July 6, 2012
By Kelsey Farrell
Haven’t you always wanted to feel the buzz of being in an actual newsroom as a story breaks? Oh, you haven’t? Well, HBO’s new show “The Newsroom” is out to change that.
Set in 2010, the show follows newscaster Will McAvoy’s (played by a wonderfully crotchety and honest Jeff Daniels) fall from grace after he’s pushed to the brink during a panel discussion where his personal beliefs and career collide. His troubles stem from a blowout over a seemingly simple question: “What makes America the greatest country in the world?”
The previously impartial McAvoy ponders this and throws out a few quips, but after being pressed for an answer by the moderator, he explodes, spouting out facts and figures that contradict the question at an almost frightening pace. Once he returns to his show after a much-needed vacation, he finds that his executive producer has jumped ship and has taken most of his staff with him.
What he’s left with is a ragtag bunch of staffers fearlessly led by his ex-girlfriend, Mackenzie MacHale (played by Emily Mortimer in a perfectly tailored role) and a breaking news story. The new newsroom staff includes relative newcomers: John Gallagher Jr. as the sheepish and confident Jim Harper, Alison Pill as the recently promoted Maggie Jordan, and Dev Patel, playing the quiet news blogger, Neal Sampat. The young bunch of novices adds much needed bursts of levity and wit to show creator Aaron Sorkin’s speedy dialogue.
You may also recognize a familiar face in Charlie Skinner, president of the news division, played by veteran actor Sam Waterston.
The ensemble is strong and charming, as well as utterly focused on putting out news that informs and entertains. The show’s 2010 setting allows them to look at once “breaking” news with thoughtfulness and zeal. With all these factors at play, it seems as if “The Newsroom” will have no trouble making headlines.
>> Check out the pilot episode of “The Newsroom” on YouTube, and tune in to new episodes Sunday nights at 9 p.m. CT on HBO.
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