this show is great, i am rewatching it on netflix, and it is amazing!1 one episode that goes above the rest is the stackhouse filibuster, what an unbelievable episode, touches the heart and is absolutely stupendous!!!
Excellence drama series 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was clearly the best drama television writing and performing since MASH finished on our televisions. It us a shame that political real-life doesn't compare to what we saw on our screens every week in this series. The final seasons with Jimmy Smits debating against Alan Alda are classic material. This show managed to combine great humour with impeccible moments of drama and gave us a real insight into how politics work and where our money really ends up. Whilst seemingly a vehicle for a Rob Lowe comeback to begin with this show turned into much, much more and should be remembered for years to come.
the series ended many years ago now, and yet i can still clearly recall the satisfaction i felt following nearly each episode. this show actually elevates its audience by challenging the viewer to keep up with the energy and pace of sophisticated, contemporary themes presented in a way that feels absolutely relevant.
the acting is consistently excellent; the actors investing their roles with vast comprehension and a sense of genuine purpose - as if they knew they were participating in something special. in an oddly simple way, the show just felt important, and thankfully, through repeats, it still does. nothing less than television in its finest form.
My favorite TV show of all time. The West Wing combines my love for politics and drama. It made me wish President Bartlet was MY president. The show is definitely liberal/left wing but I think anyone can enjoy this show. It gives you an inside look into the White House. I don't know how accurate it is but it sure is entertaining. Even if the show dramatizes the west wing, it addresses important events and issues. The show also made me sympathize with the current president. It shows the enormous amount of pressure, decisions, challenges and hatred one man has to deal with.
Even if you don't like politics, the drama alone can make you hooked.
The West Wing brilliantly portrays the events, people and issues occurring under the fictional Presidency of Jed Bartlett, a Democrat who holds a Nobel Prize for Economics and who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Anyone who has an interest in American politics will be fascinated and gripped by this powerful and remarkable series. The writers and the cast have done a superb job of creating and embodying a believable White House and a convincing Executive Government of the United States. Creator Aaron Sorkin has obviously done an immense amount of research into the actual operation of the White House, as seen by insiders themselves. He and his team are to be highly commended on a job very well done.
Well I would like to start by sharing abit about myself. I'm a 24 year old male living in little old New Zealand. I've never really been interested in politics, nevermind American politics. I've never really been into 'dialogue driven' shows. I tended to enjoy my television with violence and lots of expletives. That was all unto I discovered the greatness of the West Wing.
Now I was shopping for DVD's at my local when I saw The West Wing Season 1 on the shelf for a cheap price and decided to give it ago. Boy was I grateful I made that choice. I sat down and watched the first episode and took much enjoyment seeing President Bartlett make his first appearance telling Mary Marsh to get the hell out of his White House. From that moment I was hooked. I watched upto the assaisnation attempt in two sittings. I than went out the next day and brought the next 3 seasons.
I think you can see from that experience I had become a West Wing addict. Since then ive watched the whole 7 seasons twice and multiple episodes many times. And I also now take an invested interest in American Politics (obviously the real politicians are alot less interesting) and thoroughly enjoy 'dialogue driven' dramas. There have been many exceptional and memorable moments throughout the 7 seasons, from the assassination attempt on Charlie, to Zoe's kidnapping, to the death of Leo. These moments greatly changed the landscape of network television which many shows tried imitating but greatly failed. Being a character driven show, the characters need to be appealing, and this show has them in spades. CJ, Leo, Bartlett, Toby, Josh, Charlie, Donna and many others are characters you can really do care about, you feel sad for them on their bad days, and you feel happy for them on their good days. Theyre people you wish you had the privilage of knowing for real. And the guest stars across the board are also exceptional with great actors playing them, many you wish would come back as recurring characters. A stand out character and actor for me really was John Spencer and his character Leo. It was exceptionally sad hearing about the actors death and seeing the character Leo on screen passing away (in Election Day Part 2 and Requiem). But boy what a tribute the the show was to this wonderful actor.
So in the end, if you are on the fence about viewing the West Wing, take the leap and watch, you wont regret it one bit. And if you already own them, watch it again.
The West Wing brings everything to the table, wit, humor, intelligence and Democrats. this show is very intelligent and brought a very well thought out insight into the world of politics and the presidency. The nice little loophole that the writers threw in is the fact that they had the president positive for MS. Tragic as it may be it did drive the story real well. I know that people may not agree with me but i think that this is the best way a show could have ended with the Inauguration of President Santos (Smitts) perhaps one day we can have another show that is equal to or better than the West Wing.
The West Wing is a show about the staff and the day to day operations of The White House under the administration of President Josiah Bartlet. Over all the stories of the show and the cast that brought these roles to life in the show. The best seasons of The West Wing are Seasons 1-4 Win Creator Aaron Sorkin wrote mostly ever word himself. When he left the show was slightly changed but it did not hurt it at all as The West Wing was still great as ever. The only time the show toke a dive is season 6 as when the primaries really wasn't as interesting as the general election was to me.
i absolutely love this show and its a pity it had to end i mean hink about it West Wing without Leo McGarry not possible i cried so hard on the series finale but it was so sweet at the same time. I love the witty characterisation and the how this show relates to modern day problems which we and our governments face drama but relevant drama. i dont think there are any other political dramas out there to match this i know there waa commander in cheif and it tried but it just didnt quiet hit the mark compared to the West Wing :D
TV doesn't get better than this. Seven glorious years (with only one blip), huge cast, massive range of stories, and characters that stayed true until the end. Truly the rarest kind of show: an intelligent one.
I remember watching the first episode when it first aired in the UK ten years ago. I was hooked from scene one. This was an intelligent show that (almost) never compromised, and as such it's not for everyone. The West Wing never reached for the lowest common denominator of banal simplicity. With as many as four or five different threads within a single episode, often multiple 'A' stories, the sheer speed of the show is still mind-boggling. Speed in a TV show can be simulated by walking fast down corridors (a West Wing staple), but often this device is not accompanied by actual speed - speed of dialogue or idea (House, anyone?). The average West Wing script was literally twice the size of a regular 60 minute show.
But so far, we have a recipe for disaster. Big regular cast, large bank of recurring characters, intelligent, complex political plots, and dialogue speed roughly thrice that of normal conversation. Add to that Aaron Sorkin's favourite plot device, the 'quantum-leaping' stories where past, present and future events are played out with no explicit cues, and you add a level of complexity that is beyond many average viewers. How did it not bomb? Well, the actors were consistently of the highest calibre, with the most accomplished regular cast of perhaps any TV show ever; the plotting was tight and masterful; the direction was simply a joy to behold; and the writing was like music.
Yes, it's true. Actors and writer came together in a beautiful symphony of fiction that still amazes on DVD. The blazing speed of the show was belied by its fluidity. Everything flowed, and rolled, and unfolded so gracefully that a sharp viewer (the kind the creators were aiming at) could ride the story with ease - after some practice! And that's the incredible thing - effective watching of The West Wing required practice! Now that's a brave direction to go in, to rely on the patience and attention of the viewer.
Millions gave it willingly, to watch masters of their craft at work. Aaron Sorkin (writer) and Tommy Schlamme (director) created a magnificent thing. It was so improbable (Martin Sheen the president of the US?) but so completely and utterly engrossing. Razor sharp wit took its place alongside genuinely laugh-out-loud slapstick (what? slapstick? who knew Richard Schiff could do slapstick?!), high drama next to character study, through pain, joy, fear, tears and exhilaration.
For almost four years, every episode was solid gold. The show had a social conscience that was never trite or saccharine, and addressed countless issues with more honesty and good intent than anybody would ever ascribe to a real government. Episodes like 'What Kind Of Day Has It Been?', 'Noel', 'Two Cathedrals' and 'Bartlet For America' are the kinds of episodes that come along once every blue moon in most shows, with such raw power that they just blow you away every time. And Sorkin wrote episodes like that, consistently, for nearly four years. It's simply astonishing.
However, the wheels almost came off after Rob Lowe left, and for a year or so the show foundered. The writing visibly suffered after creator Aaron Sorkin left at the end of season four, and the show started to rely on melodrama to survive, where previously it had astounded by making the most trivial political routinery exciting and engaging. 'Terrorists kidnap First Daughter!' 'President shuts down federal government!' 'Car bomb in Gaza, head of the Joint Chiefs killed!' I feared the worst, but The West Wing at its lowest ebb was still head and shoulders above everything else, sitting pretty with The sopranos as the finest show of substance on telly.
Season six knocked it out of the park again, and the alternately cathartic and tense final season was a fitting end. Never afraid of pushing the envelope, or of making major changes in the character dynamic, West Wing deserves to be watched over and over for years to come.
This is one of the best shows on tv ever. I'm from The Netherlands myself, so I really didn't quite understand the political working of the United States. Thanks to this show I can finally understand some of the political system of the United States. And another great thing this show had going on are the brilliantly written dialogues. Supreme acting by the actors, I especially liked Martin Sheen. That man has an aura of president all over him. I truly enjoyed every single episode. Please oh please bring this show back on tv. I'm glad I still have the dvd's to watch and enyou. It never gets boring to start all over again.
If there is one show on television that will always stand the test of time, that show is The West Wing. I was first introduced to this show in the summer of 2001 when my friend said that I needed to watch it. I told her that I was not big into political dramas and probably would not be that interested. The episode that we first watched together, my first Wing episode ever, was "Someone's Going to Emergency, Someone's Going to Jail". I tell you, I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but I fell in love with the show immediately after it was over. It was then my personal goal to make sure that I saw every episode that I could before the new season started in the fall. Well, I tried to see as many as I could before the new season started, but I failed to catch the whole season during that summer. I was able to watch from the episode I first saw through the end of that season, "Two Cathedrals". I was hooked ever since then, not missing an episode, even when I was in the hospital on January 19, 2005 when the West Wing aired "2162 Votes" from Season 6, I made sure that when 9pm came around, my nurse had my tv tuned into NBC! When NBC announced that they would not be bringing The West Wing back for an 8th season, I was very disappointed. There was so much that could have been done with a new President and a new administration. At the same time, I agree with the writers, the show, the network to not renew the series because it could not have ended any better! When the Series Collection was released in November 2006, I saved my money and finally in June of 2007 became the proud owner of the West Wing complete series. I have recently started watching the series over and have fully completed seasons one and two and am falling in love all over again. I can't wait to watch every episode again and probably someday will watch the whole series all over again! There is not any show on television today that can ever match the intelligence and the wit and the overall greatness of the West Wing!
By watching the show again, some episodes after 10 years, I conclude in hindsight:
The show reached its peak with the final episode of season 2. They totally lost it when Rob Lowe left the show. Afterwards to many new character were introduced and those characters never really got a hold in the story line. For instance the Lowe replacement or the new security adviser. Terry O'Quinn as one of the generals is a good example as well. Usually it's a shark sign if O'Quinn joins a show. I guess it's safe to say at least season 5/6 where a total waste of time. Let's be candid, doesn't the oval office provide enough political stories or do we really have to watch shootings and kidnappings on the lead actors every season finale? However, series 7 provided somehow a comeback with focusing on the Santos campaign. But it never matched the first 2 seasons.
BTW, could somebody please enlighten me why Barlet in season 7 all of a sudden started to call everybody "kid"?
now have every season and is truly the greatest show to ever be on television. So many emmies. A great cast and the plot and episodes can be very unpredictabler. It may just be because i am into politics and government but even so this show needs to be seen by everyone. To feel like you are that deep into the life of the president and his close staff is so cool. I can't get enough of this show and i'm not the only person. To have stumbled across this show is one thing i am sure thankful of. Michael Humphrey =)
Ever wonder what happens in the White House on a daily basis. How does the president make his decisions? Why did we go to war? When will they cut taxes? The West Wing gives you some insight into the inner workings in the nation's capital.
I didn't think I would like this show and then I started watching it. The human aspect is shown throughout the show. Even if you don't agree with the political angles of the charecters, you learn to see they're side of the story. Martin Sheen is President Jeb Bartlett, a democrat from New England. He is my second favorite TV president behind President Palmer on 24. The other charecters range from the hard headed Toby, to the wise old Leo, to the young go getter Josh. The seventh season was the last season, though I would of liked to see the show continue with a new president.
Perhaps no show better embodies the importance of a stable creative hand at the helm than "The West Wing." The brainchild of Aaron Sorkin, "Wing" premiered in 1999 to critical and audience acclaim. It brought Sorkin's reckless idealism, rapid-fire, reference heavy dialogue and characters who aimed high and often fell short to a political setting, and in addition to tackling big issues also presented personal triumphs and tragedies for its characters. Boasting what may someday be regarded as the best ensemble cast in history, the show let these actors cut loose and sink their teeth into tremendous parts and scripts. I mean, honestly - before "Wing" who knew Rob Lowe was so good?
Then came the September 11 attacks, and (as cliche and ass-clownish as it is to say "9/11 changed everything") it certainly changed "The West Wing." The light-hearted element was gone. The show took a more dramatic stance and delved into multi-episode arcs about terrorist plots, overseas military engagements and wrestled with issues like torture, spying and pre-emptive military action. Essentially, it was still good, but it wasn't "The West Wing" of Seasons 1 and 2. Rob Lowe left, but Sorkin-alum Josh Malina took his place, adding a new voice and new dynamic. Things still hummed along.
Another blow (no pun intended, Mr. Sorkin) was dealt when, after Season 4, Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme left the series. Who cares why they did it, the result was that the show was suddenly without its voice and guiding hand. Season 5 was uneasy, as new writers tried first to duplicate the Sorkin style, but towards the end they began to come into their own.
Season 6 was the closest thing to the show's glory days we had seen in years. Instead of aping Sorkin, the writers were doing a quasi-Sorkin show, but without his tendency to preach too much and simplify issues. The producers also gave the show a shot in the arm by beginning to focus on the campaign to succeed Bartlet. Jimmy Smits, Ed O'Neill, Patricia Richardson, Stephen Root and the incomparable Alan Alda all came on the show in this re-election storyline while the old war horses of the White House continued their work.
Season 7 was the swan song, and a disappointing one at that. Not all of it could be helped. John Spencer, the brilliant actor behind Leo McGarry, died at mid-season and forced rewrites and changes to the story. But Season 7 was more reminiscent of the uneasy time of Season 5. Producers were unsure at first if they were wrapping up a series or laying the groundwork for a new run with a new president. They did recover at the end, however, offering a finale that was a very nice cap on seven years of great TV.
So, how do we rate "The West Wing?" Is it TV's greatest drama? No. It's not even Aaron Sorkin's best TV work (that honor belongs to "Sports Night.") However, it is a strong series that boasted strong writing for four seasons and an incredibly talented cast for all seven. It will surely rank as one of TV's best dramas and is without a doubt the career highlight for its cast.
WOW!! This show is amazing!!The writing and the metaphors are fantastic! I am totally in love with it. I just finished season 2 and I was so impress by the season finale, I mean the writers are magnificent they think of everything. The show is so smart and engaging. I really want to recommend to everyone. I have not been so impress form a show since "24"
You will fall in love with the president, CJ, Sam, Toby, and Leo and even Donna. You will feel like you practically know the character yourself because they are so human and interesting.
I got hooked on this show in 2002, which was around the 6th season. I immediately got the other seasons and found just how enjoyable this program was. I am a Paleoconservatist and while I didn't always agree with everything in the show it definitely showed an entertaining and surrealistic way the White House in run. I was sad to see Rob Lowe go in the middle of the show, he and all the actors I really grew to have an affinity with. Bartlet was a person I could get behind even if I didn't agree with everything he said. Sheen's portrayal of him was excellent and it was nice to see his spin on the character. The only thing I really had a problem with was the MS story line. I think this show was superb in dealing with situations that could arise but haven't yet. There was the President's daughter kidnapped and John Goodman stepped in for President for a short time, brilliant. The situations and questions I had of the inner workings of the White House came out in this show. I don't believe the real one is run like this, but it was nice to see a show have the same questions and tried to answer them.
What a great show. I'm always gld when something original comes to TV, but The West Wing was so much more. West Wing showed me what the President could be with an educated American elected to office. It renewed my faith in the branches of government and the people who work for the common good. West Wing was populated with hugely talented actors who were able to represent a care for the country. Great Talent.
The story lines are well crafted and individual plots in their own right, but at the same time tie the whole show together and help the characters progress in time naturally.
The West Wing is one of the absolute best dramas ever.
I did not start watching this show until it was in its third season. It was always on bravo so I started watching it from the beginning. I hate politics so I did not think I would make it through the pilot, man was I wrong!! The cast in my opinion was one of the best ever assembled for tv. I did not even like Rob Lowe before this show but I was sad when he left. I am still saddened by the passing of John Spencer and think with him, Jimmy Smits and Brad Whitford this show could have continued. The plots were great, don't get me wrong sometimes I had no idea what they were even talking about but I just could not get enough of it. I could go on and on about this show but I don't want to bore anyone. All I can say is that The West Wing was my favorite drama ever and I put off watching it for 3 years cuz I thought I would hate it. This is one show I do not think I will ever find a replacement for unless the cast wants to come back and win another election in three years with Dennis Hopper as president. Oh ya I was mad when they cancelled e-ring to.
The West Wing is a fabulous television show. With it's unique filmography and cutting dialog it stands alone when it comes to political dramas. Never shying away from policially incorrect topics, The West Wing remained excellent throughout it's entire run.
The show did hit a slight speed bump in season 5 when Sorkin left the show, but several episodes in when the show settled into its new routine and the viewers got accustomed to the slightly new style it got better.
Every major cast member turned in brilliant performance after brilliant performace, but my personal favorites were Rob Lowe (Sam), Bradley Whitford (Josh), and Martin Sheen (President Bartlet).
This timeless show deserved every accolade it recieved. It's based on a Democratic presidency and point of view, but even to the most stout Republican is an excellent watch.
Bear in mind that when writing this review I have only watched the 1st two seasons so I am basing this on what i have watched so far. Being English and previously knowing little of American politics this show has opened my eyes and also taught me a great deal. Filibusters, bipartisanship and pocket veto being just a few terms that if asked about a few months ago would've resulted in a blank stare from me!
The show is also one of the funniest that I've watched before - a lot of the jokes are fairly subtle but this just makes them even better. The acting is also great and although it is only the end of the second season for me I feel like I know the characters and are connected to them in some way.
This is definatley a show that everyone should watch, and if your not already then you are really missing out on somethiong special.