Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Newsroom" Sets a High Bar - Can It Keep It Up?

I hope folks will start watching this new show from HBO titled "Newsroom." When it was first announced a few months back I thought, like many, that since it was on the same cable network that spawned the illogical, sickening and misogynist Bill Maher and was going to deal with the politics of the day then it was just going to be another anti right-wing, conservative bashing foray that I really wouldn't need to waste an hour of my life on.

However, since I am a fair and balanced conservative/libertarian type I decided to give the pilot episode of Newsroom a viewing when it premiered last Sunday. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this first episode turned out to be something completely different from what I had expected. If others thought like I initially did upon reading the pre-release hype and early video previews that this would end up being just another liberal Hollywood attack show on conservative ideas then, like me, you will be happy to know it wasn't that at all. The pilot episode was a well written jaunt into a behind-the-scenes look into a typical cable news outlet similar to a CNN. From what I have read of upcoming scripts it will share equal time between liberals and conservatives and will take on anyone to the FAR left and right, which in my opinion, are fair game because those on the fringes of both sides are certifiably insane and need to be visibly exposed for the damage they continue to do to both legitimate points of view.

The Jeff Daniel's lead character is a nominal Republican and moderate anchor newsman while the lead female role, played by Emily Mortimer, is a nominal liberal executive news producer who has been tempered in her leftist stance by years of being on the front lines of far too many wars instigated by the extremists of both sides of the political spectrum. Their stated goal is to now go back to the Murrow/Cronkite days of just telling the truth of the news, without political bias or commentary. Reporting what is truly happening allowing the actual news to sink into the minds of its viewers and letting the chips fall where they may. This is exactly what watching news was like in the early days of news programming on television when Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley ruled TV journalism. It was honest, truthful, unbiased reporting of the facts and gave the fourth estate an air of integrity it has long since lost with the advent of 24 hour cable news and its desire to beat the other guy and utterly dominate them in the ratings game.

The real liberal and conservative point/counterpoint in this show is likely to be the Sam Waterston and Jane Fonda characters - but, that is only speculation on my part at this early time in the series. From what I have seen and read so far Will McAvoy (the Daniel's role) has become a disheartened realist coming to grips with himself and his personal world view in rapidly changing times.

I am looking forward to seeing if this show will continue the very high bar the pilot set for itself in future episodes or if creator and writer Aaron Sorkin eventually succumbs to ratings fever and find ways to screws it up. For now, however, Sunday night has returned as my favorite night of fun and intelligent TV viewing.

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