The Newsroom

August 28, 2012

I’ve been over a lot of this several times before, but it’s worth keeping in mind when discussing The Newsroom.  HBO has arguably been the prime mover in solidifying the showrunner’s place as the auteur of a television series.  As with film, this is a tricky thing to determine just because of the many different ways people run a television show and the impact the writers as well as the cast and even the directors have on any given episode as well as a season and series as a whole.  Still, David Chase was instrumental in creating this new paradigm with The Sopranos, and he was followed by David Simon and Alan Ball and even David Milch, perhaps the most distinct voice on the network (when he has a show there, anyway) even though he’s firmly rooted in the broadcast traditions from his time on Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, among others.  All of which is curious in a way because HBO dramas have a very distinct feel to them.  They are often guided by moral grey-areas and characters of questionable values as well as a penchant for moving into dark territories.  Deadwood might be the most positive show ever aired, but it doesn’t exactly feel that way in any given scene as they tend to be mired in grit, filth, and violence.  The Sopranos started in 1999, and though its impact wouldn’t be fully understood for a few years, that was also the same time that Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing premiered on NBC and became a bona fide broadcast television hit.  Read the rest of this entry »