Wednesday, 13 June 2012


The world according to Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) in THE NEWSROOM. Images: HBO.

With his meteoric rise as one of Hollywood's most talented and accomplished screenwriters, with the likes of his charting the clash of kings birth of Facebook in THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Brad Pitt starring baseball drama MONEYBALL and the upcoming eventual Steve Jobs biography movie alll gaining plaudits, plus the occasional odd Academy Award lying about the place (which I'm sure makes for a wonderful bookcase primer!), it's nice to know that Aaron Sorkin hasn't yet abandoned his fondness for creating American weekly dramatic television series. Life and power as seen with the quirky and sophisticated case of THE WEST WING may yet be his most well-known accomplishment for the small screen, with his successive STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP vehicle for Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry not quite finding its hoped-for anticipated audience, but this new show for HBO, THE NEWSROOM, shows heaps of promise and a major return to sharp and involving form. There's nothing new at all about the format setting: the newsroom, an environment for comedy and drama mined in movies like the recentish MORNING GLORY (starring Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams) or the critically acclaimed eighties movie BROADCAST NEWS (starring Holly Hunter, James L. Brooks and a noteworthy William Hurt). Heck, Sorkin has even previously done a comedy set in the world of a TV sports desk with the acclaimed, if short lived, SPORTS NIGHT (starring a pre- DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES Felicity Huffman). But here, judging from the first trailer for the ten episode series (which airs States-side from June 24th), it looks like Sorkin has been digging deep into the kind of dark, thought-provoking part of his psyche that we haven't seen in a while, within territory that hasn't been mined quite so well since the mid-seventies black comedy NETWORK (staring Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway), as the uber-writer breathes life and debate back to TV with his transferred analysis of the troubles plaguing American society, and the world, alongside the biting intelligence and razor sharp humour we're always hungry to savour, of which no one else in the current screenwriting world seems able to compete with or emulate.

Will breaks the chains and shocks America.
The main cast of THE NEWSROOM.

As his character of news anchorman Will McAvoy breaks out of years of restraint and audience/press criticisms-let loose the Kraken!- to post his aggressive, sometimes shocking, always intelligent views on whats gone wrong with the American way, and beyond, of which an opportunity soon beckons for his networks ailing news channel to reap the rewards of the new whirlwind and regain a superior ratings foothold over its rivals, series star Jeff Daniels, always an actor whom I felt had a dark edge to him beyond the kind of zany comedy he showed in the likes of THE CABLE GUY, or in certain previous roles as a unique type of trodden on hero or second lead, might just have one of the best roles of his career here, working alongside a very high calibre cast of newsroom associates and bosses including Brit star Emily Mortimer and Sam Waterston (getting away from the corridors of power and legality seen during his long running stint on LAW AND ORDER), all of whom look well-cast, and will, I confidently predict, have some terrific Sorkin dialogue and character arcs to become involved in and enthusiastically run with. Such an ambitious and smartly outspoken series as this is even powerful enough to lure that still stunning film icon, eighties keep fit guru, and all-round smart lady, Jane Fonda, into making a cameo appearance as an equally biting and realist news company boss- a performance which we can't wait to see.

Trailer: The Newsroom Season 1: Trailer #1 - YouTube
Behind the scenes: The Newsroom Season 1: Making The Newsroom Promo - YouTube

Look out for more on THE NEWSROOM on KOOL TV in the not too distant future.

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