The Ideal Newsroom

As a writer, one of my favorite thing about a written story in any medium, be it TV, movie, book, comic book, play, whatever, is dialogue. Well-written dialogue can make or break anything for me. Whether it's witty repartee, a deep, dramatic soliloquy, or even one perfectly-timed, well-placed word; for me, dialogue is where it's at. It's one of the reasons Joss Whedon is my favorite television writer. It's the reason Brian Michael Bendis has been my favorite comic book writer for years (even though he blocked me on Twitter for sassing him one night, but come on, he deserves a little sass sometimes... but that's another story). And dialogue then, was the number one reason why I've been looking forward to the debut of The Newsroom for so long.

The Newsroom marks the return to television of one of the masters of dialogue, Aaron Sorkin. He's the guy who co-pioneered the famous "walk-and-talk" style of shooting found in all his earlier shows and already on display a bit in Sunday night's Newsroom premiere. I should mention before I give this show any kind of review that I'm a total mark for Sorkin; between Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, A Few Good Men, The American President, Moneyball, and The Social Network, how could I not be?

Let's get the bad out of the way. Sorkin does have certain tropes that appear without fail in all his shows, and the Newroom is no exception. Someone has a bit of a meltdown that is a public relations nightmare. There's at least one office romance. Everyone in the room at any given time is smarter than anyone else in the world. Anti-conservatism runs rampant. What's on display is the most ideally perfect example of the show's material. If you don't like those Sorkinisms, you should just pass now, because you'll hate The Newsroom.

But if you're like me and you love the idealism Sorkin's characters represent, you'll fall in love with this show within the first ten minutes. In fact, you probably already have from seeing this promo clip, which is part of the show's opening scene.

Two things right off the bat. One: who the fuck knows all those statistics right off their head? Nobody, right? Probably. But shouldn't a guy who has a nightly news show all his own know all that? That's where the second thing comes in: idealism. We see it in two forms here. He's the ideal newsman because he knows all that... and because he fondly remembers a time of a more ideal America than what we have now. Just like the politicians on The West Wing were the ideal examples of what politicians should be, smart, and, for the most part, idealists. That's the kind of character I love, and that's the kind of dialogue I love. Is it preachy? Yes. Is it unrealistic? In this case, yes. But is it worth watching? Absolutely.

After all, don't we all need a little more intelligence and idealism in our lives?

And if that doesn't float your boat... well, it also features Sam Waterston as a rampaging alcoholic, and who doesn't love that idea?