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The Newsroom (Season 1)
BLU-RAY disk
06.04.2013 By: Chris Bumbray
The Newsroom (Season 1) order download
Director:
Various

Actors:
Jeff Daniels
Emily Mortimer
Sam Waterson
Jane Fonda

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is the star anchor of a CNN-style news station called ACN. Usually adopting an unbiased, moderate viewpoint, McAvoy gets himself into trouble while giving a University lecture and launching into a truthful diatribe about the state of the nation. He goes on leave, and comes back to find that his entire staff has jumped ship and left him in the hands of a new producer, Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer), with whom he shares a history.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Aaron Sorkin's THE NEWSROOM is a victim to too-high expectations. When it was announced that Sorkin, fresh off THE SOCIAL NETWORK would be doing an HBO show examining the goings-on at a CNN-style news station, we all expected it to be nothing short of brilliant.

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.

THE EXTRAS
THE NEWSROOM hits Blu-ray with several good commentary tracks , deleted scenes and two featurettes // The first one examines the ASN set, while the second is a good thirty-minute roundtable discussion featuring Aaron Sorkin, director Greg Mottola, and the major cast.

Like most HBO sets, THE NEWSROOM also gets bundled with a DVD copy of the show.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
THE NEWSROOM may not be brilliant, but it has potential. Jeff Daniels is very good, and Emily Mortimer is appealing if a little cutesy in the first few episodes for a reporter who's supposed to have been embedded in Iraq, and suffered a knife wound. The rest of the cast is hit and miss. I like Waterson, and Chris Messina and Jane Fonda put in memorable appearances here and there. Olivia Munn also makes an impression as a leggy economist who joins the show in episode two.

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.
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