Monday, April 02, 2012

Aaron Sorkin Returns To TV

Has it already been almost five years since Aaron Sorkin's work last graced our TV screens with NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip? I guess that's how long it took for the famed writer/producer to lick his wounds from the critical drubbing he took for his "behind-the-scenes of a comedy show" show, which went from being hailed as one of the best shows of the year upon its debut in fall of '06 to being singled out as the worst inside the span of a single season.

In hindsight, and having rewatched the complete series just recently, it definitely feels like the critics had their knives out for Studio 60 in a big way. While it could never have measured up to Sorkin's previous gig, The West Wing, one of the greatest TV shows of all time, that's the impossible standard it was being held up against -- dooming it to failure under the weight of those expectations in the process.

Nonetheless, warts-and-all, Studio 60 still offered a regular vehicle for the writer to work his dialogic mojo -- never a bad thing. In the time since Studio 60 was scrapped, Sorkin has kept plenty busy with high profile movie gigs like The Social Network and Moneyball, but his regular presence in primetime has been sorely missed, so I actually let out a kind of high-pitched squeal as I watched the promo for The Newsroom, Sorkin's new HBO skein premiering this summer.

Starring Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, a news anchor with a point-of-view (which just so happens to reflect that of his creator), the timeliness of this trailer couldn't be more apropos given today's blurred distinction between news and opinion, and especially given last week's festivities surrounding the newly-(re)-unemployed Keith Olbermann (who Sorkin supposedly shadowed early last year, along with other cable news anchor-pundits, while he was prepping this series).

There's a crackle and wit to the dialogue here that marks it as uniquely Sorkin's. Also of note to longtime readers here, Sam Waterston, late of the lamented Law & Order mothership co-stars as what seems like Jack McCoy in a bow-tie. Just based on the snippets we see here, this looks like classic Sorkin in the Sports Night/West Wing mold, and I couldn't be happier for that. I don't currently have HBO, but I may just need to get a subscription by the time this starts. Check out the vid below.


Richard said...

Dude, THIS is what will make you get HBO? I plan to watch, to be sure, but Game of Thrones is a way better reason for you to become an HBO subscriber post haste.

Zaki said...

I keep hearing that! I've got the blu-ray set of season 1 sitting on my "to watch" pile that I'm desperately hoping to get to sooner rather than later!

Sarah Farrukh said...

I never got to follow the West Wing properly, but I loved Studio 60 to bits and was very disappointed when it got cancelled. The Newsroom looks AWESOME. Thanks for alerting us!

Allan Cook said...

FINALLY! A role that Jeff Daniels can really show us what he's made of! A criminally underrated actor is about to get his due.

Zaki said...

Sarah - You REALLY need to watch THE WEST WING. I say, with absolutely no hyperbole, one of the five greatest TV series of all time. The only show I've watched the whole way through TWICE!

Allan - Agreed about Daniels. Always an underrated, steadily dependable player. I do find a certain degree of irony/symmetry in the fact that they announced DUMB & DUMBER 2 the day after this trailer dropped. Talk about range!