As promised, we’re going to quickly dip our toes into the somewhat toxic pool of The Newsroom analysis. Like with any review or analysis, anything we say is ultimately futile and inconsequential, because, in the end, it’s not going to change the way you feel about the show, and it’s certainly not going to alter Aaron Sorkin’s vision or persuade him to reconsider his writing style. But in the case of The Newsroom, anything we say, any argument we make, feels especially meaningless in the wake of all the criticism and (less so) praise it’s received. But, hell, let’s be a Greater Fool and try anyway.
Let’s just say out of the gate that we like the show, and while that might put us in the minority we stand by our verdict. But what’s interesting or pertinent to us is not so much that we like it – or if it’s “good,” assuming there’s some kind of objective rubric which can calculate a show’s quality (which there’s not) – it’s the question of whether or not the show is worth watching. And we think the answer is: absolutely. Doesn’t that fact that the show seems to be so reviled (or snickered at) in so many corners yet still watched obsessively indicate there’s something of worth there? Certainly, The Newsroom doesn’t garner the same level of propulsive minute-by-minute Twitter reaction on Sunday evenings as Breaking Bad (nor does it come close to the AMC show’s unanimous, breathless praise), but it’s definitely one of the most talked about shows, even if much of that talk comes with head shaking, finger wagging and head scratching. And if the show was bad, unrelentingly terrible, it wouldn’t have lasted, or at least the discussion would have quieted down. We can’t imagine that if Work It had not been canceled after one week the din about its repugnancy would have continued. We would have had our fun and then watched it fade away, nary giving it another thought. But with The Newsroom the debate continued for ten episodes, and seemed to increase as we approached the season finale. Clearly, people were entertained by the show. Which, we certainly concede, isn’t necessarily the same as enjoying the show.
More as the story develops…
Having wrapped up its first season this past Sunday, there was a lot to like about Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. And a lot not to like. But we’re going to get to all (or some) of that in another post. Whether or not you liked the show, found the writing brilliant, whip-smart and incisive or hackneyed, cloying and self-indulgent, found the female characters to be hysterical, underwritten, overacted cartoons or relatable, well-rounded representations of women balancing breaking news with breaking hearts, there’s one thing about The Newsroom about which you can’t argue: the opening title sequence is really, really long. One minute thirty seconds long. Clearly, Sorkin was eager to take advantage of every additional minute afforded to him by cable, and, perhaps, we should be grateful that instead of another Will McAvoy soliloquy (a McAliloquy?) we’re offered a montage of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite and the unimpeachable giants of broadcast journalism set to the epic and strangely melancholy strings and piano of Michael Newman’s grand musical theme, and it seems as if every single crew member gets their name up on-screen in that 90 seconds. We immediately felt that this dramatic opening and score was the direct successor to Sorkin’s The West Wing, and that, perhaps, the two openings were interchangeable. And then we began to imagine what The Newsroom opening credits would feel like if those striking and symbolic images (and Jeff Daniels) were paired with some of television’s other memorable themes.
And, thus, A Newsroom A Day was born. Over at our new Tumblr, we’re making that idea a reality, each day presenting The Newsroom opening titles with a different – perhaps popular, perhaps not – theme song (which has proven much more difficult than presumed, mostly because the majority of themes – even the most campy, expository, interminable ones from the 80s – are no longer than a minute). We started with the genuine article, then followed up on our initial West Wing hunch, and today we bring you The Newsroom if it met one of our favorite furry visitors from outer space.
We’ll be uploading these remixes here as well, but perhaps not as regularly, so feel free to go ahead and bookmark that Tumblr page.
Good night, and good luck.