GET ME RESHOOT! We've talked a lot about the problems with The Newsroom and have largely blamed the writing, but the more I watch, the more I think the direction is equally to blame for the show's problems. This is the first time a Sorkin show has been lead directed by anyone other than Thomas Schlamme. (Schlamme was tied up with Pan Am at the time.) The direction become problematic in two major ways:
1. The rhythm of the dialogue seems slightly off. Rather than the rat-a-tat-tat we're accustomed to with Sorkinese, it's much more "beat, beat, beat, beat." As a result, the show moves more slowly and less interestingly. Part of that may also be due to HBO's indulgence and no longer having a strict "this episode must be 44 minutes" rule as they did on NBC, but the director can certainly affect that as well.
2. Particularly in the scenes in the conference room, there's an awful lot of cutting between close-ups of the various actors when they talk rather than a wide shot or continuous shot with the camera moving to focus on the performers when they're talking. This has the side effect of making it seem less like the characters are talking to one another and more like the characters are just pontificating into thin air, which is a particular problem for scripts as prone to pontification as Sorkin's.
I'm not saying a new directing team would solve all problems, but I think it certainly wouldn't hurt.