The Newsroom


Living outside of the US makes me late to the game at times. Sometimes I’m current, hip, and up to date with popular culture. Other times I’m years behind.

TV programming has become insane these days. There is so much to watch; growing up, prime-time TV was relegated to three main channels: NBC, ABC, and CBS. The hours of watching sitcoms, comedies, action, and drama were limited to 7 PM to 10 PM. And more often than not there wasn’t much there to fill the airwaves. Movies and commercials, sports, and news would fill the empty hours. Eventually Fox and Universal and whatever other independent channels started popping up. Cable brought Turner and his network to us, and WGN, HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax all sprouted up. But for all the channels cable brought, there wasn’t much to see in regards to interesting television.

That’s changed quite a bit the last decade. Now any cable/satellite/independent channel out there is supplying us with a ton of good programming, sitcoms, comedies, dramas, action, horror, sci-fi, etc. It’s impossible to keep up. And, to be honest, I have a limited number of hours where I can sit down and watch a good show. In the prime time of 5 PM to 9 PM my time is split between helping with dinner, helping with the house, kids’ sports, homework, spending time with my wife, getting the kids ready for bed, and making time for the hour or two I dedicate to Fwoosh. By the time this is over, it is 9 PM and I have time to watch a movie. Time is a treasure and losing it in front of bad programming is tragedy.

But I like to allocate an hour a day to good TV. For us that’s American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and the one or two nuggets that we fill. Homeland filled that space and then lost us. We watch a movie once or twice a week and try to fill the other days with some pop culture to stay young, hip, and in touch.

The other night we started watching a new show called The Newsroom (2012). For those of you that are not clued into this dramady, it stars Jeff Bridges as a sold-out cable news anchor with a nightly show that’s lost its pop, along with the will of the host. The executive producer Sam Waterston has decided it’s time to shake things up to wake the slumbering giant of a man and get the program back on track. To do this he brings tried and tested Emily Mortimer to shake things up. And it works.

They resolve to take the news back to its roots, to the objective truth that it once represented. To crap on corporate cow-towing and to crap on government pressure. They attack. A noble effort and one that I enjoy seeing. Personally, I find watching the news a waste of time. It’s become entertainment and I rarely find myself more informed after watching it. I have to listen to one broadcast or the other to tell me what demons are in the other camp based on half-truths they fabricate to sell product.

Give me the facts. Keep it objective and let me decide what should be right. I’ve often complained about our system being Coca Cola vs Pepsi, most people locked into one flavor or another. But when the press is a part of that marketing, I lose my taste in the whole system.

This is an Alan Sorkin project and his politics do shine through. Sorkin, best known for West Wing  and Sports Night, two programs that I enjoyed watching. Sports Night was fantastic; it was lovely show about an ESPN SportsCenter program and the tensions that exist. But it was presented with an ideal world in mind. The episode about the cricket record being broken always pops up. There is a world beyond American sports where great things are happening, Sports Night should report on it, and yet who cares? West Wing also lived in this ideal world, and it is an ideal world. What an awesome president, what awesome thinking behind that super-human president. But it’s an ideal world, and even falls to the pit of the Coke vs Pepsi mentality poisoning our lives today.

Make no mistake, The Newsroom also suffers from this idealism. It is the ultimate representation of it, taking a politically conservative anchor and having him buck the system. Nothing more ideal in that.

But that’s why it is good entertainment, it’s why we tune in every week because we can only hope that our reality can start to mirror the idealism that Sorkin wants to entertain us with. Season 2 starts up this year and I look forward to the continued drama, comedy, and romance that spills across my TV for one hour, once a week.

Print Friendly

About pablolobo

Once a year the Zumpkin blesses the world with his twisted words unleashing his hoard of zombs upon the masses. For one night from sundown to sunup the world is thrown into chaos!