Anyone fortunate enough to have viewed the HBO series ‘The Newsroom’ is aware of its brilliance in characters and conviction, while exploring topics of the day, albeit with an American focus and viewpoint. Fortunately, the nature of character development is such that elements of everyman are revealed, especially in personal relationships – so the vitality of the stories can resonate with an audience beyond the U.S. border. (Having a few non-Americans in the regular cast helps.)
There were three seasons, some twenty-five approximately one-hour, commercial free episodes, first aired from 2012-2014.
With Aaron Sorkin as principal writer, the most powerful impact of each episode derives from the pacing of the stories. The set designs look modern, even glitzy; the main characters have fun interacting with the prevailing feng shui. But it is the scripts, as they alternate between breakneck spurts of dialogue and more character emotive moments, concurrently shedding their light on actual recent events, which primarily carry the day. Frequently the onrushing dialogue segues into humour, with identifiable human foibles the main catalyst.
U.S. presidential politics is frequently the backdrop; opinion expressed with the benefit of some hindsight is supported by actual news clips and actors standing in for supposed interviews.
The overall commentary, Aaron Sorkin’s words mainly expressed through the mouth of news anchor Will McAvoy (Emmy winning Jeff Daniels), relates some powerful observations about humanity and democracy. There also is little attempt to escape controversial positions.
How thought-provoking it would be if this program could be revived now, providing much-needed sober overview of what is happening now south of the Canadian border!
Here are some lessons we can glean from this short yet powerful series:
- Having a luxurious apartment, with a fabulous city view, is no guarantee of a good night’s sleep
- Sometimes humour builds through sheer volume of words
- The wealthier you are the more opportunities you have to mess up a relationship by spending your money poorly
- The more influential you are the more likely you are to operate from a platform of omnipotence scaled down to the situation need
- The lower the demographically homogenized ratings, the more freedom to stick your neck out
- Strained relations, justified or not, can pop out of walls to haunt your rational persona
- Standing up for a principle is just as provocative a concept as it has ever been
- Storytelling mixed with current reality helps the significance of message to filter through with force
- Keeping your head low can help you see and explore the bushes among the trees
- Reading through the lines is a talent to which we should all aspire