One thing I am decidedly nerdy about is the work of Aaron Sorkin, who is soon to make a return to my television with a new show; The Newsroom.
The West Wing was my first true induction to Sorkin, although I had seen A Few Good Men and American President and been unaware that it was Sorkin’s work, became a hardcore fanatic of his work and subsequently went away to explore every other creation of his. I fell in love with it all. I have been frequently engaged by the intelligence of his work, I adore the wit, and, especially in his television work, I love the relationships & dynamic he creates between the ensemble of characters.
I am also a BIG fan the “Walk n’ Talk” – where, in my opinion, some of the most sizzling dialogue delivered on television has ever taken place (in The West Wing especially)
So I am madly excited about the upcoming Sorkin show ‘The Network’, especially as it’s backed by probably the most creator-respectful network of them all; HBO.
Sorkin + HBO = Huuuuuuuuuge promise.
I can barely describe the excitement and anticipation for this show. Sorkin’s last foray into television finished all too abruptly in 2007 with the cancellation of the excellent (but too slow to get going, unfortunately) Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Since then my Sorkin addiction has been fed by a small number of movies; the colourful & eccentric ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’, the highly acclaimed ‘The Social Network’, and ‘Moneyball’ (my least favourite. While I can appreciate the quality and writing of the film, as a Brit I just don’t get Baseball at all – it’s just rounders in a stadium!) but nothing compares to a solid, weekly fill beamed direct into my living room.
The trailer implies the show will engage with many themes that run as deep preoccupations in Sorkin’s work; extremist US conservatism, commercial institutionalisation censorship in US network television, political corruption, and “work family” dynamics, all of which will sit organically well in the network news bull pen setting. (which was probably, if anything, what didn’t sit so right in Studio 60, an entertainment show, which started feeling a bit repetitive in it’s debate about the power of the extreme Christian right in the US and it’s control over censorship.)
Here’s the trailer I’m referring to;
The fact that it is a HBO show amplifies my excitment further. As far as original dramatic programming goes this was the channel that brought us such ambitious, and sometimes risky shows as Oz, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, The Wire and Game of Thrones. (my wife would probably want me to tag Sex and The City to that list too – ridiculous program that it is) even though HBO is a commercial channel like any other that needs viewing figures (I was livid when Deadwood ended so abruptly, and Carnivale too) it’s pedigree of programming gives me hope of longevity for a show I’m hopeful yet confident will be great dramatic television.
There are a few things I’m skeptical but hopeful about. I’m a little apprehensive about. The cast for one. With the exception of Jeff Daniels and Jane Fonda, who show good promise from the trailer, the other main protagonists are either unknown to me, or actors I’ve never really been much of a fan of. Emily Mortimer seems a weak choice and I’m hoping she brings some game to earn her place. I can’t explain it, but I’ve seen her in a lot of stuff and she never clicked with, just seemed a bit flaccid. Dev Patel I’ve never got either; I didn’t like Skins at all, didn’t think he was as hot as the hype in Slumdog, and was in the atrocity that was The Last Airbender. (to be fair; that blame lies squarely with Shymalan really. Patel is just getting hit with turd splash back really) no sign of some Sorkin stalwarts either; like Bradley Whitford, Timothy Busfield (who, incidentally is an accomplished television director and directed some Sports Night and Studio 60 episodes too), or Joshua Malina, all of whom I love performing Sorkin’s work.
I’m also a little disappointed not to see Thomas Schlamme’s name attached to the project anywhere, who’s been a close Sorkin collaborator since Sports Night and a great interpreter of Sorkin’s screenplays.
These things aside, I’m still insanely eager for the UK airdate to be announced on Sky Atlantic (better not be too long!) but for US viewers it premieres on 24th June – less than 4 weeks away (lucky buggers).
So, anyone else as excited as I am for The Newsroom?