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.
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