This Sunday marks the premiere of Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO one-hour, The Newsroom. The early reviews are more or less in line with what I was expecting from the promotional materials: according to sterling types like Mo Ryan and Alan Sepinwall, it’s self-serious, unconvincing, and possibly even a little misogynistic. I’m sure we’ll discuss the pilot on the next edition of The Televerse, but in the meantime, why not check out the probably-far-superior 1996 series of the same name?
A media satire and mock-doc-style sitcom, Ken Finkleman’s series isn’t perfect, but it seems to predict about a dozen series that followed. The shooting style and aloof, casually offensive protagonist (George Findlay, played by Finkleman) presages The Office, the takedown of news-industry self-infatuation connects to The Colbert Report, and the season-ending dive into an elaborate Federico Fellini parody recalls some of Louie‘s flights of stylistic fancy.
Someone took the time to upload the entire first season and post-season special to YouTube; check it out starting below. (Finkleman also produced a second run of episodes in 2004-05, and a film, Escape from the Newsroom, in 2002.) If you need further encouragement, take a listen to the DVD Shelf segment in Televerse 10, where Kate and I discuss the series with Jesse Singer of the Watch It podcast.