HBO has released the trailer for the upcoming Aaron Sorkin series Newsroom, and…yep, it’s an Aaron Sorkin show.
David Simon Cowell is on record as having a severe writer crush on Sorkin, but this is one area where the PCHA brotherhood stands in tatters. I found Sports Night to be dull and forced, West Wing to be maudlin and preachy, and Studio 60 to be one of the worst scripted shows ever put on television (and that’s in spite of an extremely likable cast).
Sorkin proved with The Social Network (and Moneyball, to a much lesser extent) that he can write without resorting to his usual bag of tricks, and without making scripted entertainment feel like he’s reaching through the screen to shake some sense into your stupid head.
Granted, I’m making judgments based on a three-minute trailer, but Sorkin does not seem to have learned his lesson from the Studio 60 debacle. If anything, he’s getting even more self-important as he moves from exploring late-night comedy to cable news.
Sorkin takes heat for being overly earnest, but that’s not the problem. There’s nothing wrong with sincerity even (especially?) in an age of overwhelming irony. Sorkin’s problem is in the way he presents his sincerity — with the subtlety of a Glenn Beck monologue . He’s not earnest, he’s preachy, ham-handed and mawkish. And I’m sure that the “fed up newscaster losing his shit on TV” is meant as an homage to Network, but it’s way too on the nose.
Then there’s the clumsiness of the writing that’s on display just in this trailer. A reporter interviewing Daniels’s character seems like a facile way to introduce viewers to him, a cheap device unworthy of a writer of Sorkin’s talents. It gets even worse with the blatantly expositional dialogue, like “You’re the Jay Leno of news anchors,” and “Are you willing to say whether you lean right or left?” That’s just fucking lazy.
Sorry, DSC, I don’t think your wish is coming true. “He’s trying to do good, and he’s risking a lot to do it.” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!