In an age of moral ambiguity, Sorkin's characters are all about "fighting the good fight," a phrase that the hero of "The Newsroom," anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), actually uses to describe what he's up to in the fourth episode. Installments tackle Big Themes about How We Live Today (or How We Lived Yesterday, since the series is set in the near past), and the characters talk about them, caps intact, about what's right and what's wrong and what needs to change.
"The Newsroom" falls somewhere between "Sports Night" and "The West Wing," using a setting like (and characters right out of) the former while getting to take on the heftier themes of the latter. Will begins the show by having a "Network"-lite breakdown during a forum at a college, in which he's snapped out of his professional lethargy (his inoffensive, middle-of-the-road approach has led one reporter to call him the Jay Leno of news) by a girl's question about why he thinks America is the greatest country in the world. In short -- he doesn't, but he thinks it was once and can be again. The controversy and energy he shows leads his boss Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) to engineer a shake-up of Will's nightly show "News Night," bringing in the idealistic Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer), Will's ex, as the new executive producer.
There's also Dev Patel as Neal Sampat, the blogger and internet researcher, Olivia Munn as Sloan Sabbith, the show's financial analyst, and some others hurrying around in the background -- and Jane Fonda shows up for an episode as Leona Lansing, the owner of the network who's not pleased with what's happening to "News Night."