For those of you who don't know Aaron Sorkin is a big deal because he's not only the creator of critically-adored television shows (The West Wing, Sports Night) but he also writes screenplays for A-list movies you may have heard of (The Social Network, Moneyball) and he's won an Oscar for it.
So it matters that Sorkin is bringing his talent for making great television to HBO, who has a reputation for a grade of TV so exceptional it's not TV.
With The Newsroom Sorkin is attempting another dramatic, behind-the-scenes look at the business of television making. As good as he is, Sork is 0-2 when it comes to this subject--Sports Night was lauded by critics but cancelled and the more recent Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was also nixed though to far less outcry because it was universally agreed to be terrible. Sorry, Matthew Perry.
The beginning of the trailer looks great. It gave me goosebumps to be honest. I was disappointed that the latter half had so much gratuitous Blackberry beating but perhaps in context that will work too. Jeff Daniels is great casting for Sorkin's Olbermann/Scarborough hybrid leading man. Word is Sorkin spent time on set with Olbermann and Chris Matthews.
For those you who will be new to watching a Sorkin show like I will be (yeah it's pretty weird, I never got into WW and was a little young to appreciate Sports Night) Linda Holmes of NPR's Monkey See pop culture blog has a nice primer.
How can you tell this is from the mind of Aaron Sorkin?...
4. "Will McAvoy." "MacKenzie McHale." I cannot explain it clearly, but "Will McAvoy" is an incredibly Sorkin-y name. If you've watched much of his stuff, you know I'm right. (Not as Sorkin-y as if his name were Danny, admittedly.) And Emily Mortimer's character, the strong producer type, has the cute as a button name "MacKenzie McHale." Somewhat gender-neutral names for potentially intimidating women, especially those found at work, are a specialty — C.J., Jordan, and Harriet who went by "Harry" being three of the ones we've seen in the past.