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Caryn James

'The Daily Show' Visits Sorkin's 'Newsroom' (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 15, 2013 12:54 PM
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Jon Stewart and the cast of The Daily Show are fond of saying they’re pretend journalists, even though they often do a better job of delivering actual news stories than the circus that is CNN. In this segment about the loss of investigative journalism -- too expensive, too ratings-challenged – John Oliver interviews Kaj Larsen, a victim of CNN cutbacks; reminds us of the time that Jessica Yellin was a hologram (and really, I don’t blame her for that news-meets-Star-Trek moment), and visits Will McAvoy -- or is it Jeff Daniels? -- in a really fictional newsroom.

An Irresistible Mix: Smart Meets Soapy in 'The Hour'

  • By Caryn James
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  • November 28, 2012 8:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment
When smart meets soapy, the results can be delicious and addictive television – as long as the show proudly owns its soap opera qualities (that’s one of the secrets of Downton Abbey) and integrates them into the drama (the gap between soap and preaching is what dooms The Newsroom.) The Hour, beginning its second season on BBC America, gets that formula, and if anything tips toward the lurid with its new episodes.  

Aaron Sorkin Moves 'The Newsroom' To Fairyland

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 24, 2012 9:45 AM
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Aaron Sorkin has always had a huge, corn-fed Capraesque streak, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.  Even in his own day, Capra’s Americana was more willful than trenchant, but at least it suited its Greatest Generation era. Sorkin’s high-blown patriotic speeches, transferred from America to the glorified image of what was once Serious Journalism, are the main reason his new HBO series The Newsroom is so uneven and shaky. There’s so much that is good about the series – its intelligent characters, the zooming narrative that captures the adrenaline rush of breaking news, Jeff Daniels’ and Sam Waterston’s fierce yet grounded performances - that it’s disappointing to see how much goes wrong. The Newsroom is absolutely worth watching, but measured against its own ambition is a frustrating, partial success.

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