The Goggle Box : Hank Clamps Down And “The Newsroom” Returns

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It was a little “difficult second album” for “Breaking Bad” this week. The running train of thought is that a bad episode of BB is still better than anything else on TV. Whilst this may be so, “Buried” will likely not go on to have anything resembling the impact of the last entry. Am I allowed be critical of this show?

After all, even when it has lulled it has still exuded class of a caliber not seen in other productions.

Still what we got this week could have easily strayed towards filler. The fallout from last week’s showdown is that Hank has stepped up his investigation whilst Walt began his steps to flee. It wasn’t bad through and through, but it did dedicate a whole episode to the kind of progression other shows would give five minutes. It is all necessary, but losing an entire week to it can break up the flow somewhat when it appears so far that there is a lot to get done on eight episodes.

All the same, the usual ingredients were there. Bob Odenkirk, Anna Gunn and Dean Norris once again all turned in massive performances. The end of the episode suggests that Hank may be hotter still on Walt’s tail than ever before and there is the curious situation of Lydia and what her fate may be. Also, welcome back Todd who for all the world seemed to have disappeared. Here’s hoping the final six start off a more free wheeling and breakneck race to the finish next week.

Breaking Bad is available Mondays on Netflix

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Speaking of difficult second albums, Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” returned on Friday. The first season that aired last summer was a little bit of fresh air amidst heavy hitters like BB and “The Walking Dead” amongst others and this follow on season has been greeted with much anticipation.

The charm is still there, no question. “The Newsroom” does for broadcast media what Scrubs did for hospitals, written in such a manner that you simply want to work here, no matter how obviously fictitious it is. Two seasons in the one big craw in the side of the show is the dialogue. More often than not, Sorkin’s witty style has been one of my main areas of praise for the show, but in this season it has started to grate. Quite simply, human beings don’t have the capacity to make such witty retorts so quickly and if the show wants to continue tackling themes such as the series arc Operation Genoa (based on the seventies Operation Tailwind during Vietnam), then the dialogue will have to be reeled in.

Another issue on show in the premiere involved Jim being sent on the Romney campaign trail. Apart from the entirely unbelievable premise that a senior producer would be allowed to go on a sterile campaign trail just so as that he could get away from Maggie, the anti-Republican sentiment on display via the campaign is a little OTT. I would never profess to have any interest or knowledge in American politics (or much of Irish politics for that matter) but I am familiar with the consensus that Republicans are evil and Democracy is the way. “The Newsroom” has tried a different approach so far in having their anti-Republican lead actually be a member of the party who has grown disillusioned. But with Jim’s story we are seeing things a little too on the nose, the snotty team member on the bus taking a dislike to Jim over the tea party remarks on ACN was just a little too much “See this guy? He’s working with the enemy!”

Also it would appear that Genoa doesn’t end as rosey as most would hope either, the presence of the excellent Marcia Gay Harden bookended the episode, playing the head of a legal team seemingly in to defend ACN as they were forced to retract their story. Solid but not great for a premiere, here’s hoping there’s more to this season.

The Newsroom is airing Fridays on Sky Atlantic

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