Jun 10, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from The Hollywood Reporter: The “West Wing” creator tells an alluring new story with a large all-star cast, spearheaded by Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer, for his latest project for HBO about a cable news network.
Somewhere around the second episode of HBO’s newest drama, The Newsroom, from creator Aaron Sorkin, viewers may ask why this show is on HBO. There’s no nudity, there’s some swearing but nothing that couldn’t be toned down for broadcast television or replaced by words that wouldn’t change the tone or intent of the script.
Well, outside of the obvious – that HBO wants to be in business with creators like Sorkin, whose resume is well known — The Newsroom is ultimately one of those shows that can’t be screened in the big tent of broadcast television because its political at its core and this country is so partisan that a political series wouldn’t get enough ratings to sustain itself and might be more trouble than it’s worth to the parent company of said broadcast network.
Interestingly enough, that’s kind of what Sorkin is getting at in the heart of The Newsroom, where he’s trying to talk about journalism, truth, ignorance and politics in much the same way he did with The West Wing, a series that would never see the light of day – or primetime — on a broadcast network in 2012.
And so The Newsroom comes to HBO, which isn’t worried about advertiser backlash or lack of ratings. What the channel gets is pure Sorkin – you can take that any which way you want, depending on your thoughts about Sorkin. Are the characters exceptionally quick-witted and do they dabble in fast-paced repartee? Yes. Do characters often talk in what could best be described as elaborate, heartfelt and intellectual monologues? They do. Sorkin has historically been prone to what’s called monologueing. But perhaps it should be called soapboxing in his case because there’s always that nagging feeling that you’re listening to a lecture. And finally, is The Newsroom earnest? Yes, because pretty much everything Sorkin does is earnest – and if you didn’t know that before, you’ll know it when you hear the swelling orchestration in the introduction and at the end of some, well, earnest scenes.