HBO has shown us time and again that they have cornered the market when it comes to edgy and biting drama series that also have a light and humorous touch at times. Fortunately for HBO subscribers, the premiere of “The Newsroom” suggests that it will also rise into the ranks of the edgy and biting social dramas that the network has become famous for producing.
This new drama showcases the drama, infighting, and politics that go on behind the scenes of the news networks that so many of us consume without thinking. At the center of the drama is Will McAvoy, a biting, sarcastic, and surprisingly charismatic news personality played by the multi-talented and powerful actor Jeff Daniels. Daniels has shown time and again that he has the acting chops to pull off almost any role, and he is shining as brightly as ever in this show as the world-weary yet fiercely intelligent (and incredibly cynical) Will.
Of course, Daniels is but one of the many larger than life characters that populate this series. Among the other background players is the slightly alcoholic yet still very sharp Charlie Skinner, Will’s boss and friend. As always, Waterston is at the top of his game, and although he only appears for a few moments during the premiere, he manages to steal the show. Let’s hope that we see a lot more of him in the episodes to come.
Throughout the premiere of “The Newsroom,” we get not only a glimpse into the inner workings of news shows, but also find ourselves asking probing and sometimes uncomfortable questions about the ways in which we as consumers and viewers interact with our news media. The series is at once searing and remarkably endearing, and it also manages to combine the best of social drama with a faint taste of biting and often sarcastic humor (courtesy, for the most part, of Daniels).
As a result of all of this, “The Newsroom” has a great deal of potential for future seasons, assuming that HBO greenlights the show for more than one. Like its strictly comedic counterpart “Veep,” this series takes a hard look at the world we live in. The characters here as ruthless and sometimes flawed as those that appears in “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire,” and as a result we are forced to see a little bit of ourselves in them, for all that we might not like what we see in the mirror that HBO holds up to our contemporary social and cultural landscape.
Overall, “The Newsroom” manages to fill yet another dramatic slot in the increasingly diverse and fascinating catalog of HBO original series. Whether it will be as big a hit or as much of a critics’ darling as “Game of Thrones” or “Boardwalk Empire” remains to be seen, but if the premiere is an indication of what kinds of commentary and drama we can expect, then this series could very well cement HBO’s reputation as the premier provider of excellent original programming.