The first season of Aaron Sorkin and HBO’s The Newsroom wasn’t quite the series a lot of people had hoped for. It wasn’t the next The West Wing. Having said that, it was enjoyable; but it did receive a fair bit of criticism from the press. This is something which makes me concerned that viewers are going to switch off and not give the series a deserving second chance. As the second season has just taken its first couple swings at the bat, I’ve taken the liberty of jotting down some of the reasons why everyone should give The Newsroom another go and prevent it from going the way of another underrated Sorkin series;
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip.
Starting from Scratch
It’s been recently reported that after shooting Season Two’s first two episodes and a large chunk of the third, Sorkin approached HBO and asked to start again. From scratch. Despite the waste of money and time, Sorkin decided to start again. This has resulted in the season order changing from 10 to 9 but shows the intent of the shows creator and its producers to try their hardest for the viewers. They are putting the viewers first which can’t possibly be a bad thing. It’s an extremely ballsy move, but one that shows that they are at least trying their best to make this season the highest quality it can be. They’ve been listening, and now it’s our turn.
Branching Into Familiar Territory
Season 2 sees John Gallagher JR’s character Jim Harper join the Mitt Romney campaign as a roving reporter providing coverage for ACN. Not only will this take us out of the newsroom, it is also Sorkin entering familiar territory. It may give this season more of a lean toward The West Wing and I’m definitely excited to see how this works out. The second season also sees the characters involved in a deposition, which acts as one story arc. There’s definitely a sense that this new season is taking a different, fresh approach. It almost feels like they’re having a bit of a reboot after Season One which should keep those who were griping happy. Then again, maybe not.
Making A Point
One of the things I love about Aaron Sorkin’s writing is that he sets his series’ in an idealized version of our worlds. He fills his shows with good people trying to do the right thing and be the best version of themselves. Whether it’s Martin Sheen’s President Josiah Bartlet in The West Wing or Jeff Daniels’ Will McAvoy in The Newsroom attempting to bring his audiences the truth no matter how hard, Sorkin writes flawed characters trying to be the best version of themselves in an even more flawed world. It’s easy to argue that all series have a point to make, but they don’t do so in “Sorkinese.” Just take a look at the monologue Jeff Daniels gives in its first ever episode for an example of the compelling and dramatic fashion in which Sorkin writes. If there’s anything like that monologue in this new season then we’re in for a real treat. There’s nothing quite like Sorkin in full Sorkin mode. It’s awesome.
Something Light In Amongst The Dark
As much as I love morally compromising and dark series like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead or House of Cards, The Newsroom presents a welcome break from the darkness of these shows and acts a little like a palette cleanser. It’s a romantic comedy/drama where the dangers are a little less life-threatening but no less thrilling. The Newsroom is hopeful, idealistic and a ray of light in the pool of darkness television has become. It should be praised for it’s slight cheesiness and idealistic nature, not criticized. Second season, second chance.