Is it just me or is HBO programming just destroying the competition these days? I’m not sure if it’s the cable network’s ability to drop f-bombs at will, the constant and uncensored ability to show a myriad of hotties both female and male completely nude and often engaged in the most carnal acts or the straight up fact that they’ve got some of the best writers available on their featured shows but this channel is pounding out hit after hit. With “True Blood” still dominating (did we all see the return of Jason Stackhouse’s ass last night?), “Game of Thrones” sweeping the nation and making fantasy cool, and the comedy brilliance of “Girls” and “Veep” showing off the hilarity of women, it was only fitting to move onto something more serious and topical: the news.
I’m Canadian, so our news is often 25% what’s happening in our local province and country and the rest a focus on the world at large- and yes, that predominantly constitutes a rundown of what occurred that day in the USofA. I don’t really watch our news; what I do watch, is work like “The Daily Show” and sometimes “Stephen Colbert” to get a pretty accurate view of not just the day’s events but of how they’re being covered by the “unbiased” media. No longer is the story the story, now it’s how the story is told, by whom and with what prejudicial spin on it. To that end, the good and forefront writers working under the label of HBO have come out with au courrant 1-hour drama that says to the current state of news coverage in America “for shame”: it’s the “Newsroom” and it’s actually kind of amazing.
On the ball readers will be quick to point out that this show has been on for a bit now- 3 episodes as of last night to be exact- and ask what took me so long to get my facts in, well that’s because I wasn’t actually completely sold after the first episode. First off, the show started amazingly: huge characters you instantly learn to hate and want to fail and others you want to hug and love with still a few more you’re just plain in intellectual awe of. The story hit home and was made more real as it retroactively covered the actual BP oil spill crisis in a way you wished it had gone in real life and brought to the forefront a topic of great concern for America: the covering of their news.
However, there was something a bit (excuse my french) masturbatorial about the production that it seemed smug and full of too-perfect know-it-alls and begged the question: will this show hold up? I decided to give it a few episodes before reacting and am glad I did because you know what? This show IS a bit of a show it off with its impossibly smart dialogue and morally outstanding persons but fuck it (that DID feel good to drop HBO!), that is what the media ought to hold itself to: the highest of standards.
Long story short, the show is about a famous nightly news anchor who throws his untouchable career into a spiral when he loses it at a town hall type meeting and refuses to tow the national party line and say why “America is the greatest of all countries in the world.” First off, that concept itself is flawed but ignoring that, the US straight up isn’t the greatest anymore and as a viewer you scream at protagonist Jeff Daniels to say so… and boy does he. His tirade alone within the first ten minutes of this series should be enough to get you addicted for at least a few episodes. Thereafter, the show uses famous and real headlines from the past two years to frame its storytelling as it shows you just how a real news station should work: with the truth as its only goal, not pleasing politico sponsors and advertisers to ensure revenue.
Jeff Daniels plays the semi-seemingly autistic yet brilliant news anchor and isn’t quite who I would have picked but he’s pretty damn amazing at the role. His counterpart is the ever-beautiful and British Emily Mortimer who many will recognize as Jack’s wife from early days in “30 Rock”. On top of that is interesting casting with “Slumdog Millionaire’s” Dev Patel and “The Daily Show’s” gorgeous and sassy Olivia Munn who I see as a rising star with her casting in this show as the hot, brill newscaster on the rise. Brought together by famed screenwriter of the “West Wing” Aaron Sorkin, you know this thing is on the right track.
I’m not going to bore you anymore before I serve up a clip to entice below except to say that last night’s appearance of Jane Fonda as the news company’s owner throwing down with the news show’s absent-minded leader over the concept of centrists news reporting as being not right nor left due to the plain truth that honest reporting of facts is without bias was AH-mazing. So much that occurs on this show is what we wish we could get from our anchormen and women but that we don’t and possibly never will. That even “unbiased” reporting with shows that attempt to such lofty goals like “The Daily Show” straight up comes across as clearly leftish and elite even though they really just want to point out the stupidity of today’s media. It’s a tough look at a serious issue and you can bet I’m in for the long haul and think you should be too! “Newsoom” airs Sundays at 10PM on HBO: let me know what you think!