach this type of production value from HBO.
It's not the best show on HBO by any means (that title goes to "Game of Thrones" hands down), but it has potential to compete with the big dogs.
On the Web: To view the pilot episode click here