In 1994, two new series premiered about hospitals on network television, Chicago and ER.

Both received positive critical reviews, but I had a sharply divided opinion about the two and published an essay in the periodical Creative Screenwriting arguing that ER was the superior show.

In an analysis of the scripts for the pilot episodes, I framed arguments about the multicultural, communal social space of ER and the dated visual style and elitism of Chicago Hope, which seemed even then like a vestige of the 1980s.

I enjoyed the former a lot more than the latter and watched regularly until it went off the air in 2009.  Chicago Hope stayed on the air until 2000, but I gave up on it after the first season.

I mention this because I really wish The Newsroom were a lot more like ER and a lot less like Chicago Hope.

It’s true that I’m ambivalent about the high-minded speechifying that typifies some of Aaron Sorkin’s work.  The dialogue is too spot on, too precious, too high-minded.  It is too, too much for me most of the time and feels artfully constructed rather than authentic.

The production values are high in The Newsroom, but the show is too predictable and, in ways related to form and content, seems like an artifact of an earlier era instead of a fresh take on the newsroom and spirited defense of the fourth estate.

I need The Newsroom to feel more real to be relevant and engaging.

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