Earlier this month, HBO finished airing the third and final season of The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant masterpiece of a show. The entirety of the show embodied the best of Sorkin’s iconic writing style, echoing previous outings such as and especially, The West Wing. The Newsroom is different, however, rooting itself in a sociopolitical message: nobody just does the news anymore.
At the beginning of the series, the characters embarked on a mission they deemed News Night 2.0. Essentially, they revamped Atlantis Cable Media’s flagship news program to be a true news broadcast, one that asked the questions that needed asking and did not strive for “good television.” Immediately, Sorkin used News Night as a platform to bash the Tea Party and incredulous politicians. His characters introduced new debate formats, demanded accountability for political rhetoric, all while striving for transparency and honesty. There is not a news channel or anchor quite like News Night or Will McAvoy, though there certainly should be.
At times, Sorkin’s characters on The Newsroom found themselves wandering into the realm of The West Wing’s moral purity. The characters of The West Wing felt inalienable and ethically sound; they embodied the ideal vision of an administration. Sometimes that felt superficial or naive, and his newest HBO outing finds itself in similar territory at times. With that said, Sorkin’s idealist mentality is refreshing amidst a scene dominated by corruption the likes of characters in House of Cards. Often a Newsroom speech feels eerily similar to a monologue from President Josiah Bartlet or Sam Seaborn, but in a world that could use many more Sam Seaborn-like individuals, it is a welcome revelation.
The artistic decision for The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant masterpiece, to utilize coverage of past events creates a Shakespearean-esque sense of dramatic irony in the series. Watching the newsroom unfold into chaos covering the Boston bombing feels surreal and unlike any other show on television. The drama is more real, the emotions too close to home, and the events as painful or alarming as the day they unfolded.
The Newsroom might very well stand as some of Sorkin’s most poignant writing. Will McAvoy will go down in television history with the same standing of Josiah Bartlet, with his quick-witted conversation style incredibly reminiscent of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. The playful banter of the cast members will certainly remind audiences of Sam and Toby or Donna and Josh. It seems like all of Sorkin’s works have an invisible wire that connects them all together, likely as a result of his recognizable dialogue heavy scripts.
The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant masterpiece of a show, may very well be the most exceptional HBO series of 2014, perhaps only dwarfed by the size of Game of Thrones‘ appeal. The difference, however, lies with Sorkin’s pen, as he masterfully crafts characters that pull at the audience’s heartstrings and minds, whereas Game of Thrones finds solace in their complete and utter destruction instead. When The Newsroom debuted, its first season was met with mixed response. Three years later, it has marked itself as a HBO drama worthy to stand in the ranks of its remarkable predecessors.
Review By Brett Stewart
Photo By David Sim – Flickr License