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).