Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Newsroom Ends High, while True Blood can't get Death Right

Tonight two HBO shows ended their seasons.  True Blood is now in its fifth season, and The Newsroom has ended its first.  Both shows have had critics all over the place in regards to their quality, but tonight is proof that superior writing wins, and story direction win out.

Few shows have made it to their fifth season without some bumps in quality, True Blood started out strong with their first two seasons highlighting some great character driven drama.  The show centered around (and still does to some extent) on a waitress named Sookie Stackhouse who could hear people's thoughts and drew vampires like a moth to a flame.  Throughout the years the show used different plots from the books, The Sookie Stackhouse series, and brought in different elements like the lore of more shape shifters, werewolves, werepanthers, faeries, and so much more.  Season 3 threw a wrench in quality adding too much to the thread of the show, proving to be too much for the writers to handle and connect back to the central theme of the show.  Season four did a better job of tying things back together, with the lore of witches, and continuing the up and down pattern within the series.  Yet the series hit the biggest low during this season.

Season five was one of the biggest messes I have ever seen.  There was no direction, and can someone please explain the point of them using the smoke monster from Lost to chase down Terry?  Sookie is still the central character , right?  Why did we focus on this mythical steam vampire named Worlo only to forget about him in the end?  Why bring back Dennis O'Hare only to give him nothing great to work with, and spoiler, kill him in the first five minutes of the season finale.  Bill as a villain had its moments, and the connection to evangelical religion was so heavy handed I can't imagine how people can complain about the politics of The Newsroom.  Fans of this show are losing interest, and HBO has to quit while its ahead, become more assertive and realize this is a dying brand that can't cling to the pretty pink heals of Pam.  This show over extends itself, losing focus, never allowing characters to grow.  Usually when a show I enjoy ends I am sad, or even excited to see how writers will handle the cliff hanger they their at their viewers.  At this point I could care less, and feel as though Alan Ball stepping down as show runner should have been a sign to put a stake in things.

The Newsroom signed off with class, tied things together, and brought things back to beginning without   being cliche.  People gave this show too much crap in the beginning, calling Sorkin misogynistic, and that the writing was heavy handed liberalism veiled with a Republican journalist.  The romantic comedy stuff has never been the shows strong suit, and while the show focused on this a lot, to tie things up tonight, things are not over of course, but with the new writing team Sorkin can make this work.  I am sounding like I am not on the show's side, but in reality this series ended its first seasons perfectly.  I liked the fact that Will and the girl he berated in the first episode cam face to face; his character and Sorkin's writing proved that belief in what's right matter most.  I believe in this show, Sorkin has a focus, a point; he ties things together allowing audiences to see his vision.

These two shows could not be more different, or well they are night and day, or a show about people who can't walk in the daylight.  How do you compare them?  All you can do is compare your experience/reaction to the way the show's handled themselves throughout the season.  Throughout the years True Blood appears to have built up a show on shaky foundation, that is crumbling for me.  When I keep up with a show I have hard time letting go, I will have a Sophie's Choice next June when the sixth season starts up.  I want to give up, and walk away, when a show make's you feel that way, its proof they have failed.  The Newsroom only left me wanting more,   Shows in their first season typically leave people with this reaction, but I feel as though this series knows what it's about more than True Blood ever did.  Time to silver the vampires, and fire up more air time for Jeff Daniels.

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