I made the mistake, yesterday, of watching the series premier of Aaron Sorkin’s new show, Newsroom, on HBO. I say mistake because the show is outstanding and I couldn’t just watch the first episode. Thanks to HBOGO, on my iPad, I managed to get through several of them and it seemed to me they just kept getting better. This is West Wing quality writing and acting, but unfettered by the restrictions of network television. Unlike Game of Thrones (which I also love) there isn’t sex or violence. But Sorkin is free to use the language that real people would use and I think it works well in the show.
There is a speech Jeff Daniel’s character, Will McAvoy, makes toward the beginning of the first episode which captured almost exactly my feelings about the current state of politics in the United States and I suspect it resonated with many viewers. It’s interesting to read the comments about the speech. It seems as if many people upset by it are treating it as if it was a real speech, and not a fictional speech, delivered by a fictional character in a fictional television show. To me, it is like the Saint Crispin’s Day speech in Shakespeare’s Henry V. Daniels’ speech hooked me and it looks like I now have another HBO series to watch. At least HBO series generally don’t last more than 12 or 13 episodes max per season so I won’t be losing quite as much time.
But that’s okay because what I’ve seen so far makes for a damn good show. I’ve wondered how HBO manages to keep hitting them out of the park with its series, and the only thing I can come up with is that they are unfettered by the restrictions (both graphical: language and sex; as well as theme and tone) placed on many shows by broadcast networks. Advertisers aren’t paying for HBO in the same way that they are for shows on NBC. Subscribers pay for the shows and that gives HBO an incredible amount of freedom in choosing the shows the want to put on the air.
Newsroom is another great choice.