The Newsroom on HBO

Network:  HBO

Cast:  Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher, Jr., Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterston

Producer:  Aaron Sorkin, Scott Rudin, Alan Poul

Main Writer:  Aaron Sorkin

Premise:  A behind-the-scenes look at the inner-workings of a network news program.

So I know that a show like “The Newsroom” isn’t typically the type of review that you would expect to find on our website, but I love it and maybe you will too, so here goes…

I am a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin’s work – dating back to Sportsnight, a short-lived show that was much under-appreciated.  If Aaron struck out swinging with Sportsnight then he hit the ball out of the park with his portrayal of a network news program whose only goal is to change how Americans are forced into the ever struggling battle between left and right-wing media.  The show cleverly suggests that popular news media outlets intentionally influence our political beliefs rather than just report the news.  Whether you see yourself on the left, right, or somewhere in the middle, you can appreciate this show.  As someone who would probably be said to lean toward the right,  I still find myself yearning to see a news program today that resembles what Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) bring to life in this well written, directed, and produced piece of HBO gold…a show that simply looks for the truth.

The Newsroom follows the rebirth, if you will, of McAvoy as a hard hitting, straight to the facts anchor of the program “News Night”, on the fictitious network, ACN.  Will had previously been very well respected in the industry as a non-confrontational host who would not offend his guests by asking them the hard questions.  This made him well liked in the news world, and he was able to book practically anyone that he wanted for his show.

This all changes one night when Will sees a message from an audience member at a Q&A session which makes him re-think the answer to a question asked by a student…”Why is America the greatest country on earth?”  Without giving away any of the plot, especially for those who have not seen this season, I’ll say that his response sparks a series of events that changes his life forever in a number of entertaining ways.

The Good:

Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one of the most impressive ensemble casts that I have seen on television in quite some time.  All of the main actors do an amazing job of getting you emotionally involved with each and every character.  This, of course, is also due to the incredible script provided by Sorkin.   The story-line is compellingly written as  historical fiction, following real-world events that have happened in the past, and giving the viewers a glimpse into the day to day activities that take place inside a real news room when covering them.

The Bad:

I hate to say it because I can pretty much find something bad with everything.  I’m really good at it.  However, in this case, I just can’t.  This show is the epitome of what good television is to me, and I am just thankful that I’m lucky enough to watch the original airings!

The Ugly:

The first season just ended on Sunday, August 26th…but that just means you can watch them all in order on Hulu, Netflix, or by renting the DVDs.

Overall:  5 out of 5 stars.  Nice job, HBO!  Even though you are generally considered a left-wing media outlet, I praise your courage in allowing such a moderate show on your network…which takes a realistic aim at both parties equally.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

I highly recommend The Newsroom to each and every one of you, and I promise that you won’t regret giving it a try!

Dad Reviews: The Legend of Korra

 The Legend of Korra is a new Nickelodeon animated television series occurring in the same world as Avatar: The Last Airbender, some seventy years after the end of the first show.  This time around the new avatar is Korra, as you would expect from

the title of the show.  Prior knowledge of Avatar: The Last Airbender isn’t necessary to understand and enjoy Korra but I would recommend that anyone that hasn’t seen that show yet to go ahead and give it a try.  It is very compelling and I found it not only kept the interest of my whole family, but that I could also feel good about us watching together.

The legend of Korra thus far (three episodes in) lives up to the reputation of Avatar in every way.  The animation style is the same as with the previous show with an anime inspired look and feel that maintains a realistic quality.  The voice cast is excellent and do a wonderful job bringing their characters to life in combination with the animation. Continue reading “Dad Reviews: The Legend of Korra”

Review: Merlin on SyFy

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A friend invited me over last Friday to watch a TV show called “Merlin”. She led me to believe the show – full of magic, sword fighting, and other adventures in Camelot – was very much worth my while to see.  So she queued up the latest episode from her DVR and we watched it.  Needless to say I was, pardon the pun, spellbound by the action and witty banter between the young king Arthur and young Merlin. The next day I couldn’t help but check if I could watch all the previous episodes somehow online.  It turns out Hulu has all the episodes available through the free, non Hulu plus means. Continue reading “Review: Merlin on SyFy”