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'The Newsroom': Final season begins

Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston in

Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston in "The Newsroom" season 3, episode 1. Credit: HBO / Melissa Moseley

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Because of the horribly botched Genoa "scoop" -- that the U.S. military had used sarin nerve gas during an operation to extract a Marine in a Pakistani village -- Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), his boss (and fiancée) MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) and ACN news chief Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) refuse to immediately break into a regularly scheduled show when news of the April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombing occurs. There are consequences to the delay. Meanwhile, Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn) and Neal Sampat (Dev Patel) get some spectacular scoops. But ...

MY SAY Aaron Sorkin's short reign of terror over actors forced to memorize spectacularly serpentine, even Byzantine blocks of dialogue is nearly over. "The Newsroom," simply put, ends after three seasons.

Few series have arrived in recent years with more anticipation -- and subsequently received more Bronx cheers -- than this one. The show never quite recovered from the chilly reception and so this -- the third season -- is the final one.

Too soon? Too soon: Amid all those speeches, there's beauty, passion, heart and brains in "The Newsroom." There's also humor, even more than ever in Sunday's opener. (Amazing, considering this episode is, in fact, about the Boston bombing.)

Naturally, "The Newsroom's" flaws remain extravagantly outsized. You do realize TV news doesn't quite work this way, right? Or that in most newsrooms, gorgeous paragons of towering probity -- who look just like Jeff Daniels -- don't typically offer booming perorations on the ethical obligations of the media during commercial breaks?

Of course, you knew all that. Nevertheless, the small, hardy band of "Newsroom" enthusiasts remain, and will return Sunday. Recognizing much that is laudatory (acting, directing), they also know that Sorkin, through proxy Will McAvoy, is essentially shouting out an important point: Television news deeply matters to the nation, and to you. Sorkin -- a Ben Hecht "Front Page" romantic to his core -- is a champion of journalism. He knows it's a higher calling that should be held to the highest standards (and far too infrequently is.) 

He's right. I miss this show already.

GRADE A-

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