TV Rating: TV-14
Other Choices: Network, Broadcast News, The Hour
Common Sense Says: Newsy drama targets adults; some drinking, mature themes.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom contains unbleeped swearing in the form of "f--k, "s--t," etc., although cursing isn't constant. There's also some light sexual tension, along with allusions to romantic relationships, and characters drink socially, occasionally to excess. The show is not targeted toward kids or teens, but mature teens with an interest in journalism might find something worthwhile here.
- Families can talk about how accurately The Newsroom portrays the state of modern-day journalism and the way we get our information. How have nightly news programs changed in the past few decades, both in terms of structure and their importance to the public?
- How have the Internet and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook changed the way we perceive and process news? Are we more or less informed as a result?
- Are the show's premise and characters realistic, or do they suggest an idealized version of reality? Would a show like the revamped News Night succeed with American audiences?
What's the story?
In the wake of a public gaffe that sends most of his underlings scrambling, popular News Night anchor Will McEvoy (Jeff Daniels) regroups with a brand-new staff led by uber-capable executive producer Mackenzie "Mack" McHale (Emily Mortimer). The two share a personal and professional past that makes working together particularly complicated. But Mack is also one of the few who knows what Will is capable of in THE NEWSROOM -- and she isn't afraid to push him toward greatness.
Is it any good?
The Newsroom makes it known through ever-present monologues that it's tackling worthy and weighty issues, like whether "good television" and "the news" are mutually exclusive or whether journalists should have an opinion. But instead of answering those questions with nuance and intelligence, it gives us impassioned but ultimately hollow speeches and one-dimensional characters who are frustratingly chatty.Of course, those elements are precisely what series creator Aaron Sorkin -- a critically acclaimed writer who won an Oscar for The Social Network script and multiple Emmys for his work on The West Wing -- is known for, and they usually work like a charm. But with the Sorkin magic missing from The Newsroom on multiple fronts, it makes for a show that's better in theory than in practice.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The purpose of the show-within-a-show is to deliver news that actually informs the viewer and encourages thoughtful discussion. There's also a subtle message that standing up for the truth -- and what you believe in -- is a risky but noble pursuit.
Role Models: Most characters are principled with admirable ideals, and there are several strong female role models. The newsroom staff also works well as a team with surprisingly little infighting.
What to watch out for
Violence Not an issue
Sex: Light sexual tension and banter with references to affairs and relationships.
Language: Unbleeped swearing includes terms like "f--k," "s--t," "Goddamn," "ass," and "blow me," but cursing isn't constant.
Consumerism: Characters mention real-life brands like Goldman Sachs, Capital One, etc.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Characters drink socially, occasionally to excess.