The Newsroom Watch: Season 2 Finale, Election Night, Part 2

Somewhere between the end we wanted and the end we deserved lies this episode. Aaron Sorkin has raised our hopes with sterling writing this season, only to occasionally dash those same hopes as he reverts to type with formulaic and sometimes silly/lazy writing. We got a little of both last night, wrapped up in a curious set of plots without loose ends, as if Sorkin himself doesn't want a third season, despite all the tweeting and unofficial announcing his cast has been doing about just that happening as a done deal.

The Newsroom Watch: Season 2, Episode 8: Election Night, Part 1

Aaron Sorkin's world is all about conversation and the sparkling nature of words above plot. This can lead to some truly awesome moments, but it can also be frustrating when we've seen him meld plotting with his gifts (as in the past few weeks). Sometimes, it all just falls apart, and the very pretty words and strings of thought are just placeholders that get us from scene to scene.

The Newsroom Watch: Season 2, Episode 7: Red Team III

Here is where it all hits the fan, folks. The weeks of teasing flashbacks and flashforwards give way to exactly what went wrong with the Genoa story: Jerry does indeed get fired for his editing of footage and then sues ACN with a claim of wrongful termination. And then, we find out, almost comically, what terrible journalists the ACN team is, one by one. It's really sad, and scary, and almost makes it impossible to respect these folks. But somehow, we're still supposed to see them as the good guys.

The Newsroom Watch: Season 2, Episode 6: One Step Too Many

There were a number of places we could've gone after the soaring highs of last week's episode, which was a real-time searing journey into the darker parts of this show that was both unapologetic and perhaps the series' finest hour. Where we've ended up, it seems, is back on the death-march to the Genoa explosion and perhaps business-as-usual for the writing of The Newsroom.

The Newsroom Watch: Season 2, Episode 5: News Night with Will McAvoy

Every one of Sorkin's previous shows have attempted a near-real-time, in-depth look at a featured character. Sometimes it works (The West Wing) and sometimes it really falls flat (the Matthew Perry drug awareness episode of Studio 60. Last night it was The Newsroom's turn, and for the most part, it succeeded admirably.

The Newsroom Watch: Season 2, Episode 4: Unintended Consequences

Well I was a little more invested in this episode, even though we sort of knew what was going to happen, right from the get-go. Which is sort of the problem with this season's big narrative device--we know where we end up, in the big picture, so where's the suspense?

The Newsroom Watch: Season 2, Episode 3: Willie Pete

Well, we're about 1.5 out of 3, friends. This week's episode wasn't quite the sexist, self-indulgent mess of last week's spectacular misfire, but it still has a ways to go to avoid its status as a collection of Sorkin's bad habits.

The Newsroom Watch: Season 2, Episode 2: The Genoa Tip

Well, we learn a lot more about "Genoa," a black op that was supposed to be a clean extraction mission but ended up in a sarin gas attack on civilians in Pakistan. Mac shows some serious steel in pursuing the lead--a soldier who was part of the op--instead of the flighty and occasionally daft characteristics that became her benchmark last season. I find it interesting that the one fictional news story this show has created is suddenly its most interesting part

The Newsroom Watch: Season 2 Premiere: First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers

My fellow journalists often have a bone to pick with this show; sometimes, I do, too. The Newsroom is an idealistic fantasy, set three clicks to the left of the world in which we live; I'm pretty sure The West Wing would get some of the same criticism levied its way, as well, were it airing in first run today instead of over a decade ago.

Community Watch: Season 4, Episode 6: Advanced Documentary Filmmaking

I have to admit it—and I’m guilty of this, too: it’s become sort of en vogue to hate on the fourth season of Community. But we also have to admit that doing so is sort of, well, lazy; we all know Dan Harmon has left the building, and some of these episodes have been less than brilliant, often missing that madcap spark of creativity we’ve come to respect and love.

The Americans Watch: Episode 7, Duty and Honor

I think one of the big allowances we all need to make for The Americans is that the justifications for some of the missions are always going to be paper-thin, but that’s not really why any of us tune in; those are subplots (if that, even), and we keep coming back because we’re fascinated by this marriage and the bigger ideas of secrets, lies, and double lies. With that in mind…

The Americans Watch: Episode 6, Trust Me

Six episodes in, and things have gotten complex and deep. This is the episode where things got kicked up a notch, centered around our two big relationships--the Jennings, and then Stan and Nina--with an interesting little side story about Henry and Paige.

The Americans Watch: Episode 5, Comint

I like how quickly this show seems to be building out its mythology and expanding themes. Also, I really dig the Santa Claus with the Stalin head in the opening credits. On the other hand, I’m a little worried about how often people get stuck in trunks and the frequency with which the women in this show resort to sex as a primary means of getting what they want. I’m also noticing a pattern that big plotlines tend to not carry over from episode to episode—I’d really like this to change, as well.

Community Season 4 Watch: Episode 3, Conventions Of Space And Time

I've been sad, friends. Because, while Community has been back for a few weeks now, it's been, well, sort of dissonant. Almost un...Harmonious. That's a terrible pun. Anyway, I've been missing creator Dan Harmon's influence like a missing limb; everything looks right, and sort of behaves right, but something's been off.

The Americans Watch: Episode 4, In Control

Two weeks ago, I would've said that The Americans was good tv, but was missing a little something. Mark my words: by the end of this season, this show will be right up there with Sons of Anarchy as talked-about, appointment television, and it's because of installments like the one we were given last night. "In Control" is an example of super-engaging and challenging television; like Mad Men, it forces the viewer to pay attention and plug in, and gives a rewarding experience if those two criteria are met.

Smash Season 2 Watch: Episode 3, The Dramaturg

I’ve been a Smash apologist, always telling myself and my friends that it might just reach the heights of that fantastic pilot. But after outings like last night’s “The Dramaturg” and the almost-laughably-bad ratings of the premiere, I’m sad to say that I’m not sure we’re ever going to see “Bombshell” as the titular Broadway smash. This season is so far making up for last season’s mistakes in small ways, but it’s missing the vital components that make it a story worth watching.

The Americans Watch: Episode 3, Gregory

FX seems to be trying to corner the market in a certain type of show; it’s like they’re going for a weird sort of gritty that doesn’t quite have the clout or the seriousness of something you’d find on HBO or AMC. It’s a good thing that I dig it, then; The Americans is growing on me, week by week. With “Gregory,” we start to see where this show might be headed. It crystalizes some of the problems of the last two weeks—namely, the fact that the Jennings were juuuuuuust on the border of being considered unlikable at best and sociopathic villains at worst...

The Americans Watch: Episode 2 - The Clock

The big flaw thus far with The Americans is that we still don't have enough background on Philip and Elizabeth; when we watch them do things that are fairly terrible, it's hard, at this point, to be sympathetic. All it does is distance us from them, which isn't a great place to be at two episodes into the series.

Smash Season 2 Premiere Watch: On Broadway And The Fallout

Well, we're back. And after a Season 1 that began with a lush and beloved pilot and descended into the most glorious of hate-watchable TV, Smash is rejiggered, with a new showrunner in Josh Safran and a cast that is streamlined and re-molded to focus on what we're supposed to love most: the high-stakes Broadway drama. So, did last night's first two hours of Season 2 deliver?

The Americans Watch: Series Premiere

Let's lay it out there quick--The Americans is not a Mad Men-style period piece, all slow burn and tense looks amidst a house-of-cards false identity plot and precise attention to detail. It's also not Homeland, which is full of intelligence/counterintelligence maneuvering wrapped around a subtle romance. This new spy drama has drawn comparisons to both those programs, and it's like comparing apples to kumquats; The Americans, in its premiere this week, has all the subtlety of a brick to the face...

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