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The Newsroom


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#76 OFFLINE   toobs

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 03:07 PM

It seems like that they show just started and now its going to end.  



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#77 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 06:32 PM

Exactly. It's just starting to establish itself and the way it uses real news as the core plot driver, and now they're wrapping it up before it really had a chance to take off. Probably because it has a huge cast and it's too expensive. A lot of shows get shut down for that.



#78 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:20 PM

I think you just described Game of Thrones. Of course, that show is a cultural phenomenon. It's biggest threat is George R.R. Martin.



#79 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:52 PM

...It's just starting to establish itself and the way it uses real news as the core plot driver, and now they're wrapping it up before it really had a chance to take off. Probably because it has a huge cast and it's too expensive. A lot of shows get shut down for that.

 

I can't imagine its expensive. It's shot indoors on a single set, basically (a few easy remote locations), and it's HBO, who is notoriously cheap. No one in the cast other than Jeff Daniels is really a named star, most are B and C level or well below. And really, no one's looking for Jeff Daniels, other than now because he won an Emmy quite unexpectedly, for this show.

 

Boardwalk Empire? Now that is expensive; the pilot alone cost 13 million; you could fund a number of seasons of The Newsroom for that. Also on cheap old HBO, with a much larger cast and tons of different sets.

 

Aaron Sorkin can basically write his own ticket; he is probably the most sought-after writer working, and for good reason. Vince Gilligan would be shoved into the drink from people trying to get past him to Aaron Sorkin. And mercurial artistic types like Sorkin are easily bored. He bailed on The West Wing, ferchrissake, one of the best writing opportunities imaginable. He is probably more interested, at least after 3 seasons of The Newsroom, for new frontiers the quality and scope of The Social Network, which was amazing, and is probably pretty deep into the Steve Jobs biopic at the moment. Bottom line, I still think it is Sorkin driving the quick exit here.

 

My advice to Sorkin? Lay out a couple of seasons; blow your wad elsewhere, and then see if HBO wants to pick it up again.


Edited by TomCat, 15 January 2014 - 07:53 PM.

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#80 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:46 PM

Anything Sorkin touches is expensive since he takes the lion's share of the cash.

 

Basically Sorkin is great at complex poltical and media reality dynamics, he knows how to sell a fictional world as compelling reality--but not so great at character depth or  romantic situations. The characters in The Newsroom all seem like marionettes being spastically manipulated by a guy with familial tremors. They're not that compelling and have little arc, we're already seeing a lot of repeat neurotic syndromes between the characters. Boring. Mack and Will Jumped the Shark in season one. At this point the only one a I care a whit about is Sloane. She needs a spinoff all her own. I'd watch her read the Dow Jones ticker.

 

Sorkin is good, but he's overrated. The Social Network and Charlie Wilson's War had all their dramatic and relationship problems solved in the books: Ben Mezrich's 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires and George Crile III's 2003 book Charlie Wilson's War. Not to mention historical reality which did a lot of the creative development itself.

 

The Newsroom is easily the preachiest, most political soap box-like of all his work. The only reason he got away with it was that HBO agreed to hands-off on content. And the West Wing was no Lefty diatribe slouch, either.

 

The Newsroom works better conceptually than it does in reality. But at least it's smart and does give insight into the fragile morality of modern infotainment, formerly "news".


Edited by Maruuk, 17 January 2014 - 01:11 AM.


#81 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 08:11 PM

All good points.

 

I only have a hunch about the romantic entanglements on the show, and that hunch is that Sorkin probably hates writing them, so he sort of phones that in. He may be a great writer, but I think he has an ego to match, and figures he can whip off that stuff without even breathing hard and still have it better than what most other writers would labor over, but then that of course dilutes it into stuff not that far above, or maybe not above at all, romantic stuff written by writers who love to write that kind of stuff, even if they are not quite in Sorkin's league.

 

Robert and Michelle King over at The Good Wife come to mind, because the romantic aspects of that show are up to the level of the palace intrigue, political machinations, and core story of Alicia Florek dealing with her world, all of which are top-shelf. They seem to take great care in all parts of the script, and are very skilled in that endeavor. They can write an entire script, and in fact 22 entire scripts per season, and not have one line or one scene be uninteresting, or have it be so "Sorkin-like" that it causes some members of the audience to howl or take to Twitter to register their complaints.

 

By comparison, Sorkin, who has plenty of detractors, is a shooting star who when writing about what he cares about has no peers whatsoever, but when adding in the stuff he doesn't really care for he phones it in between yawns, and we as viewers just have to tolerate it, power through it until the next mind-bendingly brilliant nugget about what Sorkin really wants to write about appears in the next scene, which is usually worth the trip.

 

IOW, when they pitched this show, the suits at HBO while officially hands-off, giving carte blanche, and taking a no-tinkering position, very likely convinced Sorkin and Co. that HBO would probably balk at a show that was just about the procedural aspect of a news organization that had a political tone, and urged him to shoehorn stuff into the show that would make it also a soap opera that would broaden its appeal to the great unwashed. And I think he capitulated to get green-lighted. Which also may be why he is ready to move on after 36 episodes.

 

Bottom line, as a compromise, in his writer workflow Sorkin blasts quickly, maybe even unconsciously, through a few romantic scenes as capitulation to what the suits want, just so he can also really concentrate on blowing us away with the stuff he really cares about. He may be even thinking about the scenes and lines he cares about at the very same time he is churning out the romantic scenes on autopilot.

 

The reason I think this is not all that far-fetched is because that is exactly how most brilliant geniuses think and behave. Mercurial, of course. Unpredictable? Not so much.

 

Again, just a hunch.


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#82 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 12:29 AM

I'm not even sure he phones it in - there are a number of other writers with credits in various episodes including women - which makes me think he gives them a half hour to put together a romantic scene for him to shoehorn in. He wouldn't want to waste a half hour, after all. :grin:


Edited by phrelin, 17 January 2014 - 12:30 AM.

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#83 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 01:16 AM

And don't forget he originally forged his blitzkrieg dialog style on a wide variety of powerful uppers, whether or not he's clean now. His dialog is often meth-dense because he was meth-dense when he wrote it!


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#84 ONLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 09:31 PM

Too many words! Fine in some scenes, but not almost every damned one. 


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#85 OFFLINE   fireponcoal

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 09:44 PM

And don't forget he originally forged his blitzkrieg dialog style on a wide variety of powerful uppers, whether or not he's clean now. His dialog is often meth-dense because he was meth-dense when he wrote it!


Meth-dense! Love it..

#86 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 12:02 PM

Too bad it is a fantasy. Mushrooms, cocaine, pot, yes. There is nothing pointing to him using meth.

 

As a former user of all of that (a little of the first two; a lot of the third 25+ years ago) I can attest to how it does not  make you a better writer, artist, musician, engineer, or more socially adept. Sorkin is basically Sorkin the great writer in spite of  his drug use, which some might mistakenly view as a postitive commercial for drug use. Mistakenly.

 

That said, drugs have different affects on different people. Sorkin claims it leveled him out and made him "straighter"; the common saying "let's get straight" among drug users actually has non-ironic origins, and that is true for many. For the rest of us, it just makes us unbelievably stupid.


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#87 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 04:15 PM

Coke is frequently cut with meth and other "uppers", and has its own frantic meth-like effect even solo.

 

I know a guy who smoked and still smokes massive amounts of strong pot to get "normal". And it seems to work. This is an amount that would level you or me. Some folks are just wired really weird and have bizarre needs to cope with normal life. Then there are the just plain addicts who are trying to run away from normal life and are wired to be addicted to something. I know guys born to basic addiction, they were hooked on booze by high school. Genetic makeup. Really tragic stuff. Sometimes rehab works for them, but only sometimes.

 

Sorkin is a really talented guy, no doubt. But important to note that like many famous writers, he has big blind spots that his other writing covers up. Just as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg can NOT write/direct a love scene or a romantic relationship credible for an audience over the age of 6, neither can Sorkin. They should all just hire Diablo Cody to write their relationship scenes. Maybe they'd be full of snark, attititude and mumblecore, but at least they'd be remotely convincing and at least slightly erotic. Elements these creaky old White men have never gotten anywheres near in their entire careers.



#88 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 07:20 PM

Again, excellent points.

 

I once read that folks who are "thrill-seekers", you know, the kind of guy who has to base jump off of anything higher than a grain elevator or wants to skateboard naked down Mulholland Drive at midnight, do this because it causes a certain chemical process to occur in their brains. And the really fascinating thing is that those who are the opposite of "thrill-seekers", who wouldn't even consider using a stairway that had no handrail, have the exact same process happen in their brains, except that all it takes for them to get the same chemical effect is to read a good book or listen to a smooth jazz recording on Pandora.

 

There but for the grace of God...


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#89 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 03:46 AM

My brother was one of those thrill-seeker guys, started racing cars and jumping out of airplanes as a teenager. Like you say, that's the only way he could feel the same dopamine or whatever rush I do when a gorgeous girl merely walks by. I never needed to risk life and limb to feel fully alive. But he did. Wiring differences. As we examine lifting drug sanctions this whole human disparity thing should be a major factor. Pot just makes me drowsy, but it can literally save lives for others. Humans don't react uniformly to drugs and laws need to allow for that.



#90 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 06:11 AM

Perhaps Sorkin should put some of these thrills in the show (beyond the laced brownies).
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#91 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:50 PM

...Wiring differences. As we examine lifting drug sanctions this whole human disparity thing should be a major factor. Pot just makes me drowsy, but it can literally save lives for others. Humans don't react uniformly to drugs and laws need to allow for that.

 

That is a truly brilliant idea.

 

It also makes sense, especially if you have ever read one of those meds package inserts regarding "possible side effects". OTC drugs all work somewhat differently depending on your individual chemistry, and illegal drugs therefore most likely do too.

 

Another example: I suffered from seasonal depression from as early as I can remember, but when it got worse in 1995 I decided to beat it. SSRIs were new, and light therapy was in its infancy. SAD itself was barely more than a rumor, not even yet in the DSM-IV. SSRIs didn't work very well, and they don't work very well for a lot of folks. I bought a full-spectrum 10K-unit light box from a company in Alaska (lots of SAD sufferers the further north you go) which still comes on at 5:18 AM every morning in my bedroom, which helped greatly. The best $360 I ever spent, and I have had to replace the bulbs and ballast every few years.

 

Then, my research stumbled upon something called SAM-E, which is a naturally-occuring substance now available in every supermarket. I take that 5-6 times a week, and it makes me completely normal; I have not had a bout of depression in the last 17 years or so.

 

But a relative of mine, who is mildly depressed, takes it and it just makes him feel "funny", while I feel nothing but normalcy.
 


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#92 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 04:31 PM

Same-E is one of the new wonder drugs that can change lives. It does about 30 amazing beneficial things at the same time--top two being arthritis aid and mood enhancer. A friend's mom couldn't get out of her chair with arthritis and I turned her on to Sam-E, she was up and walking and feeling great within the week. My friend called it a miracle. Mood-wise, Sam-E doesn't make you happy, but it does prevent you from sinking into obsessive and depressive low spots during the day. And gives you extra energy as well. With Sam-E, you feel more optimistic and positive. It's a naturally-occurring chemical that simply depletes after age 35, you're just restoring what's supposed to be there. Pretty much everybody I know is using it, and loving it. Take it in the morning, though, it can keep you up at night it you take it too late. Yet it has no "speedy" effect, no caffeine or "upper" component, just works gently and naturally.

 

It's products like Sam-E and COQ10 that explain why our parents' generation was acting old and decrepit in their 60's and we're not. These naturally-occurring things deplete badly after 50 and leave the human body a train wreck. Replace them and you feel a whole heck of a lot better, and ARE better. I tried this new Ecklonia Cava stuff, basically brown Korean seaweed extract, and went from 166 bad cholesterol down to 64 in one month. My cardiologist was literally shocked. Man, as Don Fagen said, "What a beautiful world this will be/What a glorious time to be free". The future is now, baby.


Edited by Maruuk, 22 January 2014 - 04:34 PM.


#93 ONLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:00 PM

:backtotop  I've watched both seasons this week and thoroughly enjoyed it.


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#94 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:33 AM

I'm looking forward to its return, for sure. If just for another hit of his wild-eyed idealism at a time of maximum cynicism.

 

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#95 OFFLINE   gpg

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 11:55 PM

I enjoyed the finale, even though I didn't think it was a great episode. I am sorry to see the series end.
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#96 ONLINE   RAD

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 08:32 AM

I was only keep HBO around for this series, not that it's gone bye bye HBO.


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#97 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 01:25 PM

We enjoyed the finale. I thought some elements were very well designed to bring the show to a close, better than many series finales I've seen in the past few years.


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#98 OFFLINE   mrro82

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 06:32 PM

I wish HBO would have kept it. It was engaging and fun to watch.

#99 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 07:03 PM

If I remember correctly the problem wasn't HBO, it was Aaron Sorkin who was stretched too thin even when Season 3 was renewed.


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#100 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 08:07 PM

After Boardwalk Empire ended, I was going to drop it until GoT and Silicon Valley (then Westworld), but now that they are re-releasing The Wire, I'll probably keep it. 






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