Some would argue that Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom has never been a top-notch show, especially not compared to its predecessor, The West Wing. Although he strikes an ideal balance between rehashing past news stories – like the 2012 presidential election last season – and fleshing out character-to-character relationships, critics say that even after two ten-episode seasons, Sorkin is still missing the mark. He’s got one more chance to wow the HBO audience with Season 3, which premiered on Sunday night. Although die-hard fans like myself protest, the network has announced that Season 3 will be the final season of the hour-long show, and that there will only be six episodes.
Those six episodes have the potential to satisfy fans, prove critics wrong and leave everyone wanting more. That’s a lot of pressure on approximately 5 ½ hours of TV. The first episode of Season 3 didn’t disappoint – the witty humor, quick decisions and close-ups of Sloan and Mackenzie thinking intelligent things were just as engaging as ever. But what else is new?
The News: The news story that lasted throughout the show was ACN’s coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which was an ambitious place to start. I thought the writers handled the story well – Will and his news team didn’t make any dramatic mistakes, but they also didn’t cover the story perfectly. They weren’t the first to announce what happened, for one thing. Watching Elliot and Maggie jet off to Boston to cover the story on the ground was admittedly pretty cool. And what about Neal’s mysteriously acquiring classified government documents from an anonymous provider? Obviously, there’s a future ACN story there. But also a lawsuit. The combination is likely to make for a good season but maybe a not-so-good ending for Neal. But probably pretty good because things tend to turn out okay for these guys.
The Romance: Will and Mac are just as adorable engaged as they were when they were pretending not to be friends. Their candlelit Chinese dinner might have been my favorite moment of the episode. I won’t be disappointed if the season ends with their wedding, featuring Mackenzie in a classy dress tailed by her nine bridesmaids. As for Don and Sloan, they’re clearly together but not necessarily putting a label on it – except for the tag on Sloan’s morning-after dress. What’s great is that none of these characters are sacrificing their witty banter for sweet talk just because they’re part of a couple now.
And, ahem, Maggie certainly got Jim’s attention by nailing her first on-camera news segment – while wearing Mackenzie’s Louboutins, no less. Something tells me Hallie might not be sticking around much longer. When did she start working at ACN, anyway?
The Impending Downfall of ACN, Will, Charlie and Everyone Else: Seriously, we just got past Operation Genoa and now the network’s facing threatening numbers, felony charges and a potential hostile takeover? We’re thirty minutes into Season 3 and Will’s already announced, “I think it’s time for me to quit.” Just hang on, Will – there are only five more episodes. What’s the worst that can happen?