Aaron Sorkin may well be a genius, but his relationship with television has been a dysfunctional one. His first show Sports Night was ahead of its time but should never have had a laugh track. West Wing helped define the new age of smart serious US drama but he was sacked from his own show, having driven them to despair by writing every single script of the first four seasons himself (deadlines, schmeadlines).
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was both inspired and flawed, and suffered from being the OTHER series about a Saturday Night Live-esque show, in the shadow of 30 Rock. But now, after the success of The Social Network and Moneyball, telly has welcomed him back.
Pretty thrilling stuff, at least in trailer form. Interesting that Sorkin’s returned to a device he used in West Wing – of making a Republican the voice of reason.
The idea of a disillusioned news anchor has, of course, already been done to perfection in Network, of course (and the nature of the industry superbly exposed in Broadcast News). So it’ll be interesting to see whether Jeff Daniels can take his righteous anger down new paths, and how long that can sustain a series.
The Newsroom begins on HBO in the US on June 24. No news on the UK yet.