Watch first episode of THE NEWSROOM for free + my thoughts on the pilot

HBO has announced that, starting today, all audiences, including non-subscribers, can watch the first episode of THE NEWSROOM, the new Aaron Sorkin drama series, free of charge on multiple platforms.

The pilot of THE NEWSROOM is now on, YouTube, DailyMotion, and multiple distributors’ Free On Demand platforms. The sampling opportunity will be promoted on HBO’s Facebook and Twitter profiles and will run from today through July 23. The episode will also be available as a free podcast on iTunes during the sampling period.

Created by Aaron Sorkin (Oscar® winner for writing “The Social Network,” executive producer and writer of the multiple Emmy® winner “The West Wing”), the new HBO drama series follows a news team on its quixotic mission to reclaim the legacy of Murrow and Cronkite in the face of a fickle audience, corporate mandates and tangled personal relationships. The series is executive produced by Sorkin, Scott Rudin (the Oscar® winner “No Country for Old Men”) and Alan Poul (HBO’s multiple Emmy® winner “Six Feet Under”). Jeff Daniels (Golden Globe nominee for “The Squid and the Whale,” “Something Wild” and “The Purple Rose of Cairo”) stars as Will McAvoy and Emily Mortimer (“Hugo,” “Shutter Island”) stars as MacKenzie McHale.

Folks seem to be very divided on the first ep. I liked it.

Many are complaining about things that are trademarks of Sorkin’s writing. Complaining about idealism in a Sorkin show is like railing on the layered dialogue of Robert Altman or the sappiness of Richard Curtis…it is part of who they are and what they do. It certainly is not appealing to all, but you have to accept that it will be present with almost whatever they do. If it bothered you in his previous work, it will bother you here.

A lot of what I watch and read is loaded with cynicism and deeply flawed characters, some of whom do good almost by accident. Some of that is done in an attempt to accurately portray the world around us, while others do it to embrace the genre they are working in. Regardless of the reason, it is something I am familiar with, something I am used to and experience almost on a daily basis.

Maybe that is why I enjoy the idealism  of The Newsroom. Yes, the characters are all brimming with a desire to do the best job possible and stay true to their convictions. Cheesy? Sure. Unrealistic? Yeah. But enjoyable. There is more than enough cynicism out there and our news/point of view shows are overflowing with it. Sorkin offers up an almost Capraesque world in which our heroes are trying to a take stand against the forces of mediocrity.