TV Review: HBO's 'The Newsroom'

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It’s certainly a Newsroom divided with Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO drama, starring Jeff Daniels as a cable news anchor who experiences a public meltdown. The Newsroom premieres Sundays at 10 p.m. ET. The following are reviews from TV critics around the Web, compiled by B&C.

“If you miss The West Wing every day, you will wrap your arms around this new series like a dog you see on the street that looks just like your old beloved pooch that passed away a few years ago.  The comparisons are many, beginning with the Sorkin-esque dialogue (a whole lot of harried monologues and - shocker — a whole lot of preaching).  - Ben Grossman, B&C Editor in Chief

The West Wing…gave us rich characters, a sense of proportionality and an infectious feeling of romance with the country and the people who want to make it better. The Newsroom, after four exhausting, smug episodes, gives us none of that: just Aaron Sorkin writing one argument after another for himself to win.” — James Poniewozik, TIME

“The biggest problem with The Newsroom — and it’s one of many, many problems — is that its goals and its narrative strategies are in direct conflict with each other…Ultimately, the show is the worst possible vehicle for promulgating the values and beliefs that the core characters profess. With shrill, self-righteous friends like these, journalism doesn’t need enemies.” - Maureen Ryan, The Huffington Post

“[P]lunging into The Newsroom essentially presents viewers with two options: Lament how the series doesn’t match the lofty crests of Sorkin’s finest work, or admire the show’s ambitions and embrace of serious ideas, and grudgingly roll with its uneven tides.” - Brian Lowry, Variety

“By episode four, you can feel some tardy recognition of the overwriting, some adjusting of the show’s knobs. The haranguing soliloquies are reduced by 30 percent and become slightly more like the romantic banter we crave; some villains are established; some wan love connections are presented for our consideration. By then, however, you already dislike the characters too much to care.” - Hank Stuever, The Washington Post

“It doesn’t matter that, again, I agree with much of what the show is arguing - even more about the toxic state of the TV news business than about our combative political system - because the arguments are placed in the mouth of a smug, preening jerk whom the show (or, at least, Mackenzie) keeps insisting is secretly the best guy in the world, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.” - Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

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