THE PLOT THUS FAR
The one-hour HBO drama series created by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and executive produced by Sorkin, Scott Rudin, and Alan Poul is back for a second season. Smart, topical, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining, The Newsroom takes a behind-the-scenes look at a high-rated cable-news program at the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN) Network, focusing on the on- and off-camera lives of its acerbic anchor (Jeff Daniels), executive producer (Emily Mortimer), their newsroom staff (John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Olivia Munn, Dev Patel, and others), news-division boss (Sam Waterston), and parent-company CEO (Jane Fonda). Season 2 takes place over a five-day period leading up to Election Day 2012, and encompasses numerous flashbacks to earlier events from 2011 and 2012. One of the season’s major story arcs involves a wrongful-termination lawsuit made by a staff member alleged to have doctored a report about a suspicious U.S. drone strike. As details about the suit’s origin and aftermath emerge, The Newsroom team continues its quixotic mission to “do the news well” in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles, and their personal entanglements.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“The Newsroom” was supposed to be Aaron Sorkin finally getting to tell the stories he wants on a channel that allows maturity. Unfortunately, it turned into self parody. What was once comfortable on “The West Wing” had now fallen on apart on lesser actors. While there is some talent hidden in this cast, it’s still the weakest group of actors that Sorkin has had to create a show. Jeff Daniels carries so much of the material on his back, but he keeps getting undercut by pushes into stupidity. That Africa episode was the source of many eye-rolls during the season.
The drop off between seasons was STAGGERING! While the whole cutting satire and attack on cable news seems quaint in the age of Colbert, I appreciate the attempts at being serious. It’s just that I don’t feel there was enough material to warrant an ongoing series. Thankfully, the show is getting cancelled. At this rate, I don’t think there’s going to be anything left on HBO in a few years. Well, “Westworld” still looks like it’s happening.
The DVD comes with commentaries, featurette and deleted scenes as the special features. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp for an HBO show in standard definition. The transfer is sharp enough. The same goes for the Dolby track. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to major fans, everyone else can skip.
RELEASE DATE: 11/04/2014