Aaron Sorkin has a lot he wants to talk about. The past two years have bubbled over with disasters, both political and otherwise (but mostly political), but poor Mr. Sorkin has been too busy writing and promoting the well-received movies The Social Network and Moneyball to sit down and have a chat with us about it all. Lucky for him then (but not as much for us), that HBO has given him The Newsroom, an hour-a-week platform from which Sorkin can orate about all the crazy, f-ked-up sh-t that's happened since two springs ago. He is mad as hell and, though the rest of us have moved past a lot of it, he's not gonna take it anymore.
Yes, the strangest and indeed most disastrous thing about Sorkin's new cable news drama The Newsroom (premiering this Sunday at 10pm) is that the action begins in April of 2010 (just in time for the Deepwater Horizon spill), so we are seeing the dogged news team fret over and carefully shape the stories of yesterday. We watch beleaguered, epiphany-laden anchor Will McAvoy (a bellicose, throbbing Jeff Daniels) take noble stands against Sharron Angle and rumors of Barack Obama's $200 million/day trip to India (anyone remember that?) and SB 1070. And we are supposed to be reflexively proud of this character for doing things that, well, we know weren't actually done. There wasn't an ACN (Atlantis Cable News) and there wasn't a Will McAvoy, a toothless Republican who suddenly starts speaking truth to power, lies, and shallowness. The oil spill happened and Gabrielle Giffords was shot, but News Night didn't bravely cover the Gulf with the science rather than the sensationalism, and executive producer MacKenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer, seemingly not sure what she's doing here) didn't staunchly refuse to declare Rep. Giffords dead even though all the other networks had. So why should we care, and more importantly why should we feel inspired? Those things happened, but this stuff never did! So what's the point?? This is Hindsight: The Television Series, a wishful-thinking fantasy that out-wishes even that most wishy of series, The West Wing. Here Sorkin has essentially made a roman à clef out of the past two years' worth of his dinner party conversations and set it in a newsroom. "Here are some things I said that you missed because you weren't at my house." Hm. Thanks? You should have just kept a blog, Aaron.