During an otherwise boring summer filled with flaky friends, 6 a.m. wake up calls and a job that seemed to stomp all the creativity out of my soul, there was one thing that made me truly excited every week: Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO drama, “The Newsroom.”
In fact, if I may borrow Sorkin’s words, “The Newsroom” may have single-handedly saved, not the internet, but television.
Okay, that statement might seem a little hyperbolic considering the show’s mixed critical success, but anything that could chip away at the cynicism in my life (even for an hour) is worth noting.
“The Newsroom” primarily focuses on Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) who is the head anchor of News Night, a fictional cable news show. News Night might be fictionalized, but the news events they cover are not.
In its first season, the show covered everything from the BP oil spill to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting to the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Sorkin, known for his fast-paced, witty writing, is at the top of his game. The show’s dialogue is consistently quick, sharp, hilarious and surprisingly beautiful. More than a few McAvoy monologues (okay, all of them) had me clutching my heart and holding back tears.
Daniels starts the season as the nonpartisan Republican, middle-of-the-road news anchor who holds back any opinions that will cause him to lose viewers. As the season continues, he carefully balances his disillusionment toward the media and the eager optimism he feels toward journalism.
Daniels is joined by a stellar ensemble cast including Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Thomas Sadoski and Sam Waterston.
They are all able to juggle Sorkin’s dialogue, comedic absurdity and dramatic scenes with believability and grace. Honestly, there is no weak link in this cast.
As much as I love “The Newsroom,” it also makes me mildly depressed. The way News Night reports the news is so ethical and empathetic that I can’t help but lament most of our current media (specifically the 24-hour news cycle).
However, despite my own hangups, the gut-wrenching reaction I had to each episode reveals how significant this show is. Sorkin gives us an image of a newsroom that doesn’t have to be bullied by corporations and lobbyists. His fiction is the reality I desperately pray for.
“The Newsroom” is one of the best shows I’ve seen in recent memory. I’m not-so-patiently waiting for the new season, because I could really use an uplifting McAvoy monologue right about now.