WARNING --- SPOILERS!!!!
I have enjoyed the season thus far. As other media outlets have said, the dialogue and acting are more in the vein of West Wing than it was last season. I think the consequences of the "American Taliban" comments were necessary. We can't assume that a group of Republicans, especially this group, would just ignore that. The Genoa story fits into the greater arc of whether or not the Federal Government is overreaching in its power in the War on Terror and with an American citizen being targeted, Will makes a compelling case for why we shouldn't feel bad for a terrorist. Meanwhile, the counter-argument is just as strong when they say "it's not feeling sorry for a terrorist, but being concerned with what is legal." They've done a great job of explaining why Will is a Republican, and even though they are doing that, they show him looking at "Why we hate Will McAvoy" to show he may be full of it and just want to please his audience again. That's Sorkin doing what he does best--making a compelling argument and then giving us a reason for why someone would make it personally.
I think the Maggie-Jim-Don-Lisa story is much more interesting this year, less comedy, than it was last year. Again, showing the consequences of the first kiss is compelling. Last year, you knew where the story was going. They are showing these characters being ripped apart by the decisions they made in season 1. Jim going to New Hampshire, Maggie going to Uganda, etc. I think the Occupy Wall Street story did a nice bow on what was transpiring in the newsroom and Will's reaction to it. The cop asking Will "Are you okay?" etc. They don't know everything that happens in a single episode. These guys aren't always smarter than the news, and that is an improvement. For instance, Mac po-pooing Occupy, not knowing what to do about Genoa.
I do feel, as a criticism, that I knew too much in the first episode that informed the second. I know the Genoa story isn't going to work out, and I think it takes some of the fun out of learning about it. We know it's not true. And the theme of the season seems to be "Can we go too far?" and "What if we're wrong?" It goes further than the "should we do a great news program" and just assuming they know how and don't make mistakes.
That's a small complaint. Everyone has turned in nuanced performances. My favorite scenes thus far have been Will debating about killing an American and Lisa confronting Maggie about Jim. I have to get rid of cable so I have enough money to go back to school, so I won't know what happens in the next 7 episodes until it comes out on DVD. This will probably be my last post for awhile on this topic. But it's good to know the show, with all its potential, is finally realizing it.
*As for the credits, while I cringe when cars are shown in credits (it dates them terribly), I am happy with the new opening showing the everyday process of putting a news cast together, rather than seeing themselves as Edward R. Murrow. It really shows the tone of the show has changed, and I enjoy it much better than last season's credits.