‘The Newsroom’ crackles with life on Blu-ray
TV veteran Aaron Sorkin returns with a new show, his first since the ill-fated yet excellently written Saturday Night Live take off “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, and this time he has taken his take on the inner workings of a network TV newsroom to the friendly confines of HBO with “The Newsroom”. The hit HBO show recently returned with its second season on the cable giant, so let`s delve in to the first season set to see if it`s worth your hard earned dollars.
The Newsroom Season 1
Created by Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin’s latest drama is set at a fictional cable news channel where anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) leads a group of reporters and staff striving to make a hard-hitting news program. After a recent blow up at a college lecture, anchor McAvoy returns to work to find that his support team, minus a handful of devotees, are all fleeing to the late night news program. McAvoy also inherits a new producer, his former flame MacKenzie McHale (Mortimer) and number one Jim Harper (Gallagher Jr), who is immediately smitten with Maggie Jordan (Pill). Also in the newsroom is Neal Sampat (Patel), late night producer Don Keefer (Sadoski), gorgeous and brilliant business reporter Sloan Sabbith (Munn) and the man over seeing it all Charlie Skinner (Waterston).
The Newsroom`s one stroke of pure genius become evident right away, the show sets itself a couple years in the past so that they can use real headlines and stories, like Osama Bin Laden`s assassination, to fill out their complex and brilliant narratives. By already knowing all the intricacies of the outcomes beforehand, Sorkin is able to insert and use little tidbits of information to make the series feel more authentic and give the scripts more punch. The episode dealing with the aforementioned Osama Bin Laden story is especially effective because of this and stands as one of the highlights of the season. The series deep concentration on Tea Party politics and the dismantling of the party on the show may turn off as many people as it captivates though, as the onslaught is pretty relentless.
The show is also punctuated with some great performances as the entire cast seems perfectly placed in their roles. Daniels is fantastic as McAvoy, it’s one of the best performances of his storied career, as he gets to puff up, get mad and pontificate more than most roles he has been given. The intellectual aspect of the McAvoy character is something Daniels really seems to have latched on to. The rest of the cast are also stellar, this may be one of the best ensembles working in television right now, as the likes of Mortimer, Gallagher Jr., Pill, Patel, Munn and Sadoski are all providing excellent ensemble work here. Fonda’s arc of episodes are punctuated by her giving her tough as nails executive a gravitas and weight that the series needs in the only form of a ‘heavy’ against McAvoy. And Waterston steals almost every scene he is in as the mastermind executive behind it all, whose motivation is simply that he wants to see a better, more honest version of the news.
The Blu-Ray set comes with a solid handful of extras including commentaries on at least half the episodes with Sorkin, producers, directors and cast members from the show making appearances. Each episode also includes the ‘Inside The Newsroom’ quick breakdown of the episode from Sorkin and most of them contain deleted scenes as well. The 4th disc also includes a quick featurette on the set built for the series called ‘Mission Control’ and a 25 minute roundtable discussion of the first season with Sorkin, Daniels, Mortimer, Waterston, producer/directors Alan Poul and Greg Mottola.
One of the most engaging series on television today also just happens to be about television, more specifically about a television news program that harkens back to the more integrity driven newscasts that previous generations grew up on as opposed to the newer, glossy and even at times wrong reporting that dominates cable television today. Sorkin fill his show with a longing for these simpler times that endears us more to his idealized view of what the news could be. The over sentimentalization of the show may turn off some, but most viewers will have a hard time stopping themselves from just running through the entire season in one sitting.
Till Next Time
Movie Junkie TO
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