Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Round Two: The Newsroom

The Newsroom: Season 1, Episode 2 “News Night 2.0” (B+)

Whereas the first episode simply established the universe in which this show lives, the second one really drives home that this is a concept that’s going to work. Watching the machinations of the studio is immensely fascinating, and Sorkin’s dialogue feels right at home as verbalized by the various players. This episode introduces two important new characters, Rhys and Sloan. I love Chris Messina, and I do hope that he’ll stick around as Will’s ratings guru despite Charlie’s demand that their daily meetings cease immediately so that Will can get back to focusing on reporting. Olivia Munn is extremely competent as Sloan, someone who seems capable of going head-to-head with MacKenzie without flinching and also pisses Will off enough to get his attention. Maggie’s unfortunate romantic history managed to really mess things up, but it did give Alison Pill terrific material for the entire episode, highlighted by her frustration with not being yelled at, which Jim tried to drive home with minimal success. Watching the run-up to these broadcasts and then the segments themselves is what’s most exciting about this show, and it’s fun to see just how easily MacKenzie slips in and out of her on-air mode, whispering distracting things into Will’s earpiece constantly while they’re live. Fortunately, the supporting characters are getting a chance to play along too, with Dev Patel’s Neil having some great lines and moments to shine, and Don still sticking around in an annoyed advisory capacity to help the transition along, something that may take longer than expected.

Good news for fan of this show – it’s already been renewed for a second season!

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