Thursday, December 18, 2014

What I’m Watching: The Newsroom (Series Finale)

The Newsroom: Season 3, Episode 6 “What Kind of Day Has It Been?”

And here we have it, just twenty-five episodes in, the familiar title of an Aaron Sorkin finale in what ranks as his second-shortest series. What this hour indicates more than anything is that this show had excellent characters and deserved better than a truncated third season in which its storytelling had to be condensed to just six episodes. Charlie’s death provided the impetus for some soul-searching as well as for mandatory flashbacks to the beginning of things, namely right before Will gave his memorable answer prompted by none other than Mackenzie. Seeing everyone at those points is a reminder of how far they’ve come, and while I do understand the tendency to want to look back and in fact usually like it, it might have been nice to spend more of this precious time that we had left with the characters in the present. I think that Sloan became my favorite character, namely because she handled Sorkin’s quick dialogue better than anyone, rattling it off with precise pronunciation and the sense that she just needed to get it all out as quickly as possible. Her manipulation of Jim and Maggie’s relationship was merely because she and Don actually did find something great that didn’t need much work to be done. It’s great to see Maggie embrace her potential and Jim welcome that, and, were we to continue seeing them, they would be sure to have many more awkward repeated conversations before the truth finally and inevitably came out. Neal’s return to the newsroom was triumphant, and it’s good to see him end on such a high note. Fiona had a bigger role in this hour than she did in most, convincing Pruitt that he needed to appoint Mackenzie to a high leadership role to improve his image and to ensure that he had someone checking his moves all the time. Will blabbing about Mackenzie’s pregnancy was pretty hilarious, and there’s no denying the effectiveness of the show’s final scene, showing each person’s face and then ending with Will introducing the news as he surely will every night for the foreseeable future of this show were it to continue. I liked this season much more than season two, and I just wish that we got to see more episodes like the second and third installments of this season. I’ll make a list someday of shows I would immediately resurrect, and this would be near the top of the list since it didn’t have the opportunity to fully realize its potential and should have lasted much longer.

Series finale: B+
Series grade: A-
Season MVP: Olivia Munn as Sloan
Season grade: A-
Series MVP: Jeff Daniels as Will
Best Season: Season 1
Best Episode: “The Greater Fool”

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