5 Reasons to Start Watching 'The Newsroom' (and 5 Reasons To Stop)
Jeff Daniels in HBO's 'The Newsroom' Season 2 Premiere, 'First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers.'
So with Season 2 debuting this Sunday, we're splitting the difference and giving you five reasons to start tuning in… along with five reasons to stay far, far away.
START WATCHING FOR: Aaron Sorkin's monologues
As anyone who's seen "The West Wing" and "The Social Network" can tell you, Aaron Sorkin's hyper-intellectual writing style can be a joy to behold. And it works best when coming out of the mouth of an impassioned character, uninterrupted, while others just sit back and marvel at the speaker's brilliance. ("You can't handle the truth," anyone?) Case in point: the "Newsroom" series premiere, which opens with disillusioned news anchor Will McAvoy rattling off all the reasons why our country might not be as great as we think it is in a soaring, thought-provoking tour de force. Say what you want about Sorkin (and we will, just you wait), but the man can write the hell out of a speech.
STOP WATCHING FOR: Aaron Sorkin's dialogue
But as great as Sorkin's monologues are, he can get clumsy when it comes to scenes where people actually, you know, talk to each other. The banter in Will's newsroom tends to be self-consciously quippy, full of scholarly bon mots and literary quotes that no post-college human should still have in their brains. And the romantic entanglements here range from tedious to actively annoying; the fumbling office romance between senior producer Jim and Will's assistant Margaret is such a blatant rip-off of "The Office's" Jim-and-Pam dynamic that we just call them "Jim and Pam" to save time. No matter how hard he tries, screwball romantic comedies are not Aaron Sorkin's forte. Stick to what you know, buddy.
John Gallagher, Jr., Emily Mortimer, and Trieu Tran in HBO's 'The Newsroom'
START WATCHING FOR: A peek behind the cable-news curtain
"The Newsroom" is at its best when Will and the News Night team drop all the personal drama and get to work bringing us the news. Now we can debate whether the portrait of cable news painted here is entirely accurate (hint: it's not), but it's still exciting to watch a motivated news team tap into their considerable talents to cover a huge story as it's breaking. That combination of fearsome intellect and raging idealism is a Sorkin specialty, and gives "The Newsroom's" best scenes a kinetic spark unrivaled anywhere else on TV.