Just a heads up that the third and final series of Aaron Sorkin's Newsroom has just started on Sky Atlantic.
Judging by the opener, the excellent standard of the first 2 Series is maintained: the three intriguing and absorbing story-lines woven together in the first episode are a masterclass in writing and structuring an entertaining drama driven by varied and interesting characters in an important context - News Broadcasting - of both topical and critical importance to 21st century politics.
The tension between rating and news values, though a more acute problem in the US, is also relevant to the UK context. And the profound challenge to accuracy, truth, validity and verification represented by the Social Media - especially Twitter and Facebook is effectively shown and the issues explored. The 'democratisation' of knowledge that Twitter, Facebook and Wikipedia to some extent demonstrate - where 'truth' is what most people say it is or want it to be - is as big a threat to our democratic way of life as any Mediaeval Jihadist Metaphysics.
The exploitation of the Social Media by ISIS and other authoritarian tyrannies for propaganda purposes reinforces the critical value of traditional journalistic values which is the underlying theme of Sorkin's superb series. When one sees and hears the unpalatable messages <em>The Newroom sends every week to the American public it is not surprising that the series has been attacked and criticised. calling the Tea Party the American Taliban and justifying the claim from the actual comments of its members probably makes too many enemies for even HBO to resist.
The Newsroom's demise is rich in irony: it will be killed by the very retreat from genuine values in popular TV that it demonstrates is true of the ratings dominated News 'reporting' system it seeks to subvert by telling the truth about it.
Important and funny; insightful and exciting; serious and playful - it is written by for my money the best TV dramatist writing today; backed up as with the West Wing by impeccable casting, award-winning performances and a character-led, articulate, thoughtful drama unmatched either side of the Atlantic.
With Series 1 and 2 available on TV Box sets On Demand - what are you waiting for? Yes it's idealistic - but believably and coherently so. It both shows how it is and persuades us that there is no unrelenting necessity in this: that we have a choice - but we have to see and understand the dangers first before we can act effectively to resist them.
Seriously do not miss.