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Watch The Newsroom – News Night 2.0 Online S01E02

News Night 2.0

The Newsroom - News Night 2.0 Online S01E02Calling the second episode of The Newsroom a failure would be a little strong, but the truth flirts with that word. “News Night 2.0” focuses on the Arizona Immigration Bill, as well as the dissolution of Will and Mac’s relationship. The few good parts of the episode were marred by women of the show that only a week ago were something to smile about. It’s clear The Newsroom needs to decide what kind of show it’s going to be. Will viewers wait around while they figure it out?

At the daily meeting, Mac addresses their new e-mail system (which is confusing now) and introduces “News Night 2.0,” which will only cover stories if they are 1) information needed in the voting booth, 2) the best possible argument and 3) in historical context. She later adds a fourth rule that states that there are not two sides to every story: there could be one, two or even dozens. Mac shoots down a potential guest who would put a human face on the current immigration issue raised by Arizona’s new bill, which allows law enforcement officials to ask for paperwork of anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant.

Mac then runs a strange meeting outlining her ideas of News Night 2.0. At various times during this session, she appears as though she is not experienced in working in television, able to run a meeting or fluent in English. (She’s from Britain so the last part is especially embarrassing.) At this time, we also find out this week’s episode will deal with the famous Arizona immigration law that allows police to ask for papers of those they suspect to be in the country illegally.

Putting Maggie in charge of something for the first time, unsupervised was the big mistake of the night. That is when the first personal affair hits News Night’s sinking ship. Ultimately dropping the ball giving a pre-interview with a staffer from Governor Jan Brewer’s office. And with only ninety minutes before the network went on air. Thankfully, good ol’ Jim is there to take the fall for her as the team attempts to recuperate and find a motley crew of interviewees: a few racist self-published authors, a former Miss America contestant, and some redneck sitting in his easy chair with a shotgun. That’s a shining guest list if you ever saw one.

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Watch The Newsroom – We Just Decided To Online S01E01

We Just Decided To

The Newsroom - We Just Decided To Online S01E01The Newsroom is, like all Sorkin products, a behind the scenes glance at the machinations of a popular industry. In the case of The West Wing it was a drama about the people who supported the President of the United States. With The Newsroom, Sorkin begins to take us behind the cameras and into the control rooms of a fictional news network called ACN and the nightly programme NewsNight, hosted by the central figure Will McAvoy, played by the excellent Jeff Daniels.

As far as TV shows go, The Newsroom is remarkable. Its cast is incredible, its production values are sky-high, and its writing is intelligent in ways seldom seen on Two and a Half Men. Unfortunately, The Newsroom is not TV; it’s HBO.

The series starts with a brilliant opening. Caught in the crossfire between two other, more opinionated anchors on a panel before a live college audience, Will sits in between, trying to tune out the acrimonious debate until the moderator insists he give an answer to a co-ed’s question: “What makes America the greatest nation in the world?”

As I noted in that review, “We Just Decided To” was easily the best of the batch of episodes I’ve seen. (It was also the only one I had seen when I interviewed Aaron Sorkin, Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer.) Many of the flaws that take over the series in later episodes are here at the start, but they’re not that bothersome yet, and the newscast sequence itself represents so many of the things Sorkin does well in showing talented people working together in high-pressure jobs.

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