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The Boston Globe

Arts

Television Review

‘The Hour’: Worth the time

I hear from a lot of TV viewers who really want to like “The Newsroom,” Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama about the media, integrity, and the Gordian knot of love. But while they’re drawn to a drama about TV journalism, they complain that the “Newsroom” characters are preternaturally intelligent, overly self-important, and emotionally adolescent. The usual Sorkin rumpus. I enjoy the show, for Sorkin’s passionate treatment of timely issues, and for Jeff Daniels’s flamboyant performance, but I can’t argue with those who reject the kit because of the kaboodle.

Cut to: BBC America’s “The Hour,” the British series that returns for a second season of six episodes on Wednesday night at 9. This is also a drama about the news business, the challenges of integrity, and love’s near misses and thunderclaps, but it’s not marred by any of Sorkin’s excesses. Set at a weekly BBC newsmagazine in the 1950s called “The Hour,” it’s a subtle intertwining of journalists’ professional struggles, their personal lives, and the thorny social issues that envelope them, and I can’t recommend it enough. “The Hour” is not “Breaking Bad” good, or “Mad Men” good, but it’s close.

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