‘The Newsroom’: Takeover [Review]

The Newsroom TV HBO

The Newsroom

The Newsroom, the media-centric series that has its share of critics and fans alike, returned to HBO on Sunday, November 9 for its third and final season of six episodes, with a premiere episode entitled “Boston,” in which the real-life Boston Marathon bombing attacks served as the hour’s focal point. As an additional plot point, a corporate takeover is also afoot at Atlantis Cable News (ACN) Network, which is the fictitious parent company of the often tongue-in-cheek fictional news crew that is showcased in the series.

The Aaron Sorkin-created drama is often criticized and ridiculed for its heavy-handed messages. Particularly, those involving the perils of social-media-driven news reporting, in which the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings played a crucial role. Not only does the Season 3 premiere episode focus on the Boston Marathon bombing attacks, it also addressed the ascendancy of social media and the concept of so-called “citizen journalism,” which came to the forefront in a huge way during the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing attacks and the subsequent manhunt for the Tsarnaev Brothers, who were deemed responsible for the acts of terrorism. These themes will be explored in-depth throughout the series’ final six episodes. Moreover, The Newsroom will also address the concept of crowd-sourcing during its swan song, and explore whether or not it is considered a good idea for investigative journalism.

The Season 3 opener found all the major players still working at ACN, which could be considered a reach given that the show’s central storyline for the second season was focused around the Genoa tip, which turned out to be completely fabricated and stories reported in such a fashion in real life would have resulted in severe consequences (i.e. the Dan Rather debacle).

Other plot lines that were explored in The Newsroom premiere and will play out over the truncated final season involved the newly engaged couple, MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) and Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), planning their nuptials only to be interrupted by the breaking news out of “Boston.” Given the fallout from Genoa in Season 2, News Night and ACN are the last to join the bandwagon and jump on the story, which gave Will an opportunity to give one of his impassioned newsroom speeches that have become a trademark of Sorkin’s.

A pivot storyline that will encompass The Newsroom‘s swan song and could determine the fate of ACN and News Night is a corporate takeover attempt by the Lansing half-siblings, who are played by 2 Broke Girls‘ Kat Dennings and actor Chris Smith. The never-before-mentioned twins are unseen in the premiere episode. However, this turn of events and their presence will place the entire future of the company in jeopardy as The Newsroom has embarked upon its final season. Moreover, it will result in Leona (Jane Fonda) and Reese (Chris Messina) Lansing joining forces with Will and the News Night team in an effort to foil the takeover.

Other story arcs of interest that will play out as The Newsroom stages its swan song and challenges a hostile takeover include an espionage/whistleblower storyline for Neal Sampat, who is played by Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire fame, more focus on Alison Pill’s Maggie Jordan as an emerging journalist-producer, as well as exploration of the long-awaited romantic dynamic between Olivia Munn’s Sloan Sabbith, who is News Night‘s finance wiz, and producer, Don Keefer, who is portrayed by Thomas Sadowski. It also appears from the Season 3 premiere episode that the Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr.) and Maggie dynamic might be re-explored, especially in the wake of Jim’s girlfriend, Hallie Shea (Grace Gummer), being added to the ACN and News Night team. The Newsroom sets out to tie up loose ends and quell its detractors as the HBO drama returns for a truncated, six-episode third and final season on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET, only on HBO.

Opinion and Review by Leigh Haugh

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