The Newsroom: Election Night, Part I, Review

HBO renewed The Newsroom for a third season. After another dud, will there be anyone left to watch it?

Sorkin Watch:

Rather unceremoniously, HBO announced that the dream is still alive. In my mind, HBO’s decision to renew the show for a third season has to mirror what happened two weeks ago when we last tuned into The Newsroom. Someone up top, high in the Manhattan sky at HBO’s midtown headquarters, loves the idea of The Newsroom. So much so that this person will forgo any mistakes the show made because they believe Sorkin and the crew will eventually get it right. Like Leona refusing to accept Mac, Charlie and Will’s resignation, HBO’s execs feel they’ve come too far to not give The Newsroom one more shot at tackling some of the more difficult news stories in the last year, namely the Benghazi attacks, the tragedies in Boston and Newtown and the recent developments in Syria.

On the Frontlines:

After a brief Labor Day hiatus, The Newsroom returned for its two-part finale, a look at election night 2012 and it had all the makings of an exciting episode. If you’re still watching The Newsroom, chances are you’re either heavily invested in media, politics or you just can’t stop a series once you start it. Only this spiraling show could turn election night during a presidential campaign, one of the more exciting nights on American calendars, into a self-loathing debacle.

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Remnants of the post-Genoa fallout still linger in the air as Charlie becomes the first person I’ve seen, in television or in real-life, to throw a hissy fit about wanting to lose a job he worked his entire life to get. The Newsroom goes to extremes in season two as Jerry Dantana committed a journalistic sin that is certainly fathomable, but hopefully rare in cable news television. To think that Charlie resigning is going to magically wipe away the venom toward the network is ludicrous. Yet Sorkin has him pushing hard throughout the episode, leaving one of the few likable characters in the show to momentarily sour on me.

The flaws in the episode aren’t as noticeable as is the empty feeling that The Newsroom missed yet another opportunity to prove its worth. It’s becoming painfully obvious that it’s been a lost season for the tragically misused Alison Pill, save her solid but brief stint in Africa. The show’s romantic storylines in season one and early in season two made it watchable and those have all but fallen by the wayside. Instead we get too much journalism and no one wants to see that much journalism, even journalists. Toward the end of the episode, Mac and Will make last ditch effort to fire some life into election night. But even their back-and-forth on their rocky relationship from six years ago isn’t enough to re-spark my interest in a storyline we’ve been teased about for 18 long episodes.


Does there really need to be an “Election Night Part II?” I guess we’ll have to see how Mac inevitably gets her job back. Soon it will be time for Sorkin to fire his writing staff and start over in season three. But it’s not all that bad. When there’s more Jim Harper to look forward to I guess we all win, right?

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2 out of 5