TV Recommendation: HBO’s Underrated “The Newsroom”

In recent years, the original programming on premium-cable networks like HBO, Starz, AMC, and more have become immensely popular; you could even argue it’s where the money is at, as many primarily film actors have made the jump to television and especially to these big premium networks.

And the offerings certainly are fantastic. “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “Dexter,” “Weeds,” “Homeland,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Breaking Bad,”, there’s something for just about everyone.

But when people start talking about HBO’s premium network offerings, everyone tends to circle back to one show, “Game of Thrones.” And for good reason: it’s a solid adult-centric fantasy-adventure-drama. Some may argue it’s the best show on television, which might be why it’s among the most-pirated pieces of media today.

But for some reason — maybe it’s the content, or the cast and crew involved, or the time of year it’s on TV — everyone seems to neglect and, in my opinion, under-appreciate HBO’s excellent political drama “The Newsroom,”, now in its second season. “The Newsroom” stars Jeff Daniels. Yes, Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber.

Daniels plays Will McAvoy, a gun-toting, whiskey-swilling, cigarette-smoking, right-leaning hotshot news anchor who lambasts — or more appropriately, rips to shreds — his own country during the show’s opening scene, loses his nightly time slot in place of a less favorable one, and then single-handedly aims to fix the problems with American news media. That is, until he realizes he doesn’t have to go it alone and, frankly, needs all the help he can get. After all, if we as Americans aspire call our country the greatest in the world, we need to be informed.

And that’s what this Aaron Sorkin-created drama aims to do. By taking a look back on big news events in the past year and re-spinning them using all the information we’ve gathered since, the fact-finders, journalists, and reporters in “The Newsroom” allow viewers to see how blinded we are at times with our go-go-go, need-to-know-now society. The speed with which information must be gathered and reported quickens each day, but easy access to such information can often lead to misinformation.

Hindsight is 20/20, sure, but there’s no arguing that “The Newsroom” seeks to tell it like it is. It’s a show that is both well-written and well-acted, offering up loads of witty banter and just as much reporting drama. You may think it should be difficult to create suspense in the re-telling of news stories fresh in our minds, but “The Newsroom” does so with ease.

And if you need proof that “The Newsroom” has enough dramatic goodness to keep you watching, check out the clip below containing Jeff Daniels’s provocative monologue from the show’s opening scene. Why is America the greatest country in the world? His response, “It isn’t,” will surely make some angry, but within it there is an honest, bitter pill to swallow.

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