Judging by the episodes we've seen this season, Sorkin seems to have over-corrected in response to much of the criticism that was lobbed at him after the first season.
Gone are much of the silly, rom-com moments that critics cited as shallow characterization for the female cast members. Now all the people in the newsroom are shown to be ultra-capable at their jobs, at all times. Flawed characters may send the wrong message to the audience.
Also missing is much of the reverence that was foisted upon journalists and the journalism profession in the previous season because some felt that the show was too self-important. I may be biased but I feel journalists ARE important and they serve an important function in our society. The debates about news-worthiness in the first season were some of my favorite scenes from the show.
The dialogue, the storylines -- they seem very self-conscious and safe this season, like someone came in and filed all the corners and edges down. Much of the crackle is absent in scenes (the deposition scenes in the future being the sole exceptions). Maybe they are building toward a rich payoff in the end.
Sorkin has a distinct voice and POV to his writing; it's why I watched West Wing, Sports Night, even Studio 60. It's definitely why I continue to watch the Newsroom. Here's hoping Sorkin comes back with a vengeance in future episodes, pulls no punches, and goes for broke. Enough self-editing and handling the show with kid gloves. I want him to just ignore all the critics and make the show he wants to make.
That may be why it feels so different.
Also, I really don't like the new intro.