(NOTE: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON AND PREVIOUS SEASONS OF THE NEWSROOM. IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED YET, DON’T READ THIS)
Last night was the series finale of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, the controversial and much talked about HBO program by the Oscar-winning writer. I’ve been watching The Newsroom since day one because I’m a massive Aaron Sorkin fan. I think The Social Network is the greatest screenplay that I’ve ever read, and it’s one of the greatest films, period. He’s also written some damn good television, like The West Wing and even Studio 60, which was pretty solid. The idea of an Aaron Sorkin television series on HBO seemed too good to be true. And to an extent, it was. The show did have its moments, like the brilliant casting of Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, as well as the supporting cast which included Sam Waterson, Olivia Munn in a breakthrough performance, and Jane Fonda as the head of the fictional television network. The Newsroom featured a lot of what makes Sorkin the highest paid writer in Hollywood, with his sweeping monologues on equality and fairness, as well as the banter and (yes) the walking and talking. But it also featured a lot of Sorkin’s weakest moments. The portrayal of women, boring and unnecessary love triangles and subplots, as well as very controversial and off-putting storylines, like the campus rape story in the second to last episode, which was very poorly handled in my opinion, especially after the fallout of a recent Rolling Stone article about campus rape.
But after watching (and admittedly hate-watching) The Newsroom for three seasons, the show came to an end last night. It was a pretty lame finale, come to think of it. The episode took place almost entirely at Charlie Skinner’s funeral, and as EW put it so spot on, the finale felt a little like a wrap party than an actual finale. There was no more story to tell, and there weren’t any missing links that many of us were clamoring over. This wasn’t a Breaking Bad or Sopranos situation. Luckily, unlike The Sopranos, you know what happened at the end of the episode (which after a year of thinking, the finale to The Sopranos is both brilliant and bad. I’ll explain in a possible future post). As I said, I want to make this as brief as I can, so I’ll begin to wrap by saying that at the beginning of the third season, I was starting to really love The Newsroom. It begun with a very nail-biting episode of the Boston Marathon bombing coverage, and everything was fast paced and the stupid subplots were tossed out. But as the season progressed in its short six episode span, everything started to go downhill a bit, especially with that college rape storyline.
To sum it up, I’m not sad or happy that The Newsroom is ending. It’s just kind of a thing that happened (easily the best sentence I’ve ever written in my time). I’m leaning a little on the happy because hopefully Sorkin can continue to write more Hollywood films (which he’s so good at) and quit doing the television he does. His television worked beautifully when The West Wing was on, but times have changed. Television is arguably better than most of the movies you see in the theaters. Shows like True Detective and The Sopranos play like movies instead of television. The West Wing was sort of the last great shows that had that old school feel to it. Television isn’t as sappy and nice as The West Wing was, and I hope that Sorkin has understood this by ending The Newsroom. It’s been a good run, and of course I’ll be first in line for whatever project Sorkin does next.