The Newsroom

HBO Home Video

Just as high-school students have a required reading list, there are certain books, movies and television shows that all Americans should seek out. Aaron Sorkin’s comedic drama about a fictitious cable-news organization handling real-life headlines deserves a spot at the top based on the first five minutes of the series-opener alone. Fans of Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network) will recognize his use of quirky characters and rapid, witty dialogue, but the morals—both foolishly spotless and disgustingly questionable—and the human element amid overwhelming tragedy and triumph drive this series. Sorkin has assembled a stellar ensemble cast that brings nuance and subtleties to their roles, and each have a chance to shine. This is most evident in “Bullies,” which sees an amazing turn by Olivia Munn as the show’s economist, while guest-star Damon Gupton steals the series as a man who stands up to lead anchor Will McAvoy’s (Jeff Daniels) well-meaning broadcast bullying. Watching The Newsroom, we’re forced to examine the 24/7 cable-news we choke down, but as Sorkin points out, the series has the gift of hindsight. In the end, it offers no solution to the problems it identifies, but it asks the questions. And sometimes questions are more important than the answers.