I had given up on scripted TV.
Great drama was sparse. Intelligent television got canceled after barely a chance, and somewhere along the line, entertainment veered toward sensationalism with a particular focus on the drunken misadventures of Italian-American twentysomethings who referred to themselves in the derogatory. Thank goodness for Aaron Sorkin, producer of The West Wing, because within the first nine minutes of HBO's The Newsroom, I was sold. This is DVR-worthy.
Jeff Daniels does a remarkable job as beleaguered anchorman Will McAvoy, who while on an interview panel at Northwestern University, gets pressured into answering a question that went against his journalistic integrity. What follows is a five minute pipe-bomb of a rant as to why America is NOT the greatest country on the planet. (The answer will be the subject of my next blog entry.) He returns from a three-week exile to find his entire staff turned over and faces the realization that he's not the man he used to be in many of the most important ways. McAvoy's boss, played by Law & Order's Sam Waterston, hires his ex-girlfriend as his new executive producer, and she tries to get him back to being a newsman.
I never watched a Sorkin series. Didn't catch a single episode of The West Wing. I came away thinking maybe I should have. I can't think of too much TV that left me with goosebumps.
The rest of the supporting cast was incredible as well, but this was Jeff Daniels' star vehicle. His initial breakdown that set events in motion is something I wish I would see in news today. Again, that's the subject of another blog.
Intelligent TV is back again, people. We should watch it while we got it.