I don't know. I think this season will be dealing more with the characters and their relations to each other while the first season set up Newsnight as a show and its guiding principles and goals. This is also reflected by the intro which is set in the here and now as opposed to the original one with its reverence for the "good old days" of TV news.
So far, I really like what I'm seeing and I feel it's a natural development that we're seeing more of the characters. Besides, calling the Tea Party the American Taliban would have some consequences that need to be addressed on the show. The love pentaeder of doom was also going to result in some serious fall-out sooner or later, though I'm surprised that happened so quickly. We'll be seeing some real news dealt with in retrospect soon enough and I'm looking forward to that, especially the drone war and the Occupy movement.
I found myself chuckling a couple of times during the two episodes that have aired so far so I can't say that I think the show is less funny than last season. The scene where Will is annoying the lawyers had me in stitches.
I love the interaction between Will and Mac this season, especially the bar scenes. Sloan is kicking ass, too. The story with her and Maggie trying to get that YouTube video taken down was really cool.