Archive | Newsroom, The RSS feed for this section

The Newsroom “Election Night, Part 2” Review (2×09)

17 Sep

627-1

This could very well be the last episode of The Newsroom. Speculation is running rampant about Aaron Sorkin’s desire to continue the show, and contrary to what Jeff Daniels believes, it’s possible that we won’t see a season 3. Now, as an episode of television, “Election Night, Part Two” is perfectly fine, but as a series, if not season, finale, I can’t help but feel disappointed.

What’s elevated this season above the last is the Genoa arc. I’ve praised it before and I’ll praise it again; throughout the season, it’s allowed for cracks in this perfect little world Sorkin’s created, paving the way for possible consequences for the news crew. However, this episode completely strips that all away, heaping all the blame on Dantana’s shoulders. Even though Jerry shoulders most of the blame, it just seems like a cop out to avoid the legal and moral consequences of their actions. Everyone is flawed. Everyone makes mistakes. The show just doesn’t seem to want to deal with the bigger flaws and the bigger mistakes. It’s telegraphed from a couple episodes beforehand that the Lansings were never going to accept the resignations, and that in itself absolves the situation of any tension whatsoever. That is a big mistake.

Speaking of a big mistake, we also have Jim going around inspiring all the women around him, coming across as more of a condescending a-hole than a caring friend. I hate his “authentic” speech to Lisa, and I hate that he’s the one that spurs Maggie on to talk about Africa. Maggie can make her own decisions, thank you very much.

It’s all tied up in a nice, neat bow, much like the Genoa arc. Sloan and Don kiss. Mac and Will get married. Everything’s great. In fact, I don’t really have much of a problem with that final sequence to close off the season. The moments are well handled, even the Will-Mac one, and the show’s earned sap. What I don’t like is how contrived everything feels. For example, Will and Mac have been on and off again, but it’s never amounted to more than a few arguments. Why are they getting married now? Oh yeah, it’s the finale.

Still, there are some aspects of the episode I do like. I’ve been surprised at how much Don and Sloan have grown on me; rescuing Don from that terrible love triangle with Maggie and Jim was the best thing anyone could ever do for his character. He’s become more fleshed out, and his relationship with Sloan feels genuine. They’re no Mac-Will, that’s for sure. So, I’m much more lenient about the whole book nonsense because Sloan’s actually a good character. Many time, she’s been the subject of the show’s derision toward women, but Olivia Munn has really grown into her role, injecting complexity, nuance, and humor into her performance.

newsroom-season-2-finale_article_story_main

We end season 2 uncertain about the show’s future, and if this is the end, I have no regrets about watching the show. Season 1 was a trainwreck, but season 2 has really made efforts to improve and expand this world. I appreciate the effort.

Grade: B-

Season Grade: B

Other thoughts:

-I like Will and Mac leaving their posts to let Elliott and Don, respectively, try out as the new team.

-Mac gets her Wikipedia page changed. Okay.

-The crew not pursuing the Petraeus story is a nice touch.

-Of course, we end with a montage, as expected.

-I’ve enjoyed covering the show. Hopefully I can do it again next year.

Credit to HBO and The Newsroom for all pictures. I own nothing.

The Newsroom “Election Night, Part 1” Review (2×08)

10 Sep

627-1

Part 1 of the two part season finale feels like exactly what it is: a setup for the fireworks next week. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does allow for some more of the frustrating aspects of the show to seep in. This review is going to be shorter than usual, as I need some sleep, so I’ve condensed everything down into a few bullet points.

-The reason given for Leona not accepting the team’s resignations-maintaining a sense of honor-feels kind of cheap, and I don’t buy it for her character in particular. In addition, why don’t the team members just accept the fact that she won’t allow them to resign, and focus their attention on rebuilding their reputations? Will doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that’s just going to back down and acquiesce to corporate politics.

-The episode is full of side stories, most of which aren’t very good. No, I’m not really interested in the Wikipedia screw up (Sorkin also pretty much got the whole concept wrong there, anyway), and no, I’m not interested in Will and Mac’s relationship. This was hashed over enough back in season 1, and there’s no use going back to it now. Please don’t have them get back together, Sorkin.

-I did kind of like Sloan’s side story, though, about the whole book autograph scare. It’s unnecessary, but Olivia Munn makes it fun to watch.

-I’ve mentioned that I love the Genoa arc, and I still do. It reflects the difficulties of a group of people working together to tell the news, and it seems genuine. That’s why I like the election coverage in this episode. Sure, it can get tiring after a while, but it seems grounded in a way the show usually isn’t.

-Oh, and Jerry Dantana is suing Don, and Maggie cut her hair very recently. Okay.

-Reese’s long explanation for why Leona won’t accept the resignations is priceless.

-I like the integration of the two Romney campaign women, as they’re much better suited to this role than a stupid romance arc on a bus.

-AARON SORKIN’S IDEALISTIC CORNER: So, Charlie gives a whole speech about how everyone looks up to America due to our elections. Okay, first of all, America is not this perfect country, and from my experience, many other countries are perfectly content to agree with that. America is generally seen as a snobby, rich country, and its elections are not viewed as inspiring. The concept behind our elections is fantastic, but the elections themselves are kind of terrible. Second of all, Charlie lists a bunch of countries with already functioning democracies, which doesn’t really support his argument. Those countries don’t necessarily look up to America; they look up to democracy. Charlie could’ve listed countries in which many people are envious of those with democratic governments. Those people are the ones that are inspired.

Grade: B

Credit to HBO and The Newsroom for all pictures. I own nothing.

The Newsroom “Red Team III” Review (2×07)

27 Aug

627-5

The Newsroom is a show that, in the first season, I simultaneously loved and hated. It was just so absurdly bad that I couldn’t help but feel entertained. However, I must admit, Red Team III is the first episode of the show I unequivocally love. Season 2 has rescued a sinking ship, and this episode is the best of the series.

Why is that? Well, first of all, there are actual stakes. There is actual tension. There is actual character development, and it doesn’t feel contrived. There are certainly plot contrivances, but I’ll get to that later. What this episode does so well is bring every character together as a team, which is something the show should’ve done right off the bat. Each character shares the guilt, the blame, and the repercussions from the Genoa mess, which, by the way, is the best storyline this show has produced. It’s a more unifying, serial storyline that allows for more investment in the show. Anyway, the actors do great work in this episode portraying a group of people steadily spiraling down as things keep piling up and piling up. The shouting match in the conference room is a thing of beauty.

The episode is structured around several deposition scenes, something Sorkin likes to incorporate into his writing. He’s always great at doing that, and this episode is no exception. These scenes are just as riveting as the main plot, and it’s a nice back and forth that he has going, both in terms of the dialogue in these scenes and the cuts between deposition-main plot.

Now, as for the plot contrivances, I was annoyed at the whole shot clock fiasco at first, but I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t take too much away from the plot. It just barely works, and it paves the way for a great scene in the elevator between Mac and Jerry. One scene I really don’t like, though, is that whole parking garage meeting. It feels shoehorned in in a way that scenes in previous, worse episodes have been guilty of. Finally, I also have a few problems with the final scene. The whole resignation non-acceptance stuff is a bit too easy, and while I did love the smash cut to black, it didn’t work for me as a whole.

Ultimately, though, this is a fantastic episode of The Newsroom, and I’m looking forward to the final two.

Grade: A-

Other thoughts:

-Jane Fonda is a delight. The whole Daniel Craig discussion was hilarious.

-Man, I hate Jerry Dantana. I know it’s kind of the point, but man, is he unlikeable or what?

-I get that the crew feels a bit shell shocked after the whole screw up, but the implication that they would have done Benghazi “right” if they weren’t focused on Genoa? Yeah, no.

-Once again, we have Sorkin and his “women in need of some (insert topic) advice” with Mac (insert “sports”). However, I felt that he handled her character better as the episode went on, and in this season in general. It wasn’t too much of a problem here.

Credit to HBO and The Newsroom for all pictures. I own nothing.

%d bloggers like this: