So, I binged watched a few television shows over the past few weeks instead of doing my blog.
My favourite out of all of them was Aaron Sorkins show, Newsroom, currently in its second season.
Now let’s get one thing clear straight away. I love The West Wing. I just love it. The characters, the stories, the script. It just all works.
Therefore, with the same writer and a great cast I thought that the show was going to grip me from the very first episode. However, this was not the case. I remember it took me one season to truly get into West Wing, but here I am halfway through season two and not as completely hooked as I thought I’d be.
There’s a few reasons for this and I’m going to try and flesh them out.
The Newsroom runs for approximately 56 minutes. For some reason, The West Wing was able to accomplish more in their running time of 44 minutes. Of course the show was always moving, with rarely a still scene, but this was only because of the nature of the people in the show. There were always problems to be solved, whether big or small. It didn’t even have to be political, half the fun of The West Wing were the personal hangups in every single episode. It is because of these issues that the audience got involved in such a serious way.
I believe that this is the problem for Newsroom. Not everyone is doing something. The cast is a similar size to West Wing, yet most of them do very little per episode. They also don’t really seem to be doing their jobs around the office.
The biggest problem though is the main character, Will (Jeff Daniels). Rather than focusing on his job he seems to lament about his own worth. Of course he is a great character and Jeff Daniels is a great actor but he seriously lacks the Bartlett kick. President Bartlett seemed to have accomplished more things in one morning that Will does over a season. There also seems to be somewhat of a lack of depth in Will, however it may be too early in season two to tell.
Now let’s talk about women for a second. The West Wing, in my opinion, had one of the greatest female casts for any television show ever, it’s anchor being C.J Cregg (Allison Janney). However, the show didn’t just rely on the brilliance of C.J. There was also Donna, Amy, Mandy, Mrs. Landingham, Ainsley, Margaret, Dr. McNally and a host of staff assistants that were all on point. These female characters were beautifully written; they were smart, funny, weird, sexy, powerful. These women really drove the show into a new level.
The main female focus in Newsroom is MacKenzie (Emily Mortimer). She is obviously a very talented woman as we are told every episode. However, she spends most of the episode putting wills ego back into place. Her character is yet to really grow and all we can see is her love affair with Will rather than her job. There are some other strong female rolls in Newroom, but they also have fallen away this season. Sloane Sabbath (Olivia Munn) is a great strong female character, this season though they decided to add in a sex scandal involving her which in my eyes really cheapened her character. I get what Sorkin was trying to say, but in Newsroom he truly hasn’t been able to write a strong female anchor like C.J Cregg.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vl9WfOdSkM – C.J Cregg – “technically I outrank you!”
Lastly, the first thing to go seriously wrong on the news occurred last night and it has only taken all season to get up to it. In The West Wing each episode would be a fight, whether it’s finding facts or fighting to get the peoples votes. It gripped you and you always wanted to a see a job well done. However, there is no fight in Newsroom, you find yourself somewhat supporting the idea of them screwing up. It is only early in show but I’m hoping that like last nights episode it remains a battle not just 56 minutes of will they wont they, they did.