[Warning: The following contains light spoilers for the Murphy Brown revival ahead!]
During the original run of Murphy Brown, the team at the fictional TV newsmagazine FYI worked in a media landscape that hadn't yet divided itself into right or left — a landscape that relied on trusted newspaper reporting to inform opinions and had never seen a retweet change the world. Twenty years after its finale, Murphy Brown's gang of passionate journalists, led by the titular journalist-in-charge, steps into an entirely new world. And in her mind at least, Murphy (Candice Bergen) couldn't have come back a moment too soon.
On most scripted shows, journalists are sacrificial snoops who get killed for being too nosey, talking heads that clue audiences in on what's happening to inform characters' choices, or kinda sleazy opportunists willing to trade secrets or sex for scoop. That is not Murphy. Then and now, Murphy Brown stands for integrity, decency and a sober interpretation of the facts — all simple enough stuff that has, in 2018, become shockingly uncommon in media.
Although Murphy has no idea how to tweet (in the first episode, anyway) or what it takes to make a story go viral as she comes back on the scene, she does bring a veritable course on journalism to the masses. And as she uses her bravery and smarts to keep people in power honest, she's likely to win over a whole new generation of fans. Here are six reasons why she might be your new favorite rock star journalist.
1. She appreciates facts
Nothing grinds Murphy's gears more than misinformation, and the deliberate spread of it, so anyone who doesn't share that value better watch out. Which brings us to...
2. She's not afraid to take on big shots
Murphy has never been too timid to confront people in power — she is the O.G. White House troll after all — but this revival will pull no punches in declaring Donald Trump and his spokespeople public enemy No. 1. In one episode, she gets into a tweet war with the president on live TV and in another, directly confronts White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
3. Murphy Brown checks her own biases
OK, well, she tries to. The first episode finds Murphy waking from a slumber to find out who won the 2016 election, jumping into activism by marching and then finally, deciding to get the gang — Corky Sherwood ( Faith Ford), Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto) and Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) — back together. She's unapologetically liberal but promises not to treat politics like a sporting event in her coverage, and asks her colleagues if she's acting out of ego. Sometimes.
5. She understands the difference between good journalism and good TV
One upcoming episode shows Murphy agonizing over whether to have a right-wing author with incendiary views on her show — a guy whose racial rhetoric Murphy finds abhorrent and based on manipulated facts. In the end, she decides that her primary devotion is to the truth and facts, instead of TV, and makes a decision that startles her colleagues.
6. Murphy Brown is ruthless on the outside but a softie on the inside
Like any good veteran journalist, Murphy can deliver an informed speech on practically any topic with conviction. She can also tear people to shreds for not doing their homework. However, she is also a bit of a teddy bear on the inside, although she'd never say it. As the season opens, Murphy gets into a competition with her son Avery (Jake McDorman), who's gone to work for the Wolf network (something like Fox News) much to her chagrin. And though she wears her disdain for Avery's choice like newsprint smudges on readers' fingers, Murphy still treats her son with respect and, yes, apologizes when she's wrong. That doesn't happen often, of course, but hey, it counts.
Murphy Brown premiere Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9:30/8:30c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)