The Newsroom is that show that is about people who work in a newsroom, presenting the news and getting up to all sorts of shenanigans whilst they’re at it. However the Newsroom isn’t really about the presentation of the news itself but rather the process of gathering and developing stories. Sadly for the handful of fans the show had, season 3 was the final segment in the Newsroom’s very short run.
Spoilers and stuff may (will) be discovered beyond this point so watch your feet or you may ruin that nice pair of Jordan’s you’ve got on, something which I can’t pull off because…you know… I’m white…
I’m going to start by talking about the series in general before being more specific about season 3 as a whole further down, so if you only want to read about the season scroll a bit.
One of my biggest issues which I have always had about the Newsroom is that it has never lived up to its potential, and season 3 was no different to this issue. Whenever someone asked me about what I thought of the show and whether it was worth watching, I would always reply ‘it has a great concept and cast but it never really fully delivers.’ I love the idea that the show is based on true events which had happened in the year previous, it really gives you a greater connection to the show because it covers real life events, but I feel as the series has moved on they moved more and more away from this basic but effective idea.
Based on what I’ve already written you can probably guess where this may be going, but I’ll take a moment out to talk about what was good about season 3. It is still a great cast, Will McAvoy in a stronger written show could have went down as one of the most iconic characters of all time; what’s not to love about Sloan; MacKenzie and Jim just seem like really nice people and who doesn’t want to hug Charlie all night long? The dialogue can be excellent at times and can flow as smoothly as my dance moves (which trust me are pretty…pretty…damn smooth) and the actors deliver their dialogue with great proficiency.
Saying that it still bothers me that everyone and their granny has snappy lines, comebacks which make sassy fat ladies jealous and levels of articulation which make Stephen Fry look like a mere commoner. The problem with this is that if everyone has sharp and cutting dialogue, put downs and comebacks then nobody has it, because of this phenomenon it means thatcharacters can’t stand above the rest of the crowd and essentially everyone sort of gets lost in the shuffle.
The same thing goes for how intelligent everyone is in the show; has anyone watched a TV news show recently? I certainly have and I wouldn’t describe these as the most intelligent people I’ve ever seen in my life, that clearly isn’t how the Newsroom is portrayed. I have always thought in life those who are the most intelligent are those who don’t need to keep telling you how intelligent they are, yet in the Newsroom these apparent geniuses constantly tell you how intelligent they are and how that makes them better than you.
I think that one of the biggest crimes the Newsroom has committed in this season as well as the series as a whole is the underutilisation of Neal, he is one of the best characters in the show and more so than that he brings a more modern take to the show, which seems intent on sticking to the idea of a Newsroom which hasn’t entered the 21st century.
In contrast Maggie gets shoved down our throats on a regular basis, do I care about her love triangle which has more edges than a triangle really should (more like a hexagon really). Is it realistic that this woman is receiving so much attention from the other sex, to the extent that she’s fighting them off with a shitty stick? She has also received some of the most erratic writing imaginable. When the show concludes Maggie has become a big time Charlie (sort of a pun) with a fancy producers job…this is the same woman who was a blithering mess in the first episode? If that weren’t bad enough she’s only been in the job for about three years, that’s a pretty meteoric rise if you ask me, no wonder she shattered the glass ceiling (went there). Oh wait, is this not also the woman who had an emotional breakdown a few months before the start of season 3, to the extent that she cut her hair funny and dyed it purple? Yeah…you’re right that is incredibly inconsistent writing.
It would be nice if the writing was only inconsistent for Maggie but the writing is also inconsistent for Don, who went from being a total dick to being a super nice guy who refuses to run juicy stories because of morals and junk, then to the detriment of his own career turns down the big promotion which he has earned, it doesn’t really make sense. Forced character personality changes are never a good sign and they are certainly never the sign of a well written show.
I know what you’re thinking, you’re wondering when I start to talk about season 3 specifically and the long wait has finally arrived! I remember reading after season 2 finished that there was doubts that the Newsroom would come back for a third season, and although it did I do have to wonder why they really bothered. It isn’t so much that I have a problem with the general lacklustre quality but rather with the general lack of episodes, we only got a measly six. The problem with that is quite simply they didn’t have time to let the whole Equatorial Africanyland story or the takeover story properly fill out and it meant that everything felt very rushed. I hated the way season 2 ended and I can understand them wanting to have a do-over but only receiving six episodes tells you that even the network wasn’t that keen on another season and gave it out of courtesy to Aaron Sorkin.
As I said the whole ‘America’s the worst and does mean things to Africans’ thing was pretty rushed and more so than that didn’t really make sense. One of my biggest problems with the storyline is that it deprived us of Neal, one of the best characters in the show as he ran off to Venezuela (at least he’ll get good crack and cheap petrol…). Other problems included the whole Will goes to prison portion which didn’t make sense, so instead of the show now being about a newsroom it had become a legal drama about a man who was willing to give up his freedom for an ideology… and then how things all nicely wrapped themselves up with the woman killing herself for some unknown reason and Will getting out just in time for the last episode. I think that part of the charm of the concept of the Newsroom is that it deals with real history, so naturally I don’t like when they just fabricate things out of thin air, obviously things get worse when it is then poorly handled.
Moving onto the next season long story arc, the takeover of the newsroom. I’ll start off with the obvious, Reese’s (Jane Fonda’s son) step siblings come of age and receive their inheritance and are going to sell it off from underneath Reese and his mother which will lead to a hostile takeover, sounds fair enough, but then you start to wonder where Reece’s portion of that inheritance went, wouldn’t his dad have split it three ways? This is never actually explained, yes they say that the dad thought he was a dick (or something to that manner) but is that enough to totally cut him out the will? No probably not, but the viewer is meant to ignore matters which don’t make sense in reality but make for a good storyline. They brought BJ Novak in and wasted him, and the part at the end where Jane Fonda is telling him what to do makes little to sense either. Why should he give two shits about getting bad press about his opinions on women? If he is as fucking loaded as they led you to believe, he wouldn’t, yet he is still essentially bullied into making Mac the new network president, yes on that day no sense was given.
Season 3 also managed to deliver us with equally shit stories such as the campus rape thing and the cars will bring the apocalypse guy who happens to be Toby from the American Office (showing that he can be boring in more than one job at a time).
I hate when shows get preachy and these two storylines are great examples of a show which loves telling the audience we know better than you and are telling you how to live your life, but I know what you’re wondering, could the Newsroom really get anymore preachy? Well apparently the answer is a defining yes. At times throughout this season (as well as the series as a whole) the Newsroom has hit its audience in the face with its ‘I’m more intelligent than you’ mantra and this sort of thing tends to piss me off. Maybe I am in the minority of life but I don’t watch TV to help me readjust my moral compass. No I personally watch TV to be entertained, so I don’t really need some guy preaching to me through his medium about how I should feel about things. The Newsroom has always done this through the whole this is how the news should be done thing, but in reality I already live in a country where I can find neutral domestic news very easily, so this isn’t really an issue for me. I’ve always seen the Newsroom ‘telling the news’ thing as a way to get at FOX News, which is a joke of a news network, but it isn’t the only American news network which is a joke but you wouldn’t really know that from watching this (damn liberal agenda!).
However season 3 introduced us to the ‘everyone on the internet sucks’ and ‘leave journalism to real journalists.’ Now I’m insulted by this in two ways, firstly I’m a person on the internet and I write about stuff whilst putting it on the internet without any actual journalistic background hence I must be the worst person who has ever lived. I hate when TV shows are preachy, it really is annoying, what is even worse is when the writers flat out insult every viewer that is watching that show with their preachiness. I agree that I am not a fan of the whole instant reaction ability which everyone now has (because it allows stupid people to do and say stupid things) but I do love the fact that as an audience we have never been more connected to the world (because it allows for people to gain a different angle which isn’t just run by standard media). I wouldn’t have maybe minded the points that they were making if they were delivered in a less arrogant and pretentious manner but then what else would you expect from a show which has always been arrogant and pretentious and whose main writer is both arrogant and pretentious?
We’re getting to the end of the review and what better way to finish it than to talk about the final scenes of the Newsroom? Well they were pretty brutal really. I think the best part of the last couple of episodes was when Charlie takes the heart attack and then you found out he was dead because I had just assumed he would be ok (didn’t seem that old, fairly healthy), so when it was revealed he had died I was like ‘oh’ because what’s not to like about Charlie? Beyond that the last episode in particular was an absolute abomination. Generally when a show out of nowhere does a flashback episode it means they have ran out of ideas, to do it in your last episode is a terrible indictment of your show as a whole. Probably the worst scene in the entire history of the Newsroom happened as everyone joined together for a sing-along in the middle of a wake…yeah…really an awful segment, one which I wish I could forget but it keeps haunting my dreams. Don’t worry though everything went ok for all the main cast (excluding Charlie obviously) as pretty much everyone received a promotion, and even better than that everyone also managed to hook up with someone else. We had Sloan and Don, Mac and Will, the conclusion of the world’s most boring will they won’t they as Maggie and Jim finally got together and Neal…well Neal got back with the internet, his one true love. The old ‘a woman’s life is only complete if she’s in a relationship’ shtick, good to see that writing has developed beyond those old idioms (by the way in this scenario the internet is the woman).
The Newsroom had everything to be a classic show; a brilliant concept and a fantastic cast which had great chemistry and was more than capable of maximising the writing which was given to them, the problem was that the writing was very rarely good and too often the show had plot holes galore as well as losing itself up its own ass on a regular basis, forgetting that the show should have been about how the news is gathered and presented and instead focusing on the drama of life and boring love triangles.
Something that says a lot about the Newsroom to me is that I watched the first episode, didn’t put it on a series link, forgot it was on and then saw an advert for it about four episodes in reminding me that I was meaning to watch it. The Newsroom never managed to grip me, worse than that it never managed to live up to the excellent potential which I think the show had. Knowing what I know now, if someone asked me whether to watch the Newsroom I would tell them that it is a waste of their time unless they like storylines which are poorly constructed and frustrating writing. I don’t think the Newsroom is awful, I just think it is a pretty poor show and season 3 was the worst season in the series (which is saying something because season 2 was also pretty poor).
The Newsroom arrogant, pretentious and pretty damn shit.
Anyway much like the Newsroom I am becoming bored of this (nah I’m only joking I’ve just ran out of things to say, I know it took a while but it happens eventually) and it is time to wrap up this particular piece. Why not take your time to leave a comment and tell me why you think I am being way too harsh on the Newsroom and need to get a life, or alternatively tell me that I have got it spot on and the Newsroom really is a ridiculous excuse for some Hollywood chump to preach his utter nonsense to the poor viewing populace.
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