I noticed the other day that the first episode of The Newsroom was available for free on YouTube. (Good on ya, HBO.) Last night James and I were hunting for something to watch while we ate dinner, and thanks to the video of the first few minutes of episode one that went viral, I remembered about the episode freebie, and we decided to give it a try.
It. Was. Fantastic. We watched all four available episodes last night, back to back, eyes glued to the screen, laughing until we hurt in some parts. If you’re any kind of a news/politics junky, and/or a journalist (or journalism student, in my case), you’re probably going to love the crap out of this show. It’s funny, it’s intense, the acting is amazing, the writing is sharp, the premise is solid – y’all, I want to cuddle this show and give it pet names, I love it so much.
Be that as it may, I’m not without complaints. Well, I’d hesitate to say I’m “complaining.” Not yet, at any rate. We’ll call these “quibbles.” Right now, the show is so frickin’ good, I’m willing to let these slide. Give me a few more episodes, and we’ll see if I still feel that way.
1) Will McAvoy
Our newsroom hero is Will McAvoy, a newsroom anchor reminiscent of Keith Olbermann. (Jeff Daniels turns in a stellar performance here, by the way.) This guy is supposed to be a registered Republican, a conservative. In four episodes, the show has made a point of telling us this, and also telling us that McAvoy’s show is supposed to fact-based and “centrist,” neither left- nor right-leaning. Except all McAvoy has done is bash Republicans, and hard. Even I, a dyed-in-the-wool lefty, can tell you that back in late 2010/early 2011 (when the show is set), the Dems were screwing it up all over the place. If McAvoy’s show is supposed to be centrist, I’d like to see him attacking some Democrats in future episodes. It’s not like they didn’t give folks plenty of ammunition.
2) MacKenzie McHale
MacKenzie McHale, played by Emily Mortimer, is the news show’s executive producer. She’s a journalist with tons of experience in both running a newsroom and reporting. In fact, she’s just back from a year or two in Iraq and Afghanistan, covering the war. In the first few episodes, the secondary characters talk her up a lot as a woman made of steel. One character even goes so far as to point out that she got stabbed in the stomach and shot at and still turned in awesome reporting, yaddayadda. We get it. This gal is tough. Now, I’d like to see them actually show me that, by having McHale act tough, instead of acting like a flighty little nutbar who’s obsessed with her ex. I mean, she gets a few nice scenes where she very calmly does not back down and gets her way on a thing, but she gets a lot more scenes where she’s, well, a flighty little nutbar who’s obsessed with her ex.
Eh, maybe I’m just fussing for no good reason. It was pretty damn easy to be mad at Tea-Party Republicans a year and a half ago, and McHale is supposed to be “exhausted” from her time in Iraq (IE, shades of PTSD). But I would like to see these issues addressed in coming episodes. This is an excellent show as it stands, and clearing up little quibbles like this will only make it stronger.