Sky really has been spoiling us recently, not only have we been blessed with Alan Partridge but also ‘Veep’ which is Armando Iannucci turning his attention to the highest non job in the western world, that of Vice President of the United States.
Also fresh from the US is ‘The Newsroom’ from the writer Aaron Sorkin, genius behind ‘Sports Night’,’Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’ & ‘The West Wing.’ Sorkin really isn’t deviating from his tried and tested formula, like his other shows this is set behind the scenes of a TV show like Sports Night and S60, and not surprisingly the similarities don’t end there.
Studio 60 starts with the executive producer Wes Mandell melting down about the state of TV summed up with the line “People are having contests to see how much they can be like Donald Trump?… We’re eating worms for money. Who wants to screw my sister? Guys are getting killed in a war that’s got theme music and a logo?” Well Newsroom also starts with a complete meltdown, but about the US in general and how it isn’t the greatest country in the world before rattling off statistics we know because they’ve been mentioned by Sorkin including the number of Adults who think Angels are real (also lifting sections from speeches Bartlet made in the West Wing)
Like his other shows there’s a love story which is going to rumble throughout. In SN it was Casey/Dana in S60 it was Harriet and Matt and the only one that actually made people give a damn Josh/Donna in TWW.
It still retains the slickness of his other shows and is still a million times better than most other dramas on TV mainly due to the lack of a detective who is by the book/grumpy/a pain in the arse or battling his own demons. Jeff Daniels rant is far better than Wes Mandells and the comparison to is and the beginning of ‘Network’ was already noted in Studio 60. But here is my main problem with the show.
It deals with the news, but from 2 years ago. Sorkin is being -in a way- lazy by tackling issues that are 2 years old. The opening episode deals with the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. Presenting it in an idealised way, tackling the issues that weren’t known at the time, whilst the West Wing created issues that were based on real issues that were happening around the world (Such as international terrorism, genocide in Africa and the Middle East) to me Sorkin seems to be trying to recapture the magic of the West Wing, but fell short somewhat in this opener.
Hopefully it picks up for Episode 2.