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HBO's The Newsroom: Putting Some Punch Back in the News

TV Patrol ain't got nothing on this one
by Gelo Gonzales | Jul 31, 2012
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HBO is back and in top form with its latest drama/comedy, The Newsroom. Don’t let the title of the show scare you. It isn’t an hour filled with boring headlines and scathingly painful current events. It is, however, a backstage pass at the lives of the people who run “News Night,” a fictional news program that puts morals and information dissemination above ratings.

When jaded anchorman Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is forced to work with his feisty ex-girlfriend and new executive producer Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer), it rekindles his passion for news that matters. And in a world where the media prioritizes the latest iPod innovation over political affairs, the new team must march on to deliver the hard facts without curtailing what is right and just. Sound like heavy stuff? Well, it isn’t. It’s actually a funny, absorbing, and oft-times heartwarming show that hits that entertainment sweet spot.

Below, we’ve prepared some reasons why you should tune in when the show premieres. Although there is an abundance of dramatic montages set to sullen ballads by Radiohead or Coldplay, the news has never looked this good.

Responsible for such critical hits as The Social Network and The West Wing, writer and series creator, Aaron Sorkin imbues the dialogue with his signature fast-paced rapport. The humor of the show often comes when characters are verbally battling it out to one-up the other. There’s a weird element to Sorkin’s writing that makes it very engaging. His characters snappily spew out phrases that are seemingly very realistic, but when you go over their conversations, you realize that, hell, no one really talks that way.

It’s this sweet blurring of the conversationally possible, and the lack of human error, that aids the viewer in detaching from (what some may consider) the boring inner-workings of a newsroom. To call the script witty would be unjust, wicked would be a more viable adjective. 

Veteran actor Jeff Daniels (who you all probably remember as loveable idiot Harry from Dumb and Dumber) leads this offbeat cast as the hotheaded anchor Will McAvoy. The ensemble works together like a well-oiled machine, each character bouncing off the next as their lives intersect on and off the job. There’s the bourbon-guzzling boss Charlie Skinner (an incredibly hilarious Sam Waterston), the always apologetic-but-not-so-forgiving executive producer MacKenzie, and romantically challenged staffers Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) and Maggie (Allison Pill). There are enough characters to relate to that you won’t find yourself lost and not caring.

NEXT: A bit of romance to stir things up

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