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The Newsroom


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#41 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 07:46 PM

You don't have to be a "newsie" to enjoy "The Newsroom" - I'm sure you see that.  It's just like that for "Sports Night".  It *happens* to be set in a cable sports channel like The Newsroom is set at ACN.  In Sports Night's first episode, they hooked me with a scene between the two anchors (one of them being Peter Krause who I couldn't get enough of in "Six Feet Under" and Josh Charles is the other) where Charles makes an impassioned speech to newly-divorce Krause about how bad his now-ex-wife treated him (Krause) with him never realizing it.  I thought it was really well done when I fist saw it in 1998.  When I re-watched that episode in 2006 right after my now-ex-wife moved out, it hit me like a ton of bricks as my best friend had made almost the exact same speech to me. 

 

It's *that* personal drama that made the show That Damn Good.

 

Agreed. The newsroom in The Newsroom is just the McGuffin, the thing that doesn't mean anything but is there just to make the plot move and work. Same for Sports Night. It serves the same purpose as the statuette in The Maltese Falcon, which had no real purpose except to motivate the characters. "Workplace" drama or comedy needs what first? A workplace.

 

And I don't want to sound like a broken record but yeah, this is what Sorkin can do, hit you with a dramatic issue that can knock you completely over with just a few well-crafted lines. It's like being hit by Mike Tyson. He can expand your mind, and give you a whole new way of thinking. It's magic. He's the best thing to ever happen to TV.

 

My favorite Sports Night is the one where the character played by the always wonderful Joshua Malina (currently still knocking it out of the park in Scandal) goes deer hunting. Folks complain about the "speechifying" in Sorkin dramas, but Oh my living God was that a good one that Malina made reporting on his trip. Worth the price of admission for the entire series. SN also gave us Felicity Huffman; nothing wrong there.

 

If there were two series that were SD that I would still like to go back and watch again (not counting BuffyTVS and X-FIles which I have seen on a loop) they would be Sports Night and The West Wing (just the Sorkin years).


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#42 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 08:03 PM

Yes, I do, and I did. PQ was absolute crap, but I am on a 2.8 Megs download. This was on a Sammy smart TV. Dunno if there's an automatic down-rezzing based on internet connection for TVs, but I didn't see a way to try to bump it up.

Downloads typically down-rez to fit how large the pipe is at the moment. Roku, for instance, has 4 levels. You need $60-80 per month internet service to get decent download quality, and even if you do prime time is going to be bit-starved. And if the connection were perfect it would still be 1080p24 or 720p30, both inferior to broadcast and DBS in many ways.

 

Apparently "I want it right now" trumps "I want it with good quality". I disagree. I would prefer a service that will download overnight for 8 hours if it has to and still maintain original quality. Good luck finding one. I didn't buy a top-shelf HDTV to watch artifacts all day and night.

 

I can't imagine 2.8, even if it was reliably continuously that high, could be tolerable, which is why downloading is not for me, not yet. Broadcast is at 12-15 mbps, typically, and folks would be surprised at how visually dumbed-down even that is compared to HDTV as delivered to most stations. DTV is at 7-8 mbps, typically (live video delivery). At 2.8, something's got to give.


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#43 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:40 AM

I WISH it was just a question of money. You spoiled city boys don't realize out here in the sticks 2.4 is all I can get. No cable whatsoever, and 17,000' from the nearest RT. Lucky to get 2.4. ATT of course refuses to upgrade their service because it's not worth it.



#44 OFFLINE   EdJ

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 06:21 AM

I WISH it was just a question of money. You spoiled city boys don't realize out here in the sticks 2.4 is all I can get. No cable whatsoever, and 17,000' from the nearest RT. Lucky to get 2.4. ATT of course refuses to upgrade their service because it's not worth it.

 

Have you looked at the Internet offering from DISH?  I don't know if it is better than you have now, but it might be worth looking into.

 

We are out in the boonies and had to deal with dial-up until they finally ran the cable line out to our area a couple years ago.  I have a cable modem now, but it costs $55 a month for it....



#45 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 08:12 PM

I WISH it was just a question of money. You spoiled city boys don't realize out here in the sticks 2.4 is all I can get.

 

Well, didn't mean to hit a sore spot, but I also feel your pain. And we city boys realize it just fine, and never even implied that it was JUST a question of money. Once that is cleared up it appears you are helping to make my argument for me against streaming as a viable delivery method. Streaming in its current form has but one advantage, and that is convenience, and its only convenient if you can get it. Your iPad does not need to be hooked to a coaxial cable or a DBS dish or an antenna or a Blu-Ray player, but let's face facts; that is where acceptable quality lives. There, and countries like South Korea that are not as backward as the USA. Internet speeds are an order of magnitude faster there.


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#46 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 08:21 PM

Have you looked at the Internet offering from DISH?  I don't know if it is better than you have now, but it might be worth looking into.

 

We are out in the boonies and had to deal with dial-up until they finally ran the cable line out to our area a couple years ago.  I have a cable modem now, but it costs $55 a month for it....

I looked, and all packages on the first page note it's bundled with Dish TV service.... 

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#47 OFFLINE   tsmacro

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 04:40 PM

I really loved the first season of this show. This season while not awful by any means, still better than most shows, isn't living up to the standard Sorkin set in season one. Granted the bar was set pretty high, but I'm still a little disappointed when last season would just blow me away on a regular basis and this year, well it's still good just not as many "wow" moments for me I guess.




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#48 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 12:36 AM

I really loved the first season of this show. This season while not awful by any means, still better than most shows, isn't living up to the standard Sorkin set in season one. Granted the bar was set pretty high, but I'm still a little disappointed when last season would just blow me away on a regular basis and this year, well it's still good just not as many "wow" moments for me I guess.

It's odd. I agree that as a season I liked season 1 better. And yet there was one episode this season that I think was the best one of the series and last week was probably the funniest the show has ever been - some really great one-liners.

Edited by phrelin, 14 September 2013 - 12:37 AM.

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#49 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 01:24 PM

Season 1 was told chronologically. We followed the action along with the characters with little hint of what was coming next (other than knowing the show would last so many episodes and seeing next week's show description in the guide).

Season 2 was mostly flashback. We were greeted with changes at the beginning of the first show that were explained over the length of the season. Only when we got caught up did we get to go chronologically again.

I prefer the chronological story telling. The ratings are down (slightly) this year so perhaps others do not like this year's arc.
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#50 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 08:12 PM

Have you looked at the Internet offering from DISH?  I don't know if it is better than you have now, but it might be worth looking into.

 

We are out in the boonies and had to deal with dial-up until they finally ran the cable line out to our area a couple years ago.  I have a cable modem now, but it costs $55 a month for it....

Heck, I'd go SAT but for the brutal gating levels. I need to stream stuff and once you go down that road with the restrictive SAT data limits you're sunk quick.

 

Also I don't know how it is now, but back when I had Wild Blue (or whatever it was called) back in the day (the original SAT broadband) there was really nasty latency and super slow page loads. You had to wait 3-5 seconds for anything to happen. And then it happened gradually. Ridiculous. I was shocked when I went to DSL how things happened...NOW, not later! They just don't happen enough at 2.4.


Edited by Maruuk, 15 September 2013 - 12:52 AM.


#51 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:43 AM

Season 1 was told chronologically. We followed the action along with the characters with little hint of what was coming next (other than knowing the show would last so many episodes and seeing next week's show description in the guide).Season 2 was mostly flashback. We were greeted with changes at the beginning of the first show that were explained over the length of the season. Only when we got caught up did we get to go chronologically again.I prefer the chronological story telling. The ratings are down (slightly) this year so perhaps others do not like this year's arc.

That's the explanation that makes sense - I could not figure out why this season didn't feel as smooth. My wife hates the flashback flashforward story-telling style I think because sometimes she dozes off and there is no continuity to allow you to figure out what's going on.

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#52 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:00 PM

Correct. If you are paying rapt attention year two is as easy, well almost, to follow as year one. If not, it can lower your enjoyment quotient. Not everything is Pulp Fiction and deserves time-fractured presentation just to be trendy; it should be used only when it can add something other than glitz.

 

I love the show and most characters (boy, Jane Fonda sure did chew up the scenery, didn't she?) but I hate the insipid love triangles. And Jim skyping his girlfriend on a public stairwell without headphones? That was just stupid.


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#53 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:54 PM

I love the show and most characters (boy, Jane Fonda sure did chew up the scenery, didn't she?) but I hate the insipid love triangles. And Jim skyping his girlfriend on a public stairwell without headphones? That was just stupid.

That being the case, you're going to love the season finale. :sure:

 

In fact, it could have been a very good series finale. Which contrary to earlier tweets by Jeff Daniels, it may very well have been - see 'The Newsroom’ Season 3: Not So Fast, Says HBO On Renewal . Or this story which explains that Sorkin's time commitment for this show may be a bit much:

 

Spoiler


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#54 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:38 AM

That being the case, you're going to love the season finale. :sure:


Plenty of staircase Skyping and a flashback to season 1 episode 1! :)

Spoiler


For a real show guilty of that look no further than Stephen Colbert. But, to be fair, I don't believe there is a single Colbert Report viewer that doesn't know the difference between the portrayal and the person ... and they understand that it is a comedy act using reality as fodder.

Much in the same way that Sorkin has used reality as fodder in his dramas. Occasionally warped reality but that is the root of fiction. I hope he decides to continue the series. I like his work.
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#55 OFFLINE   tsmacro

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 03:39 PM

I will say job well done in the finale of season 2! As I was saying above i wasn't loving season 2 as much as 1 but last nights ep made up for it!




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#56 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 01:50 PM

Even I was swept away by the love-triangle resolutions. I am not normally a fan of those sorts of things, but this was well done.

 

Here is what irks me--much of the writing is as good as it gets, and many of the characters are as likable as they can be, but those same characters do and say some of the stupidest, most bone-headed things you might imagine. While I like the show, there is plenty for haters to grab on to.

 

I feel cheated that we only get 13 eps a year for this, while Honey Boo Boo and other insipid fare seems to be on constantly. America's Got Talent (a show where even the title itself reflects stupid bad grammar) will air something like 51 hours of content this season alone. At least it has my avatar as one of the judges.


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#57 OFFLINE   mrro82

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 03:31 PM

Even I was swept away by the love-triangle resolutions. I am not normally a fan of those sorts of things, but this was well done.

Here is what irks me--much of the writing is as good as it gets, and many of the characters are as likable as they can be, but those same characters do and say some of the stupidest, most bone-headed things you might imagine. While I like the show, there is plenty for haters to grab on to.

I feel cheated that we only get 13 eps a year for this, while Honey Boo Boo and other insipid fare seems to be on constantly. America's Got Talent (a show where even the title itself reflects stupid bad grammar) will air something like 51 hours of content this season alone. At least it has my avatar as one of the judges.

I completely agree with you. I'm guessing that cost comes into play with The Newsroom. AGT and that disgusting southern family don't cost nearly as much to put on the air unfortunately.
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#58 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 04:48 PM

The two trivial pursuits were mind-numbingly absurd and time-wasters (the unsigned book and the Wiki Cambridge credit). Nobody acts like that, talks like that, or would be obsessed about those things in the middle of critical work. Crazy writing. It's almost like Sorkin's a drug addict. Oh that's right, he even admits it.

 

The insistence on getting fired was patently ridiculous, nobody in the media demands to be fired from jobs paying millions. Another bizarre absurdity.

 

The endless Sabbith cut-offs. Not funny, completely fake-looking, and a real insult to her rapidly developing character and as an actress as well. Terrible writing.

 

Now Don/Sloane and Jim/Hallie (Meryl Streep's kid) are cute and fine. And even Jim's touching concern over Maggie works. That's a particularly good one in that he's (hopefully) acting as a friend. Not all valid relationships have to be about undying love or sex. Though what was the point about Jim acting like a lovesick fool over skanky Lisa upstairs? Does he have to be in love with 3 women at the same time?

 

And why don't they write associate producer/booker Tamara Hart (Wynn Everett) more into the show??

200px-Tamara_Hart.jpg

 

She's totally gorgeous but just used as a background prop. Like the guys in the newsroom wouldn't be all over her!

 

Impossible to make any sense out of the whole Will/Mac insanely intellectual wank job. "You think I'm the sort of person who would not fire you out of concern for my position as a newsman in the context of this company and blah blah blah blah......" Then "I used you to get back at him for rejecting me though I really loved you but didn't know but now I think you didn't fire me because of your own self-importance blah blah blah blah...." Who cares about either of these endlessly intellectualizing bobbleheads who speak perfect incomprehensible Sorkinese jibber jabber??

 

And they get together? And take all the sexual tension and love/hate out of the show? Remember the marriage on "Friends"?? Worst couple...ever.

 

Worst season ender......ever.

 

Sorkin hasn't just jumped the shark here, I'd throw in a couple of blue whales in the bargain. Move on, HBO. Move on. Unless you give us more Tamara and less Lisa next year!


Edited by Maruuk, 17 September 2013 - 06:30 PM.


#59 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 05:07 PM

Guess it depends on your sense of "romance."


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#60 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:02 PM

Big cast shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire and Newsroom are true budget-busters for networks, especially when you factor in the megabux the showrunners/producers (Sorkin/Weiner/Chase/etc) get. Networks can afford to make them because of the Honey Boo Boos and dancing and singing and chase and reality shows in general, which cost ten cents, relatively. Though pay channels like HBO and newcomer-to-series-streaming Netflix can subsidize them in other ways. "Girls" and "Real Sex" and "Enlightened" are dirt cheap. Netflix has a whole other biz model.

 

Bottom line: the profit margins on "Duck Dynasty" and "Sons of Anarchy" buy quality programming for the rest of us.






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