Update: I just found out that the first episode on The Newsroom is available on YouTube in its entirety. Watch. This. Now!
I just finished watching the series premiere of HBO's new original show The Newsroom. As soon as I was done watching the pilot episode I promptly sat through the encore showing and watched the entire thing again. Wow. It seems like eventually I do get around to watching just about everything more than once, but immediate repeat viewings are uncommon to say the least.
Let me say this - I like being an informed member of society and feel that it is of paramount importance for adults to know what is going on in the world around them. However, the world has changed. I can't really stomach to watch the nightly news on television. I don't consume news like my parents do. That is absolutely no slight on either generation; it is simply a notable difference. Anyone born during Genertaion X or later are so used to getting highly tailored, highly compartmentalized news on a second-by-second basis that a uncustomizable nightly newscast is hardly appealing. Furthermore, the news is goddamn depressing. Nightly news and 24-hour news stations very predictably play what gets viewers, and what gets viewers is the worst of humanity. Yes, people need to know what is going on, but I would much rather shift through dozens of articles and tweets to find the nuggets of truth myself than get force feed a depressing soup with onions paid for by people who want me to buy their product or vote for their candidate, and I hate onions.
Therefore, would you think I would be remotely interested in a dramatic television show about a nightly newscast and the team that produces it? You wouldn't really think so, but I absolutely adored the first episode of The Newsroom. The Newsroom was created by Aaron Sorkin who has a fantastic history of writing unbelievably smart dialogue. He is the writer responsible for The Social Network and Moneyball, both of which are crazy smart and both work on so many levels. The first episode of the series was actually written by Sorkin as well, and it shows.
The premise of the show is that a news anchor, played brilliantly by Jeff Daniels, who returns to work after flipping out on a college student and experiencing a bit of a meltdown to find that his newsroom has been turned upside down by someone from his past. Jeff Daniels is terrific and really has the acting chops to carry this show as a guy who is probably smarter than just about anyone but who has a job where he has to disseminate information to the masses and who has to struggle with the line between fact and opinion. Jeff Daniels is most well known for his role as Harry in Dumb and Dumber. He has always been great actor that has never seemed able, or interested enough, to eclipse his role in Dumb and Dumber. If the Newsroom continues as I hope it will, then film and television fans all over the world will definitely have another property to put in the same breath as Dumb and Dumber when mentioning Daniels.
Daniels is joined by an equally compelling acting force in Emily Mortimer who plays the newsroom's Executive Producer Mackenzie MacHale. Mortimer is new to my radar but I won't soon forget her. She has a tangible presence that really comes across and being able to stand toe-to-toe with a powerhouse like Jeff Daniels is a great accomplishment.
I understand that the show is a drama and as such is more dramatic than the nightly news. However, it is still worth mentioning that I got more information and was more engaged in the big news story (which I won't spoil here) than I ever was when I was watching it on the real news. I will be very excited to see how the rest of the season plays out. For the pilot I can say no more than it simply drips smart. I've always prided myself on using the full extent of my intelligence. I'm certainly not the most gifted individual in the world, but it is a central tenet of my life that I make good use of what I have - the Newsroom is a show that demands that of its viewers. Also, it's very awesome that The Newsroom is going to fill the gaping void left by Game of Thrones' exit from my Sunday night television line up.
I can't wait to see more. Did anyone out there catch The Newsroom? Thoughts?