Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom let down by dialogue
New series spoiled by tedious riffing between too many characters
Aaron Sorkin raised the quality TV bar so high with The West Wing that everything he would do subsequently could only really fall short. But no one would have predicted just how spectacularly his creations would dip with the one-season Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (asides from a thrilling pilot episode and a later scene where Matthew Perry accidentally smashed a window with a baseball bat) and now The Newsroom (Sky Atlantic, Tue, 10pm).
What seems clear is that Sorkin can write brilliantly about the labyrinthine workings of American politics and the tortured mechanics of putting a TV show together. But when it comes to man versus woman relationships, his material truly sucks. By comparison, the private lives of CJ, Toby, Josh etc seemed to subtly complement the inner doings of the White House, but in The Newsroom the exciting broadcast news scenes are dwarfed by tedious riffing between too many characters who all talk as though they’re auditioning for a 1940s screwball comedy (it’s most unlikely that anyone actually even talked like that during wartime).
Jeff Daniels’ Paxmanesque news helm opened the series with a public attack on modern America (the show is set in 2010), while a later episode begins with an unequivocal apology from him for the tawdry sins of modern broadcasting and a promise that his programme, Newsnight, will help to shift the tide. We await a similar mea culpa from Aaron Sorkin for this shocking mess.