Instead, THE NEWSROOM got off to a pretty shaky start. While the first season has flashes of genius, such as McAvoy's opening monologue about the state of the nation, the show settles into a weirdly whimsical, semi-comic, idealistic tone that's far from the hard-bitten expose that we must have expected.
In a way, we shouldn't be surprised, as Sorkin's long been an idealistic guy, as evidenced by his work on THE WEST WING (if only all presidents were as conscientious as Martin Sheen's Jed Bartlet). Jeff Daniels' Will McAvoy is very much in the tradition of Bartlet, being the kind of fair-minded, conscientious newsman that sneers at the Fox Network, and is always open to giving the little guy a voice.
In a way, that's the problem with THE NEWSROOM, in that it's almost too warm, right down to the paternalistic, bow-tie wearing boss, played by Sam Waterson. Still, THE NEWSROOM occasionally works brilliantly. Having spent several years working in a radio newsroom, I can tell you there are a lot of things Sorkin nailed. The mounting excitement in the first episode when the BP oil story starts to build and build is very accurate as to how it feels whenever a big story starts to crack. But, THE NEWSROOM also tends to sputter once the tone gets too comedic, which happens often. It often feels like Sorkin's trying to make the MASH of tv news, but he's not there yet.
Like most HBO sets, THE NEWSROOM also gets bundled with a DVD copy of the show.
Still, THE NEWSROOM may yet turn into a classic, so we'll see. Even in it's current state, THE NEWSROOM is worth watching, even if it's nowhere near as addictive as a lot of it's cable brethren.