Aristotle, in the fourth century, had claimed that man is by nature a political animal. If you are someone who loves light and frothy bubblegum entertainment then this is not the show for you. The Newsroom, an HBO production originally released in June 2012, is a successful series which ran for three seasons until its conclusion in December 2014. The show is primarily about a U.S based news division which strives to produce quality news in a world where voyeuristic and misinformed reporting is the norm. With an ensemble cast consisting of famous names like Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterston and Dev Patel, this show was one of the highest rated HBO premieres in recent years.
From the seventy minute long pilot episode, The Newsroom had its viewers enraptured with its gritty (and witty) approach to news broadcasting. From the moment the audience gives ears to the title theme and sees the images of news casters through the ages being flashed on the screen, one knows that this is a show that honors the traditional identity of the fourth estate and supports honest and forthright journalism. Aaron Sorkin, the Emmy award winning director of the West Wing and Sports Night, with a crew of no more than ten writers, developed the idea of a program that would portray the inner workings of a news network in 2009.
The pilot episode began with an explosive rant by Newsnight anchor Will McAvoy (played by Jeff Daniels) upon being asked why America is the greatest country in the world. His response; “It’s not. But it can be.” That in a nutshell is the spirit of the entire show. Spanning over three seasons with 25 episodes overall, the sharp writing and crackling chemistry between the cast makes serious news such as the death of Osama Bin Laden and the electoral campaign of Barack Obama seem gripping and personal. The uniqueness of the show lies in its ability to discuss investigative journalism from a human point of view.
With a romantic thread running between the lead characters, this show pulls you in with its realistic depiction of adult romantic relationships. The friendly and biting banter exchanged by the cast is a joy to watch as it lights up the screen. Actors like Jane Fonda and Olivia Munn play their parts to perfection as viewers are made to completely relate to such strong, funny and independent women. The element of humor in this show is high enough for it to be comedic but also intelligent enough to make you think.
Politically charged shows of this nature are also a rarity as they draw upon their material from real life incidents. The present day situation in Africa and countries of the Middle East are accurately shown and because this show is set in 2010, often the viewers know more about what’s happening than the characters do. The show also consists of some very bold writers that reflect the sentiments of open minded American citizens who are not afraid to question U.S hegemony and criticize the stances or actions of the American government. Therefore,a refreshingly unafraid critique of The United States of America shows this star spangled country in all its colors.
Despite being a show with substance, The Newsroom has found a very niche audience. If you are someone interested in realistic journalism, informed politics, a good comedy with a high quota of wit and intelligence or just a plain old drama that keeps you gripped till the end, this is a must watch show for you. Nominated for multiple awards like the Critics Choice Television Award and the Primetime Emmy Award, this show will keep you engaged until the very last scene.