The screenwriting gods have been good to Aaron Sorkin.
His many successful creations include the award-hogging television political drama The West Wing (1999-2006); The Social Network (2010), winner of Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars and Golden Globes; and the 1992 film A Few Good Men, which he based on his own play.
After such adulation, the reaction by some critics to his latest TV creation, The Newsroom, must have been quite a blow to the 52-year-old.
As the show enters its second season, which is being broadcast in Singapore on HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601/655), media commentators have been mercilessly dissecting both the series and their own inability to stop watching it.
Inspiring headlines such as "Trying to tolerate The Newsroom" and "Is The Newsroom the best bad show ever?", the show appears to have singlehandedly revived the notion of "hate-watching", which is what critics seem to be doing week after week just so they can find more reasons to dislike it.
But while the drama has been slated for everything from its over-idealised depiction of journalism to its penchant for having female characters turn into bumbling wrecks over men, few have taken issue with the calibre of the cast, which is packed with wellregarded, theatre-trained actors such as Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston, Alison Pill and Thomas Sadoski.
The actors chatted recently with Life! and other reporters at a press event in Beverly Hills, where they defended Sorkin and said they embraced the divided critical response.
Sorkin, who writes most of the show, reportedly took the criticism to heart and for the second season, hired a whole new writing staff as well as a team of paid consultants, including journalists, to help come up with new storylines.