I have neither a cable or satellite connection for my TV, so to watch certain finely-crafted series, I must rely on DVDs from Netflix (which usually become available 6-12 months after a given season has ended). Recently I discovered a series which had its debut earlier this year, and it is a beaut. The Newsroom has many of my favorite traits in a series ~ an ensemble cast, a mix of interweaving story lines, crisp production values, and an intelligent and resonant script.
The premise is this ~ a major cable news channel rededicates itself to the classic standards of broadcast journalism, in the tradition of Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, et al. ~ to research and report the news with accuracy, relevance, and attention to detail. Each episode is built around a major news event of the recent past in the real world, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how a news story comes into being. Superimposed are the connections and conflicts among the personalities of the news staff. The superb cast is headed by Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer.
Critical response ~ "at its best, The Newsroom has wit, sophistication and manic energy. At its worst, the show chokes on its own sanctimony." I don't share the "sanctimony" view. To me, the penetrating interviews on the show are how the fourth estate should carry out its role. The producer and chief writer is Aaron Sorkin, a brilliant craftsman not noted for being shy with an opinion, so long as he has facts with which to back it up.
Other series which appear on my list of favorites include ~
- The West Wing (another Sorkin creation)
- The L Word
- Burn Notice
- Band of Brothers
- The Wire
- In Treatment
- Game of Thrones
- Battlestar Galactica
There is no single thread of traditional genres ~ rather, I am taken by shows which make me think, and which offer a window onto other realms of experience, other times, or other life dilemmas. So say we all.