If you tend to question the veracity of your local media broadcasts, then you might enjoy watching HBO’s new series The Newsroom.
Starring Jeff Daniels as the outspoken and volatile news anchor Will McAvoy, the show starts off with Will's controversial on-camera outburst before he discovers that his former team has bailed on him, and that he has to work with an entirely new news team after returning from a forced leave. In his tireless quest for delivering the news as it is to his audiences, Will battles it out with a ratings-hungry network management, the Tea Party movement, an emotionally charged younger staff, colleagues that seek to whip him in line, and his personal demons.
I'm a big fan of the show, as it illustrates writer and creator Aaron Sorkin's rather cynical yet idealistic insights into journalism as an honorable profession, fighting the good political fight not just for national, but societal democracy.
Ironically, it does not necessarily provide an accurate description of the workplace (a largely glamorous crew, the intensely hectic taping and filming sessions). None of the main characters -- especially the women -- are exactly likeable or noble as well, and they tend to say exactly the right thing at the right time a tad too often. There are long, overdrawn (but well-written) speeches and petty in-office fights. There's also a little too much focus on the characters' personal drama which, for me, distracts the viewer from appreciating their initial goal of Painting The Bigger, Truthful Picture for The Nation.
It's an obviously stylized drama and an editorial, and in favor of the Democratic party. It's not for everyone.
Yet in spite of all these probable setbacks, the show works. As you zero in on these beautifully flawed characters with their professional efforts coalescing into a triumphant and sometimes bittersweet climax in each episode, it gives you a semblance of hope that perhaps, just perhaps, empowered individuals out there still care for the unvarnished truth. And maybe you're one of them.
If you haven't seen the show yet, watch the following trailers from HBO: