The billboards are everywhere, the press tour’s been intense and the money has loomed large for HBO’s new Aaron Sorkin drama, “The Newsroom.”
But it looks like the blitz may not work out: Everyone hates it.
The show stars Jeff Daniels as a Keith Olbermann-esque TV presenter whose impromptu soliloquy on the state of modern America at a Northwestern University journalism conference “goes viral” and turns his nightly news program into a renegade bastion of take-no-prisoners commentary.
Vanity Fair has speculated that the show’s budget was in the neighbourhood of $100 million. (HBO does not release formal production costs.)
The first and arguably most authoritative torpedo was launched by The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum, who said the show was “stuffed with piety and syrup.”
“… “The Newsroom” gets so bad so quickly that I found my jaw dropping. The third episode is lousy (and devolves into lectures that are chopped into montages). The fourth episode is the worst. There are six to go.”
Next came a “TV Rant” from Gawker’s epic screedster Drew Magary, who similarly called the show “trite, messagey bullshit.”
“You can smell the paternalism, the idea that Sorkin is the last pure man on the fucking Earth. A terrible Aaron Sorkin show is exactly the same as a terrible David Kelley show, only with more walking.”
ABC Senior White House Correspondent even chimed in, writing in The New Republic that the show “demonstrates [Sorkin’s] confusion about what ails journalism,” and that by the end he was itching to change the channel…despite watching it on DVD.
The final nail in the coffin may have come this weekend, from the Toronto Globe and Mail’s Sarah Nicole Pickett.
Pickett actually sat down for an interview with Sorkin himself, and the multi-Emmy and-freshly minted Oscar-winner comes off as worse than the show he’s written.
“With one look into the steel arrogance behind Sorkin’s eyes, I am sure he considers his life’s tragedy that, in 50 years, there will be no Sorkin to write about him.
“Listen here, Internet girl,” [Sorkin] says, getting up. “It wouldn’t kill you to watch a film or pick up a newspaper once in a while.” I’m not sure how he’s forgotten that I am writing for a newspaper; looking over the publicist’s shoulder, I see that every reporter is from a print publication (do not see: Drew Magary). I remind him. I say also, factually, “I have a New York Times subscription and an HBO subscription. Any other advice?”
Well, can’t win ’em all.
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