I've watched The Newsroom twice. Initially, I watched it in two sittings; the first taking place in Glasgow airport as my flight was delayed, the second in the air. After a long delay and a late flight, I was in a shite mood so I rushed some notes down for this post before going for a nap.
Here are those notes, unedited:
Take Sports Night, throw in a little Studio 60 & wash it down with The Social Network, then dilute it all a little; hold the charm, hold the warmth & hold the personality. That's The Newsroom.
Jeff Daniels is energetic and engaging as Will McAvoy, Mortimer much the same as MacKenzie McHale (worst fucking name ever); but there's no visible history between this duo; 'visible' being the operative word.
OBVIOUSLY there's a history in that we're told that they do in fact share some sort of romantic past - one that clearly ended with MacKenzie leaving Will to spend time in the middle east as a war correspondent, turning him into a spiteful, bitter and pissy mess, backed by ACN President, Charlie Skinner's reinforcement that the last time Will saw MacKenzie was the last time he was 'a nice guy'. I'm not seeing any chemistry between these two, though.
(FUCKING LOVE CHARLIE SKINNER'S EYEBROWS, BY THE WAY.)
Questions: Why is Will an angry and resentful cunt towards MacKenzie? Because she left? Why did she leave?
The answers will come eventually, of course (pending The Newsroom doesn't meet the same fate as Studio 60, cancelled after the first season).
I'm a wee bit troubled. I'm a huge fan of Sorkin's work, but I'm left wondering: was the pilot was weak? Everything seemed to be surface without depth. I want more drama. We've not been introduced to everyone yet, but for fuck sake where's the strong, sassy CJ Cregg? Where's the dysfunctionally wonderful Matt & Danny? WHERE THE FUCK IS JOSH MALINA!?
I want Jeremy Goodwin in this show.
I don't know what to think. Maybe it'll get better. Hopefully, it'll get better.
Okay, so. I was a wee bit grouchy. After that, I watched 3 episodes of Lena Dunham's new HBO series Girls (bloody belter - I implore you to watch it), and then had a nap.
After my flight, I had to drive 200km at around 10pm, realising halfway down the A8, that my rental car had NO FUCKING BRAKES. Thanks Europcar (What's wonderful, is how they dealt with the problem that almost caused a major fucking accident - telling me to drive 50km to their nearest branch for a replacement, then insisting that I drive another 5km to fill the fucking tank. Know what my compensation was? A free upgrade. Don't use Europcar).
So, I'd a bit of a bad day. When I'd FINALLY calmed down, I watched The Newsroom again; this time in one sitting and in a much better mood.
My thoughts hadn't changed much. I'd warmed ever so slightly, but there is something missing. The Newsroom (which by the way, should just be "Newsroom" because The Newsroom is fucking irritating to say, right) is definitely lacking in charm; I may have been in a shiter of a mood, but I stand by my original opinion.
Whether that charm is lacking due to the absence of Tommy Schlamme's direction or the bumbling, idiot/genius wizardry provided by Joshua Malina (above) - I don't know. I've not seen episode two. Yet.
Before I move on, please take a moment and have a good look at that picture of Joshua Malina taken on the set of The West Wing. Isn't he fucking brilliant?
Aaron Sorkin is a writer often revered, often criticised. The West Wing, Sports Night and Studio 60 all reside on my bookcase. I say 'bookcase' because this is a big deal: I don't have a 'DVD shelf'. Only a bookcase. Only a handful of DVDs are on display on this bookcase; so along with The Muppet Show, Breaking Bad, Ghost and a copy of When Harry Met Sally - these three shows have a place. A permanent place.
I liked The Newsroom, I suppose; but I don't think it'll ever sit on my bookcase. I wasn't wowed as much as I have been by old Sorkin favourites, but you know what?
I'll keep watching it. Because I like telly.
The Newsroom airs on Tuesdays at 10pm, on Sky Atlantic.