Season two of HBO’s Newsroom begins this Sunday night, and for those of you who don’t already adore the show and were maybe on the fence about whether to continue watching Newsroom, here’s a few reasons why you should. First off, we’ll be recapping it each Monday, and if the hate watchers want to yell at me for my effusiveness, you should at least be an informed yeller. But more importantly, early reviews suggests that season two is better: It’s less sanctimonious, less preachy, and the characters are more even. Moreover, rather than simply picking up a year-and-a-half old news story each week and using it as a starting point to make a point about an issue (i.e., lecture the audience), there will be a compelling, season-long storyline about a fake story that makes it onto the air that anchors the narrative. There were also a lot of cable news blunders during the election and that should be easy fodder for Sorkin. They could do half a season devoted to CNN’s f*** ups.
It’s still going to be Sorkin, and it’s likely not going to ever be as consistently good as The West Wing, so if you hate Sorkin, then don’t wade back in. However, if you’re a fan, there are enough flashes of Sorkin brilliance in season two The Newsroom to counterbalance the show’s problems (specifically, the romantic comedy stuff, at least for the cynics among you). Plus, the season will be framed by legal depositions, and anyone who saw The Social Network knows how well Sorkin can use that device to great, verbal smack-down effect. It will also be more difficult for the Newsroom characters to display their smugness because, in the case of this season long story, THEY ARE IN THE WRONG.
Finally, there are several new characters this season, and for fans of these actors, that may be reason enough to continue. Here there are:
Patton Oswalt — He’s recurring, introduced in the season two premiere as the new Vice President of Human Resources. He will have a lot to do with the multi-million dollar wrongful termination lawsuit at the center of the season.
Marcia Gay Harden (Rebecca Haliday) — From what I understand, the luminous Rosemarie Dewitt was originally offered this role, but had to turn it down for scheduling reasons. Harden plays a First Amendment lawyer who is defending Will McAvoy and Newsnight for running the fake story.
Hamish Linklater is playing Jerry Dantana, who is a D.C. reporter brought into Newsroom during the election campaign. He scores a huge story, but it turns out, that the story, which was not properly vetted, is not true.
Grace Gummer plays Hallie Shea (Gummer is another of Meryl Streep’s daughters), and she is an embed on the Romney campaign bus, and her and Jim end up romantically involved.
Constance Zimmer plays Taylor Warren, a Romney campaign spokesman who is not a fan of Jim and the press in general.