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Sorkin's The Newsroom panned by critics
All-new American TV series The Newsroom has premiered across the US, with critics unceremoniously panning the long-awaited journalism drama.
Created by Aaron Sorkin, the brain-child behind huge US TV show The West Wing, the series has been in development since 2009, so the build-up to the first episode was like no other.
Jeff Daniels and Aaron Sorkin
Speaking to the BBC, Sorkin said:
"I like writing idealistically and romantically, and if you can do that in a setting that is ordinarily a place for cynicism and pessimism the way we view journalism now, you can do something fun and that's what I wanted to do."
Described as a "behind-the-scenes look at the people who make a nightly cable-news program," on HBO's official The Newsroom website, TV critics took to the web to slam The Newsroom, with many taking chunks out of Creator Sorkin's script writing and character development!
Lead character Will McAvoy is played by Tony Award winner Jeff Daniels, with no-nonsense Executive Producer Mackenzie MacHale played by Shutter Island's Emily Mortimer. The back-and-forth hits between these two characters hints that their (strictly professional) relationship may well be a tumultuous one.
Jack Mirkinson, Media Editor for The Huffington Post, said: "His (Sorkin's) sanctimony, always in danger of boiling over, seems to have exploded out of control. The audience drowns in it."
Mirkinson also takes aim at the truth and plausibility of the script: "It's another chat that shows the bubble Sorkin appears to be living in. Anchors getting aggressive and calling people out? You must be joking!"
And it's not just The Huffington Post that slated the program. US website The Daily Beast have critisied the show, heading their review with: "The Newsroom: Aaron Sorkin's Flawed New HBO Drama".
Journalist Andrew Romano writes:
"Viewers inclined to describe gossip columnists as dope peddlers and reality-television fans as "bitches" -- this is McAvoy's winsome term for the other -female character foolish enough to show an interest in Housewives -- will probably enjoy The Newsroom.
"Normal human beings, however, may feel a little more conflicted."
But it wasn't all bad, with the American journalist then commenting that the cast was "stellar" - saying:
"...especially executive producer MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer), a canny screwball, and young reporters Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr.) and Maggie Jordan (Alison Pill), who have more than enough chemistry to carry off the stale love-triangle subplot they've been saddled with."
Emily Bell, Director of digital content for Guardian News and Media, was less than enthused by the show, saying:
"The existential crisis in television news might be an overwhelmingly interesting subject for Sorkin to explore, but like Jeff Daniels's Will McAvoy, only if he is prepared to lose most of his audience in the process."
The BBC's reporter Tom Brook begins his critique describing the lead character, Will McAvoy as a "Cantankerous newsman", saying that "television journalism and politics come under scrutiny, but this series really is about the individuals who populate a newsroom."
Brook added: "The anchorman at the heart of it all starts off as a bland, ratings-safe figure who doesn't ruffle any feathers".
But Jarett Wieselman, TV critic from ET Online, explained he thought creator Sorkin was launching an attack on TV newsrooms:
"What Aaron Sorkin is doing with The Newsroom is launching a scathing attack on journalism today."
Emily Nussbaum, journalist for The New Yorker, agrees that Sorkin may have missed the mark on his latest creation, explaining:
"Sorkin's fantasy is of a cabal of proud, disdainful brainiacs, a "media élite" who swallow accusations of arrogance and shoot them back as lava. But if the storytelling were more confident, it could take a breath and deliver drama, not just talking points."
Fond of Fonda
Set to air in Britain on Sky Atlantic, on 10th July, we will have to wait and see what British audiences make of the seemingly downtrodden series.
All critique aside, news that American actress and fitness guru Jane Fonda is a member of 'reoccurring cast' fills us with joy. (Who doesn't love a bit of Fonda?)
Watch the official trailer for The Newsroom here
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