The Newsreader Season 2 [9/10]

Watching Season 1 of The Newsreader in 2021 was one of that year’s viewing pleasures (see my review). Immersing the viewer in a 1986 Australian television newsroom, replete with episodes of evocative history (Chernobyl!), it spun around a storyline of Dale, a go-getter reporter keen to become an announcer, and Helen, the channel’s superstar host of “News at 6.” Season 2 kicks off with a 1987 election-eve broadcast and includes the Black Monday stock market crash, but the main focus is on the many deeply portrayed characters: Anna Torv is unforgettable as the queen of the screen inching downward in stature; Sam Reid nails a nuanced performance as the rookie presenter on his way up, grappling with his own sexuality and the superstar relationship; Michelle Lim Davidson wonderfully underplays a rookie behind-the-scenes producer who falls in love with a sports presenter; Rory Fleck Byrne ably plays a new character to the season, a flippant entertainer; Robert Taylor is note perfect as a stuffy, old-style news anchor; and Marg Downey is superb as his scheming wife. For my money, though, the standout performance is William McInnes as the profane slob running the newsroom, hilarious and imaginative in his portrayal. The arc of the season works wonderfully, with not a moment wasted, and the sets and cinematography bring the era and characters alive. Season 2 of The Newsreader is this year’s must-watch Australian drama.

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