There are some television viewers who prefer intelligent presentations instead of the idiocy of ‘reality shows.’ Aaron Sorkin is the creator and writer of the ‘Newsroom,’ a thought provoking and fact based-series. This is its third and final season. Its short duration reflects the fact that it’s not about vampires or degenerates; it is about actual events which occurred in our nation and around the world; and includes the surrounding nuances. Many of the shows negative criticism was written by those who just don’t get it.
Sorkin created ‘The West Wing,’ and ‘Sports Night’ previously. His talent as a wordsmith is legendary among television viewers who appreciate television and movie writers of the past who depended upon well-written dialogue instead of computer graphics and special effects to sell their wares. He creates characters that are believable, credible, intelligent, and vulnerable.
The first show of the final season began with the Boston Marathon bombings. It began as a retrospective of the events of the three horrific days. It morphed into the importance of accurate reporting by the media which is often non-existent. Contrary to some critics, I find Sorkin’s depiction of women and men both revealing and humane.
The second episode was involved with two issues facing the fourth estate daily. One addressed a situation faced by an ‘Edward Snowden’ type of character. He received 27,000 pages of CIA documents which were classified. Part of the text contained information that the CIA had spread false rumors in a foreign nation, resulting in an uprising and the deaths of 38 people. A large part of the show centered around discussions whether or not to divulge the information to the public, aware that the reporter could be charged with espionage and obstruction of justice for not revealing his source. It ended with the FBI removing all hard drives from the newsroom, and the reporter on the run.
Ethics became the subject of the second story. While on a train one of the network’s producers overheard a high level employee of the EPA openly speaking about material which was not intended to be public information. Although the producer was within her legal rights to broadcast the information, she had lowered herself into a seat where she couldn’t be seen. She confronted the EPA employee and eventually agreed that she violated ethics when she acted in a clandestine manor.
There was a third situation concerning a possible hostile takeover of the network’s parent company.
When critics don’t like a television show or movie, I often rush to view it. Their personal opinions are no more valid than mine. The storyline of any creative endeavor must be accepted for what it is; fiction, or fact-based fiction. If the end project captures the viewer’s imagination, and if the characters are developed in a manner which incites emotion towards them, it’s worth watching.
Most television shows, whether they are dramas, situation comedies, or reality shows fail because of poor writing. The success of Modern Family and the Newsroom are directly proportionate to the skills of the writers. It is difficult to maintain creativity over a period of years; Aaron Sorkin is masterful, whether it be the fast-paced and humorous Sports Night, or dramas such as the West Wing and the Newsroom.
Actors are at their best when the writing is believable and imaginative. The Newsroom will be missed by those of us who enjoy shows which contain the whole package.
By James Turnage