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Posts Tagged ‘ ACN ’

The Goggle Box : The End Is Nigh Mr. White

Episode 14 - "Ozymandias"

Episode 14 – “Ozymandias”

What is left to say? Fans of “Breaking Bad” can rest assured that they have just witnessed the greatest hour of television history this week, make no mistake about that. That there’s two hours to go is nearly torturous, such is the fear that even this gang of bandits could sully the memory of this TV event. It should be done deal by now guys, but seriously, SPOILERS BELOW. Continue reading

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The Goggle Box : “Breaking Bad” Hits All New Highs Whilst “The Newsroom” Goes Conspiracy

"Confessions"

“Confessions”

Wow. Just wow. After a somewhat small scale episode last week, maybe even one that was borderline run of the mill, “Breaking Bad” hit back in a big way this week. Once again it is proven that this series is best watched in bulk, being so incredibly well thought out from start to finish in a fashion that the writers reward sequential viewing. Continue reading

The Newsroom Season 1 Review

Warning: Spoilers for The Newsroom Season 1 below

Every once in a while a TV show comes along that, from the first second, feels different from all the rest. HBO series The Newsroom is one of these shows. From the writing mind of Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing, A Few Good Men), the show follows the hustle and bustle of a network news programme, hosted by anchor-man in need of reinventing Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels). Opening episode “We Just Decided To” introduces us to McAvoy as he sits sandwiched in a bickering session on a televised debate. His lack of interest coupled with him seeing his liberal and empowered ex in the crowd prompts him to answer an audience question with a scathing and all too factual rant about exactly how far America is from the top of the global pile and just how far the nation has slipped. This sets us up for the theme of the series, McAvoy is an anchor in need of rejuvenation and with the help of said ex, played brilliantly by Emily Mortimer, he and his crew embark on the task of bringing the real news to the American people.

With Sorkin at the helm one thing that was always a guarantee with this series is that the dialogue would be sharp and witty as they come. What he also manages to achieve however is he skirts any and every cliché whilst also steering far enough way so as not to entirely fall into their traps. Yes, McAvoy is the gruffy grump anchor who we can see as the series continues is slowly but surely going to unfold. Yes, there’s a Ross and Rachel scenario in the form of Jim and Maggie (both played, once again, with absolute aplomb by John Gallagher Jr. and Alison Pill). And yes, there is somewhat fantastical moments of hilarity and stupidity that are of course out of place in the realm of reality, but they make for fantastic television. But this is a show that feels different, how is that so with all these clichés floating about? See, what The Newsroom does so well is that it always stays aware that it is a TV show. It is set in a world where all the elements of pop culture exist. References fly about to the likes of baseball flick Rudy and that other HBO show Sex and the City and given that it is set in a TV studio, the show is allowed a certain meta quality. Any moment that seems too cliché can always be written off as a subtle nod/dig at other shows, whether it is or not.

Where The Newsroom really excels is how, like Scrubs before it, it does have moments where it makes the viewer want to work in this place based solely on the programme. Seeing the banter and humour that comes with the job coupled with how reactive and emotionally connected the crew will get to the right story, one can’t help but think this really is a great place to be a part of. The finest episodes to exhibit this quality are “I’ll Try To Fix You” and “5/1”. In the former, Will becomes wrapped up in a smear campaign being undertaken by a trashy magazine and the majority of the episode is filled with humour at Will’s expense. Then all of a sudden, the news breaks of the shooting of Gaby Giffords and suddenly all the smaller issues are thrown out, the crew unites and strives to make sure only the truth makes it to their audience. Yes, it does all happen to the strains of Coldplay’s Fix You, but there’s Sorkin skirting those clichés again. The latter, “5/1” is one of the episodes I had been most looking forward to seeing the show tackle, that being the death of Osama Bin Laden. Given the subject nature, there was always a risk of this story being treated far too patriotically and come across as pure cheese. On the contrary, it feels incredibly real. There is real joy in the characters as they hear the news, there is a more real sense of them trying to get the show right than there was for any other story and now that I think of it, I don’t even think I caught a glimpse of the stars and stripes once in that episode. Quite simply, “5/1” is one of the finest episodes of television ever seen. Fact.

One issue with the show, and it is one that does prevent it from being perfect, is that being based on a news programme, there is always the sense that the writer is taking the opportunity to force their opinions on a mass audience. It can’t be denied that the general theme of the show is that the Republicans have let themselves go and the party is a disgrace. Whilst it isn’t exactly littered with Obama praise either, this message got through even to myself who has zero knowledge or interest in American politics. Whilst it doesn’t hinder the series in any major way, it can’t be denied that it is still there all the same. A small gripe I suppose though and definitely only a minor blemish on an otherwise flawless series.

Thankfully, The Newsroom has been renewed for another season and, trust me, once you finish these ten episodes you will be salivating for more. It is an old school show in a modern world and more of it could only be a good thing. An absolute must see.

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