Photo Credit: Melissa Moseley
Dear Mr. Aaron Sorkin, creator of HBO's The Newsroom:
Here's the good news. We are totally on board with your desire to re-create the rare television magic that was The West Wing. And The Newsroom -- which premiered last summer and will return for its second season on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET -- has many of the very ingredients (great actors, witty, fast-paced dialogue) that made The West Wing so riveting.
Here's the bad news (which, at this point, is also old news). The Newsroom was no West Wing. The characters weren't nearly as likable as those presidential aides who spouted funny, smart, pithy gems back in the early 2000s. The passionate debates that popped up among the employees of Atlantis Cable News seemed, well, overblown. Maybe because these opinionated people weren't solving the problems of the free world, they came off as overly self-important and preachy. And it's tough to love a show when many of the characters annoy you. Many critics felt this way. (Others called the show sexist.) And rumors swirled that you fired most of your writing staff. So… we're feeling some trepidation about Season 2.
Apparently, you know this. "There are a great many people who weren't just disappointed with The Newsroom but really maddened by it," you recently told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was impossible to avoid hearing that."
Still, we're glad you did hear it, and that going forward, several changes are afoot. You divulged that this time, we'll be seeing more of the characters' lives outside of the office. Great idea! Perhaps we'll like them better after work, when they're not sighing or throwing office supplies in bouts of deadline-driven angst.
Seriously, we want to like Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels). We do. And we get it: He's gruff on the outside, but he's got a heart of gold. Like in this sneak peek from the season 2 premiere:
Well, there's not much heart on display in that clip. But we're hoping to see more of it as the season's over-arching storyline puts Will in the hot seat. (His news show is targeted by a lawsuit for reporting, then retracting, an erroneous story, and Will, of course, is at the center of it.)
We're also glad to see you've brought in a new love interest for Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr.), who's adorable and deserves a new sparring partner while he travels with the Mitt Romney campaign this season. Plus, kudos for hiring Grace Gummer (Meryl Streep's daughter) to play her!
Sloan Sabbith's (Olivia Munn) upcoming storyline sounds intriguing, too: She may find herself in the middle of a sex scandal when nude photos of her unexpectedly surface. And we're curious to see how you've chosen to handle ripped-from-the-headlines incidents this season, including the attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and the Trayvon Martin killing.
We've heard that the second season has been a challenge, Mr. Sorkin. According to THR: "Only after he wrote the first three episodes and shot the first two did he realize that structural decisions he had made would prove problematic later in the season." But HBO let you start over and re-shoot, possibly because The Newsroom has already shown ratings promise. Season 1 averaged 7.1 million viewers per episode. (Not too shabby!)
All in all, we're cautiously optimistic about the season to come. We know you have it in you, Mr. Sorkin! (By the way, we loved The Social Network, too!) So we'll be there on Sunday at 10. Just please don't let us down this time.
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.