Here’s Why I Stopped Watching ‘The Newsroom’

The opening scene of the first episode of HBO’s “The Newsroom” was one of my favorite TV moments of 2012, and I subsequently enjoyed the rest of the show’s freshman season. It wasn’t always perfect, but when in stride, it delivered punches—both comedic and earnest—with force.

Then Season Two arrived, and let’s just say there’s a reason why Season Three is the show’s final season.

The second season of “The Newsroom,” which is now on Blu-ray and DVD, is vastly inferior to the first. While the debut season properly balanced character development with the news stories the characters sought to tell, Season Two veers away from this formula by drilling into the characters.

Unfortunately, the characters—or at least their interactions with one another—have always been the weakest aspect of the show. Aaron Sorkin is a terrific writer, but the fast-paced banter jammed into “The Newsroom” often veers into cringe territory—and his attempts to development meaningful romantic relationships between the characters are even worse.

Season Two is filled with conflicted characters, new relationships and a story that hangs heavily on actress Alison Pill, who plays one of my least favorite “Newsroom” staffers. But worse, the show drops its episodic emphasis on key news stories—like the Deep Horizon platform oil spill, The Fukushima disaster, Osama bin Laden’s death and more—in favor of a largely fictionalized serialized story called “Genoa” (based loosely on real events that occurred in 1998). There’s some stuff about the 2012 Presidential Election, but the Genoa storyline is the core focus of the season.

And it just isn’t very effective.

“The Newsroom” isn’t the first show to lose its edge so quickly—“Pushing Daisies” did the same just a few years ago—but Season Two is an amazing fall from grace. It was bad enough to convince me not to bother with the third and final season, now playing on HBO.

By Erik Samdahl
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