Show Reviews (154)
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With Peggy Noonan, speech writer for President Reagan, among the staff writers of the first three seasons, Aaron Sorkin's "The West Wing" brought an unmatched political realism to viewers. After season 4, John Wells took over with a new writers.
As a teacher, I love this show. It's intelligent and it gives viewers something worthwhile to think about when they think about elected officials, news media and history. When I say worthwhile I mean this is the stuff of education and healthy citizenship. We've got to know how to participate and how to discern what is meaningful from what is merely persuasive. I also love that this show instills value in the rule of law. The story lines of this show do not feature arrogant Vice Presidents who persuade attorney(s) to do their bidding in a secret effort to increase the power of the Presidency beyond the limits imposed on by our Constitution. The ending of the 3rd season was, I think, the beginning of the end for this series. In that episode, a Secret Service agent got shot. Ratings went up. Beginning with the fourth season, ratings began slipping. At end of season 4, Aaron Sorkin and the staff writers were replaced with John Wells and a new staff of writers. I'd like to see a production feature this type of dramatization for "turning points" in U.S. history such as FDR's New Deal, the Lincoln Presidency, John Marshall and the growth of the Supreme Court, etc.moreless
About this program.
it had great written episodes in seasons 1-4, Main Title Theme Music in season one, casting in season 1-2, great acting for Allison Janney in seasons 1-3 & 5, Stockard Channing in season 3, Richard Schiff in season one, Bradley Whitford in season 2, John Spencer in season 3 and Alan Alda in season 7.
Good but has it's faults
I've just watched series one and I'm a few episodes in to season two. It's a well written, well acted show. But it's very idealistic. President Bartlett is whiter than white, to the point that he starts to annoy you. The writers have written the perfect president, he always does the right thing. I'm sure the reality is a lot different. That's fine as long as you take the program for what it is, a well written idealistic work of fantasy.moreless
Very good political drama series
This is a hard series to review. It is exceptionally well-written with good, interesting characters put in an extraordinary position: working at the White House. While naturally US-centered and portraying mostly the view of the democratic party, the series focuses a lot of energy on more general problems: doing what is right, the reality of compromise, how unbelievably complex and limiting both national and international politics can be. And it does it very well.
It is a pure political and drama series though. If that's what you want then you should definitely watch it, but don't expect a comedy or much action. There are many amusing moments, but the focus of the series is unequivocally intellectual and ethical. Sometimes you want that, but if you don't you should look elsewhere.
I must also say I was impressed by the number of actors/actresses I recognized from everywhere or nowhere. Either The West Wing launched an unbelievable number of careers or they are simply great at picking great actors from other shows. I'm guessing the truth is a mixture of the two.moreless
Why can\'t all political sides be shown and represented in tv?
When you watch this show is like watching CBS, ABC and NBC it has a very straight democratic political agenda and I will say that it shows normal regular people as dopes that don\'t know nothing but the very IVY league pompous know it all as the ones that have got to take care of us poor sobs. Man, I hate this show purely for the simple reason that it doesn\'t show all kinds of view points just one.
The best that television has ever been, or probably ever will be...
I never saw The West Wing when it aired. Being eight years old when it began I imagine I would have dismissed it as the most boring thing I had ever seen. Growing up somewhat and now being able to comprehend the complexity of dialogue and the weight of the situations that are portrayed, I came across The West Wing due to nothing more than the internet. Positive review after positive review lead me to buy it on DVD and at this point I've now watched the show in it's entirety 4 times as well as having watched episodes that sprung to my mind. Aaron Sorkin really created something special with this show. From the outset of the first season you find yourself invested in the characters and the story lines alike. The pace and wit of the dialogue is what I now know is to be expected of everything that Sorkin writes. I can appreciate that there will definitely be people out there that don't like this show and never will. I think it takes a specific type of person, or mindset to really engage in this show, but once you do, you really can't regret it. There are very rarely any episodes that don't keep you entertained or at very least invested in the political situation being dealt with. The season one finale along with the season two opening even delivers quite compelling action to a show essentially about words. The show continues on form throughout Aaron Sorkin's run as the head writer, with the post 9/11 reflection on terrorism and the season four finale being personal favourites of mine. Even after the departure of Rob Lowe's Sam Seaborn and Mr. Sorkin himself, I believe that the show remains at the same level as it was before. I've seen some people disagree and say that the charm had fallen after season four, but in my opinion that isn't the case. Some of the best episodes of the shows entire run come during the campaigns of Vinick and Santos. Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford are my personal favourites of the shows ensemble, but there is not a single actor in the cast that isn't worthy of every second of the screen time they get. Even Matthew Perry's short lived turn as a lawyer delivers an impressive performance. The death of John Spencer was eerily forecast in the sixth season and it really is a shame that he didn't get to finish this journey with the rest of this amazing cast.
Overall this show is 99% perfect and really is the best thing I've ever seen. Save for the episode about C.J's dad, everything is compelling viewing and I'd recommend it to anyone.moreless
My favorite parts of the series was the very good acting and the characters. I found most of the show quite interesting and also entertaining. It was nice to see a different side of politics and to see the contrasts between real-life politics and show politics. I do have to say I didn't care much for some of the storylines and plots. They really got unrealistic in the last two seasons. Who is going to buy Texas being a blue state and California being red? Overall, this was still a decent show and also has some really good actors and actresses. Thank you.moreless
When I first started watching the West Wing I did it by borrowing tapes from a friend I work with. I was immediately impressed by the show but also saddened by the fact that it was canceled. It is truly the first show that I have ever watched that was both informative and entertaining. It shows the president and his posse as flawed yet productive humans. I had never been interested in politics and voted for the first time in this election of 2008. Partly due to this show and the fictional President Bartlet. He gave me hope that maybe not all politicians are liars and thieves. Then when I saw a video for Barack Obama I thought I was seeing Jed Bartlet in real life. This show also doesn't make you feel stupid but it makes you learn and pay attention at the same time. Hopefully that comment makes sense. It, unlike most shows, has a so many good qualities it hard to summarize them. But overall it is simply an amazing show, spectacular writing, amazing cast and great entertainment.moreless
One of the best shows ever for the main reason of being able to present complicated albeit boring subject matter in a fresh way.
One of the best shows ever for the main reason of being able to present complicated albeit boring subject matter in a fresh way. Despite the liberal leanings of the writers, they brought in conservative consultants and certainly presented both parties in a fair light. The comedy was also excellent using the setting to create believable situations even given the gravity of where all the staff worked. Following Season 5 where they struggled a bit, Season 6 rebounded, though the transition from the old administration to the new one was handled somewhat awkwardly. This show honestly could have continued, there was a lot of ground to cover, though sadly like another classic, Homicide: Life on the Street, the show only managed to last 7 years. The irony is it basically lasted the Bush years, and now with a Democrat being back in the White House, the show is gone. A weird situation to say the least. The lists of parallels between the series and reality continues to grow as it was uncanny how the 2008 Presidential race mirrored The West Wing's. Classic.moreless