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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE NEWSROOM- the Complete First Season

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 310 minutes (13 episodes on two discs), audio commentary, INSIDE THE NEWSROOM featurette, ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM TV promos, Cast and Crew bios

STUDIO: Goldhil/CBC/Morningstar Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: 12-13-2005

DISC 1- THE WALKING SHOE INCIDENT/ DINNER AT EIGHT/ DEEPER, DEEPER/ THE KEVORKIAN JOKE/ A BAD DAY/ PETTY TYRANNY/ DIS AND DAT/ PARKING/

DISC 2- UNITY/ MELTDOWN Part 1, 2, and 3/ CAMPAIGN (hour long episode)

Ken Finkleman is a mad scientist. His genuis has created one of the most unique and clever satire series ever. THE NEWSROOM is Ken's way to comment on the news, other issues, and what the characters do. Ken Finkleman wrote and directed every episode in addition to playing the central character, George Findlay, an arrogant news director who only cares about himself.

Marvel at how George plays dirty to get his job back from a back stabbing news anchor (Amanda Tapping) who has George and the show's original anchor, the stupid Jim Walcott (who gets in trouble with a hooker not just once during the course of the series), kicked off the show. In a couple of other episodes, he goes to lengths to try and get a good parking spot while MELTDOWN shows George unable to deal with his own mortality as a nuclear plant near Toronto may meltdown in the next few hours. I do like Ken poking fun with the person writing for TV Guide saying 39 smart comedies are coming out in the Fall from the big four networks (Ken got away from the Hollywood system because he hated how things were done). I was amazed when looking back at the show at how many sci-fi stars appeared in THE NEWSROOM: Amanda Tapping (STARGATE SG-1), Lisa Ryder (ANDROMEDA, FOREVER KNIGHT), director David Cronneberg (playing himself), and Tanya Allen (STARHUNTER). Despite Tanya Allen not being around for season 2 and 3, her intern character will be missed. However, Ken was right to have the other two important characters come back for the new seasons years later (Jim and Karen).

VIDEO: 1.33:1 (Full Frame)

Image detail is good, but a little aliasing and other artifacts are present if you know where to look for them. Still the transfers are probably the same ones used for the first DVD release of THE NEWSROOM. Still not bad transfers, but season 2's transfers are better.

AUDIO: English 2.0 Dolby Digital

Dialogue is clear, but sadly close captioning was left off the discs despite the sleeve saying the epsidoes are close captioned.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Favorite extra on disc two are the TV promos for ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM (which has never aired in the USA as far as I know and I hope will be on DVD soon). INSIDE THE NEWSROOM is an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the series (better than the season 2 featurette). Favorite moments are any interview bit with Ken Finkleman and how he directs a scene. He is very involved in the process of making this show. I would love to interview him. Ken Finkleman record audio commentaries for THE WALKING SHOE INCIDENT and CAMPAIGN. The first track is the better one (as he is moderated in both like he was for the season 2 tracks). He mentions at the end of the first commentary that he considers other shows featuring George Findlay (like FOOLISH HEART) to be part of the same show as THE NEWSROOM

Also included are cast (for eight cast members) and crew (for the producer and director of photography) bios.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Despite the lack of close captions, THE NEWSROOM is a series worth owing on DVD whether you have seen it or not.

this review is (c)3-31-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com