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The Newsroom


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106 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 07:21 PM

I don't see a thread here on this show, so I have no idea if anyone here is watching it. It is one of 2 or 3 shows that are "appointment television" for me.

 

Writer/creator Aaron Sorkin gets a lot of flack in the reviews,and is rightfully accused of using a lot of tropes. The show is also interpreted by those leaning right as leaning left, maybe not as rightfully. And I can't disagree that yes, no one talks like this in real life, and yes, the love triangles are pretty ridiculous and boring.

 

But if you get past all of that, most of which is still pretty clever and entertaining, to the meat of the story, I honestly can't find anything better than this show. Last night's "Red Team III" episode completely knocked it out of the park. I don't want to sound too hyperbolic, but honestly I have not experienced television written this well since, well since Aaron Sorking stopped writing scripts for The West Wing a decade ago. And that includes every single episode of five seasons of The Good Wife, which I still say is the best-written series we have ever been blessed with.

 

If you have seen The Social Network, or Sports Night (reruns of which are about to begin), or even the ill-fated Studio 60,  you probably have an idea how good this guy is. He may have some idiosyncracies that disturb others (and most who complain about him are writers that are jealous that they don't have anywhere near that amount of talent), but this guy can write circles around anybody. the guy is a national treasure.


Edited by TomCat, 28 August 2013 - 07:43 PM.

It's usually safe to talk honestly and openly with people because they typically are not really listening anyway.

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#2 OFFLINE   djlong

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 04:11 AM

I got introduced to his "style" on "Sports Night".

 

Yeah, the characters talk in a way we WISHED we did (no "uh" or "ummm" or anything like that) but episodes like last night are the reason I'm glued to the set.  I did NOT see the "twist" coming, and I usually know at least that there's a setup coming even if I don't call the twist correctly.



#3 OFFLINE   itzme

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:34 AM

I couldn't agree more, TomCat. Sorkin is a national treasure. Btw, A Few Good Men is totally worth re-watching. I may do that next weekend when I think Newsroom takes a week off for the holiday.

#4 OFFLINE   RAD

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:39 AM

I really like the Blackout II episode from last season which IMHO showed how a presidential debate should really be run.


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#5 ONLINE   Jacob Braun

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:52 AM

I love everything Sloan says. She is quite possibly my favorite character.


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#6 OFFLINE   Charise

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:56 AM

I've watched it during free HBO previews and would watch it year-round if I could.  Typical, brilliant Sorkin. :D



#7 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:06 AM

Having dabbled in TV news, I find the show fascinating. The bouncing around in the timeline can be a little disorienting but I think that adds to the charm.

It is also interesting to see a revisit of some of the news stories of recent history.

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#8 OFFLINE   toobs

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:48 AM

I haven't been keeping up with the show as much when it debut, but the news is not the center point of the story, because we already know what happens and the outcome.  We see the characters and their rapid fire dialogue.  It's a good summer show.  A lot of drama at times, but it is still good.  I'm like 4 back.  I need to catch up soon.   



#9 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 03:47 PM

Yeah, the characters talk in a way we WISHED we did (no "uh" or "ummm" or anything like that) but episodes like last night are the reason I'm glued to the set.


The benefit of being a scripted show instead of real life is the ability to script perfection. Even with imperfect characters.

I did NOT see the "twist" coming, and I usually know at least that there's a setup coming even if I don't call the twist correctly.


Spoiler


The discussion of the clocks on the footbsll game was a good scene. Intelligent details and a good setup for later.
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#10 ONLINE   armophob

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:45 PM

Newsroom is a must watch here. Never saw the sports night show. Not a sports fan, so it never interested me.

 

Spoiler



#11 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:18 AM

Don't need to be a sports fan to enjoy Sports Night, though I can't say from experience myself as I am a fan. 

 

Sometimes with The Newsroom, there's just too much dialogue! 


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#12 OFFLINE   RAD

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:32 AM

Don't need to be a sports fan to enjoy Sports Night, though I can't say from experience myself as I am a fan. 

 

Sometimes with The Newsroom, there's just too much dialogue! 

Sometimes I turn on CC just to try to keep up.

 

BTW, don't know about anyone else but I hate how they changed the opening theme music.


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#13 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:34 AM

Yes, CC can help! But last night (I'm on catch-up) there was a long scene re the triangle or quadrangle of involvement and I was in bed falling asleep, and too lazy to turn it on. 


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#14 OFFLINE   mrro82

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 02:46 PM

I love newsroom. This season has been great so far.

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#15 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 03:24 PM

Always CC, hate the new colder, corporatized theme, loved the old, stirring theme.

 

They did screw up one bit of continuity. Early on just after the CIA guy's interview Mac tells Evil Temp Prod guy (whatever his name is) "I want to look at the raw footage!" It is never referred to again. Then much later after the scandal breaks she says the exact same thing and immediately finds the edit. Oops.

 

Did Olivia Munn walk into the role of a lifetime or what?? She's going to become for Sorkin what Rebecca Pidgeon was for Mamet (minus the sex, probably).


Edited by Maruuk, 28 August 2013 - 03:28 PM.


#16 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 03:49 PM

I assumed that she looked and didn't see anything wrong ... until she realized that there was a video hint that the footage was edited.

I'm curious as to why it was not an audio only edit. It was not like one could read his lips. But of course, there had to be some way of proving the bad guy was bad.
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#17 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:18 PM

To anybody oriented to video editing as Mac is, that chop edit in its raw form was the equivalent of an earthquake, massively obvious. And of course there would have been a shift seen on the guy, nobody holds perfectly still. It's one of those things they figured they could get away with given their laymen audience, not so vid pros. Not even close.

 

You'd never get away with an audio edit-only either. The lip flap wouldn't match. Pros can spot that a mile away.



#18 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:59 PM

I was hoping the audio of the game was going to be the tattle tale ... that is probably where I would have picked up the edit. But then I am more of an audiophile than a videophile.
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#19 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 07:56 PM

I love everything Sloan says. She is quite possibly my favorite character.

I was prepared not to like her, but only because I was a loyal G4 watcher before it was G4, back when it was a true tech network. Olivia was seemingly brought in as attractive "talent" because when men saw her they stopped changing the channel no matter what might have been coming out of her mouth, but to regular viewers she seemed to be more of an interloper.

 

I think it might have been her first actual non-local TV job. And they gave her ditsy things to say, which was all part of the astoundingly douche-chilling collapse of Tech TV which was like watching a three-train train wreck in super-slow motion. So I was preconditioned to not like her. Not her fault, and she has definitely won me over since then and since that inane sitcom she was in for about 6 eps a couple years ago, and proved here that she is a lot more than just unbelievably gorgeous, which she is. Part Vietnamese, IIRC. Whatever, it works.

 

And I agree, Sloan gets the best lines and is probably my favorite character, or at least the one I would like the most if I knew all of them in real life. Many of the other characters are just not all that likable.


Edited by TomCat, 28 August 2013 - 07:57 PM.

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#20 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:03 PM

Sometimes I turn on CC just to try to keep up.

 

BTW, don't know about anyone else but I hate how they changed the opening theme music.

 

I was not aware there was a change, but OK. If one of the knocks against your show is that it is leftist and elitist and pretentious and that the characters are all full of themselves (which is hard to argue against), it seems like the absolute wrong move to have a super-pretentious theme introducing it. So yeah, thumbs down on that, and thank the lord for FFWD.


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#21 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:43 PM

To anybody oriented to video editing as Mac is, that chop edit in its raw form was the equivalent of an earthquake, massively obvious. And of course there would have been a shift seen on the guy, nobody holds perfectly still. It's one of those things they figured they could get away with given their laymen audience, not so vid pros. Not even close.

 

You'd never get away with an audio edit-only either. The lip flap wouldn't match. Pros can spot that a mile away.

 

As someone who once did non-linear editing for a living, installs and maintains NLEs, and is still around it daily, I'm afraid I have to disagree.

 

First, you can edit all the jump cuts you want into the footage, because they can be separated by B-roll (or a cut to a shot of the interviewer, although not in this case because the interview was not done by talent but by a producer, and that in itself is high-handed plot manipulation because virtually any interview of any weight is done by talent, so they cooked the books on the procedural part here just to create the opportunity to put the finger on Jerry--in real TV that does not happen).

 

And SPOILER ALERT, read this later if you have not seen "Red Team III".

 

Second, the interview was not an edited interview, it was a series of individual sound bites, meant to be dropped into the show one by one as the anchor referred to them, so there really is no editing for air per se, only editing for the production convenience of how these sound bites are rolled in to the broadcast. What Jerry did is edit the original footage itself out of context, specifically to hide the context, not from the viewers, but from the team. That is very different than editing for air, and he was able to do this without a jump-cut on air because the clip was an individual sound bite and could start or stop wherever.

 

Jerry also blurred the TV in the shot in editing, and while that was supposed to be because these things are blurred normally to protect airing rights, Jerry did that to fool the team and hopefully hide his underhandedness from them. What doesn't pass the smell test is that he was clever enough to perform the out of context edit on the clip sent to air by editing it out first in the original raw footage, yet was not clever enough to put the blur on the original raw footage, which made that a clue just waiting to be discovered. Blatant plot manipulation. It would actually have been clearer to the viewer (of The Newsroom, not of the fictional news broadcast) if "McMac" had been able to find the original footage with the original quote in its clear original context, and not missing the "If we used sarin...", precursor. That might have eliminated a lot of WTFs in HBO homes.

 

Maybe it is my closeness to this industry, but I could see this coming all the way down Broadway, especially because we all knew Genoa was going to blow up in their faces ahead of time just from the HBO promotion. The whole thing about the General loving B-Ball and him having the TV on and Jerry wanting the medals in the background so he had to have the live TV feed there seemed like a clumsy setup from the beginning. I just knew this was going to be the key to catching Jerry, but I had to wait through 3 more eps and an inane discussion about shot clocks before the other shoe finally dropped, and "McMac" finally allowed this elephant in the room to dawn on her.

 

They had 4 pieces of "evidence", 3 independent confirmations, another from Will, and 3 high-level long Red Team meetings agonizing over this yet the only one who ever saw the footage of Stomtonavitch was Jerry? A producer from out of town? Nobody from the core team went and looked at it? Cut me a break. That alone fits the definition of "institutional failure".


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#22 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:58 PM

If he would have blurred the footage and changed the voice before showing it to the team it would not have been "raw footage". The team would have wanted to see the pre-blurred version (which they did see). They saw more than the final edited for air drop in clips.

All the questions that they should have asked before airing the story came up in this week's episode. It was a big "uh oh" moment for everyone involved. Everyone in the institution who each made a little mistake that added up to airing the story.
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#23 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:56 PM

I assumed that she looked and didn't see anything wrong ... until she realized that there was a video hint that the footage was edited.

I'm curious as to why it was not an audio only edit. It was not like one could read his lips. But of course, there had to be some way of proving the bad guy was bad.

 

 

What I thought was that MacKenzie didn't check the video early on because she couldn't even consider the idea that Dantana would do such a thing.


Edited by phrelin, 28 August 2013 - 10:57 PM.

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#24 ONLINE   armophob

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 12:15 AM

Don't need to be a sports fan to enjoy Sports Night, though I can't say from experience myself as I am a fan.

 

Not being a sports fan, I assumed there would be too many unknown inside joke references relating to teams and players that I would not get.

Plus the whole scenario of a mock sports show that I never have watched in a real form.

 

It would have been like watching "The Larry Sanders Show" as a viewer who has never watched a late night talk show.



#25 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 01:00 AM

Yeah, I used to love to sit back and watch the whole glorious open with the original awesome theme music, but now it's so toned-down and bland I FF right past it. It just retains a hint of the original Thomas Newman theme. Almost apologetically. A real shame.

 

If you get a chance, check out Olivia on Letterman (YT), about her crashing on the inside the house swing and her fashion show experience. It's a complete riot, she's amazing!






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