Creator: Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin is like your Facebook friend who posts every biting meme on his wall. Despite agreeing with his philosophy, you’re never quite sure whether to react with, “Aw, hell yeah, you tell ’em!” or “Did he just go there? Really?”
Sorkin’s always been that way. From A Few Good Men to The American President to The West Wing, he’s never been afraid of making it very obvious where he stands on every hot button issue. Sure, he will write in characters that share viewpoints from all sides of the spectrum and he’ll try to humanize those he disagrees with. But you know exactly which characters are Sorkin’s personal mouthpiece.
As for The Newsroom, our main character is a Republican anchorman who is a very reasonable moderate. And he’s amazing. Jeff Daniels won an Emmy for his performance and he deserved every vote he got. His Sorkin trademarked long-winded speech at the beginning of the pilot episode is fantastic. It hooked me immediately and I eagerly devoured every episode for three seasons. The casting is pretty awesome, and despite not always enjoying the off-duty side plots written into the scripts, the cast is so enthusiastic (and Sorkin’s dialogue so fun) that it still works. If you hate Sam Waterston that might make things rough for you, but I enjoy him here. Sorkin didn’t ask him to go outside his limited range very much. Guest spots are also cast well. Jane Fonda is dynamite as the company’s CEO, and Marcia Gay Harden has a powerful role as the company’s attorney.
Another aspect about the show I love is how nearly all of the stories they report on are actual stories that ran on CNN and Fox and whatnot. We get to see them report live on the Gulf Coast oil spill, the Egyptian revolution, and Obama versus Romeny. The behind the scenes ups and downs that go with trying to be the first to break a story balanced with vetting sources is surprisingly thrilling. Even the hyper dramatic plot elements are borrowed from real-life issues major media companies have dealt with.
Some critics say the show was overly preachy and overly sentimental. They’re probably right. I love it anyway.