Reviewers have been saying that the BBC program, “The Hour” is what Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” should have been.
Now that the second season has begun I have finally caught up on the first. I am happy to report that the critics are right.
The show is vastly superior to “The Newsroom,” and well deserving of the praise it has been receiving.
The series is set in a BBC news show in 1956. This choice immediately neutralizes one's political sensitivities.
“The Hour” involves Russian spies, the Suez Canal crisis and the uprising in Hungary. Critics have said that the show is tightly scripted. By that they mean that the writers respect the unity of action.
Extraneous plot elements rarely, if ever, enter the picture.
Many critics have compared the show with “Mad Men,” even though the latter begins in the early 1960s. Also, the tone of “Mad Men” is, in its way, considerably more upbeat. Post-war Britain was far more dismal than post-war America.
One notices that the center of generational gravity in “Mad Men” is significantly older than in “The Hour.”
“Mad Men” is about middle age; "The Newsroom" revolves around two middle aged individuals; “The Hour” shows us the lives of young adults.
Happily enough, from this viewer’s perspective, the young people portrayed on “The Hour” demonstrate a level of adult maturity that many of their counterparts on today’s American shows conspicuously lack.
If you think about the fact that Freddie and Bel in "The Hour" are roughly the same age as Hannah and Adam in "Girls" you will lose a goodly part of your optimism about America's future.