HBO's The Newsroom: Episode 1

I assumed that Aaron Sorkin took his new show, The Newsroom to HBO because network television had mishandled his former shows so much, that he didn't want to fight anymore.  I was wrong.  After watching the pilot episode, I realize he took the show to HBO because the show is simply too good for TV.  It's too good, too deep, too true for average viewers to watch.  Hearing Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston and Emily Mortimer discuss how the American public has gotten too dumb to care about news, I couldn't help but think it was a metaphor for television as well.  This is a show that has the nerve to say that America isn't the greatest country anymore.  (That is the statement that will get the coverage.)  But then they follow it up with... BUT IT COULD BE.  (That is the part of the statement that gets no coverage.)  The show takes us to task for reacting to stories in a moment.  Takes us to task for responding on twitter.  (Here I am blogging about it fifteen minutes after it airs.) And it subliminally takes us to task by pointing out that all of us have forgotten what happened in April 2010.  We are today just as blind as the former Executive Producer who doesn't want to cover the Gulf Oil Spill back then.  He doesn't think its a big deal and anymore, neither do we.  Americans forget.  This show is going to force us to remember.  The line that really smarted was when he says Americans now want to not only choose their news, but their facts as well.  That line should hurt us for good long while, lucky for us, we'll forget that too. I really loved how long the scenes were.  This show puts its money where its mouth is.  It says issues need time, thoughtfulness and discussion.  I think every scene in this show is at least over 5 minutes long.  That is a life time on TV now.  There also was virtually no background music.  That is a brave choice.  It lets us interpret the scenes with how we feel.  Shocking, I know.  How long has it been since a show decided to let us decide how to score the scenes?  I am pretty sure the answer is never.   A central idea of the show is a newsman ,who has the popularity and blandness of Leno, decides to say something real.  In the real world, Leno would get cancelled.  In the real world, Leno wouldn't even think of saying something real because he wouldn't have gotten to where he is today if he had opinions beyond popularity.   But just like the West Wing, this show doesn't present us with the News we have.  It presents us with the News we pretend we want.  And more on point, it presents me with the exact kind of show I am dying for.  A smart, difficult, thought provoking reason to turn on the television.  America may not be the greatest anymore, but this show just might be.  More to come...

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The Red Room Podcast has a round table discussion about the entire First Season of The Newsroom.  You can listen by clicking the link or heading out to iTunes.

Read my review of Episode 2

Read my Review of Episode 3

Read my Review of Episode 4

Read my Review of Episode 5

Read my Review of Episode 6

Read my Review of Episode 7

Read my Review of Episode 8

Read my Review of Episode 9

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