The Newsroom’s second season Blu-Rays leave you wanting more


‘The Newsroom’ season two Blu-Ray and DVD sets launch this week, as fans eagerly await the third season’s premiere. The features are great, but the set would have benefitted from more.


HBO generally produces high quality DVD/Blu-Ray sets. The annual Game of Thrones release could win awards (Are there such things, and if not, why? I found none of particular note in a 30-second Google search). Last year’s release of The Newsroom’s first season was solid, but left me wanting more – not unlike the show, as I am admittedly a huge Aaron Sorkin-nut. The features in the second season set, available this week, were great, but I wanted more.

I’ve got to be honest: I’ve never been able to wrap my head around why it seems to be so difficult to record commentary tracks. Season two comes with four commentaries (compared to the five out of ten in the season one set), recorded with a mix of cast and crew. The participants recorded simultaneously in different locations, causing some interesting scheduling challenges (Aaron Sorkin left midway during one track, Jeff Daniels joined late in another). But as someone who records a weekly Podcast, I do know it isn’t that hard to find an hour to sit in front of a microphone and blather on about any particular subject.

 I do know it isn’t that hard to find an hour to sit in front of a microphone and blather on about any particular subject.
The commentaries were all informative. Emily Mortimer is delightfully embarrassed to watch herself on screen (She was particularly distressed to hear her delivery of the “Tonight we settle all family business” line from “News Night with Will McAvoy”). And while I’ve always heard Olivia Munn refer to the show’s creator as just “Sorkin,” but it was an affectation that seemed to extend to the rest of the cast –save Jeff Daniels – at least when referring to him in the third person. I had hoped that the producers would go some detail about the decision to reshoot much of the first three episodes (and replace Rosemarie DeWitt – a favorite of mine – with Marcia Gay Harden). Sadly, they skimmed right over they “why” and just talked about some of the reshoots.

The set also included two deleted scenes, the first of which was much more lengthy than the other. The scene was set up in the premiere, as Sloan and Charlie discussed their upcoming fantasy football draft. The scene in question showed just how seriously Sloan took her job as commissioner. If only she’d taken her research as seriously … Tony Gonzalez as a high first round pick? And Will suggesting Roy Helu, Jr. as an alternative just because he was a Nebraska grad was even worse (Says the Washington Redskins fan).

The set also included something HBO called Instant Preview. If your Blu-Ray player is internet enabled, you can watch the first episodes of several HBO and Cinemax shows: Veep, The Knick and others. I didn’t have a great deal of luck with the app; my attempt to watch the Knick was faced with enough buffering challenges that I moved on to the next feature. It is a good opportunity for folks who just watch HBO series on DVD to take a look at shows that might not have appealed to them otherwise. Considering HBO’s plans to open a streaming service to the public, I doubt they will have an exposure issue anytime soon.

I have skipped over the technical aspects of the set. I am a nerd about many things, but video transfer and audio composition is not one of them. Suffice it to say, the episodes both look and sound great. Content is more my thing; I’m looking the final six episodes of The Newsroom. I wish we were getting more, but Sorkin’s success on The Social Network begat his work on the Steve Jobs biography, and that movie’s inevitable success will likely keep him out of the television business for a long time to come.

This review is based on a complimentary copy, provided to CliqueClack, solely for the purpose of this review.

Photo Credit: HBO

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