The Newsroom is a series that I discovered far too late to really understand why it attracts the hate it does. It’s a series that blends together strong performances, solid scripts and modern day in a really impressive way and while I can see where some of its critics are coming from, it hasn’t stopped me from unabashedly enjoying the show from its first episode.
Aaron Sorkin’s media-centred drama finds its conclusion in this most recent season and while it won’t win over those already set against it, it’s a fine send-off for the show’s talented cast and creative exploration of contemporary issues and current events.
Given that it’s the show’s final season, the final six episodes of The Newsroom are all about delivering the payoffs to the series’ big overarching plot lines – in particular those concerning the relationships between its characters. Neil finds his destiny as the station’s whistleblower, Don & Sloan define their relationship, Maggie steps up in a big way and Charlie struggles to secure the station’s future in the face of the rapidly-changing landscape of modern news as Will & Mac prepare for their impending wedding.
If there’s anything to be said for the series ever-shortening length, it’s that it has left no room for filler. It’s a testament to Sorkin’s writing that he cleverly weaves all of the series big complications throughout Episode 1 (“Boston”), and then immediately set to work untangling things.
For fans of the series, Season 3 is all about giving you exactly what you want. The same sharp character interactions and passionate diatribes that defined the first season are back in full force – though episodes often leans towards Season 2’s serialized structure. If any criticisms are to be leveled at the structure of episode’s it’s that the current events aspect of the show feels like it’s now playing second-fiddle to the fictional drama surrounding ACN itself.
The big political issues that the series deals with this time around include the problematic consequences of social-media, the increasingly-dire state of environmental conservation efforts and the realities of whistle-blowing. Some of these are handled better than others but they all more or less fit comfortably alongside the series previous interests.
When all is said and done, however, Season 3 does feel like the weakest the series has seen yet. As the series approaches it’s endgame, Sorkin’s writing reverts (disappointingly) into a shallow version of its former self. The Newsroom’s final episode is one that sums all these problems up – it pays homage to the series past, but misses the mark when it comes to capturing the magic behind it.