The West Wing

US

Drama
English     8.282     1999     US

Overview

The West Wing provides a glimpse into presidential politics in the nation's capital as it tells the stories of the members of a fictional presidential administration. These interesting characters have humor and dedication that touches the heart while the politics that they discuss touch on everyday life.

Reviews

tmdb40011370 wrote:
Without a shadow of a doubt, THE finest political TV drama ever to come out of a studio! Despite its rather liberal happy-clappy perspective with most of its secondary storylines, TWW is exceptionally well-written and very rarely fails to deliver some rather thought-provoking episodes. I have had many boxset marathons with this show over the years, and I must admit my adulation for certain seasons has changed somewhat in that time. Back then I adored the first 4 seasons, while dismissing season 5 outright, and only having a grudging respect for seasons 6 & 7. But these days I much prefer 6&7 over 1, 3 and 4. No idea why but there you go! As for the acting, well other than Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe and John Spencer the first few seasons were a cast of relative unknowns, but come the middle of S1 it doesn't matter because the likes of Alison Janey's CJ, Bradley Whitford's wonderful Josh Lyman and Richard Schiff's brooding Toby Ziegler play their roles exceptionally well. Of course the greatest aspect of this show is the writing, especially for the first four seasons when Aaron Sorkin was directly involved. And even after he left under a cloud the writing for season 5 and beyond was still very good, if a little uneven. It has been awhile since I last picked up on this show. So come the winter months I might just snuggle down and enjoy the walk & talk with these guys once again.
Peter McGinn wrote:
If every program on TV was this good I'd never leave the house. I have to agree with the reviewers who call this the best drama show ever, at least for entertainment value. Of course, it gets panned often for political reasons by people who perhaps don't watch it enough to see that, yes, it is a liberal administration being represented here, but they often make mistakes and fail in their efforts, so it is hardly a progressive utopia. I write novels in my spare tome, and I like to think my dialogue is a strong point, so I have nothing but admiration for the fast and witty conversations in this show. You may literally have to watch the series a second time to catch everything thrown at you in their quick back and forth banter, often delivered as they pace around the West Wing set. But that is no hardship either. Much has been made about Aaron Sorkin's departure from the show, and perhaps there was a slight drop in quality because of it, but it was still well worth watching. It was so good, the new kids couldn't break it.
CinemaSerf wrote:
The first edition, indeed season, of this political drama is as good as it gets. Aaron Sorkin has created a monster - in just about every sense - and the cast led by Martin Sheen ("President Bartlet") consistently deliver well as the senior advisors in his administration - alongside some sadly infrequent appearances from his no-nonsense wife (Stockard Channing) - guide us through the daily trials and tribulations accompanying American government. For the most part, the pace is hectic, controlled (sometimes) by the calming, sagacious influence of his Chief of Staff "Leo" (John Spencer) and deals with just about every sort of scenario - domestic, foreign, familial and collegiate that comes across the paths of the Director of Communications (Richard Schiff), his deputy (Rob Lowe), the Press Secretary (Allison Janney) as well as "Josh Lyman" (Bradley Whitford) - the passionate but occasional liability that is the deputy Chief of Staff. Sorkin and the cast manage, effortlessly, to create a series of scenarios that reminded me of both "Yes, Minister" and the original (British) "House of Cards" - comedy and humour expertly mixed with politicking on a grand, yet personal, scale. Nothing is off limits insofar as the subjects covered and it presents as authentic a depiction of government as we are ever likely to see. Personally, I though Stockard Channing added loads to this as the First Lady and Janney and Spencer's characters gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, someone in there knew what the hell was going on. Of course it takes an hugely American perspective on things, which as a non-American grated a bit on occasion with an intermingling of fact and fiction that sometimes compromised the integrity of the stories; but in the main it is one hell of a watch. Unfortunately, around about the start of series four, the writing starts to slide and the cast - fresh and vibrant at the beginning of the run - begin to take too great a role behind the camera; the plots become too personal (even romantic) and far-fetched. The original stars feature a bit less and it loses much of it's potency and it's plausibility. Certainly, the last two series which focus on presidential succession and sidelined many of the cast we had followed since day one left me cold and disinterested. By the conclusion I felt there had been maybe two series too many... At it's best, it is great, thought-provoking, entertainment though and well worth binging on.
Horseface wrote:
Pepa the Pig for Adult Liberals. Or maybe, "Mickey Mouse Takes Office." I can't decide. Perhaps I'm hyper sensitive, having been what equates to an American liberal for most of my life (I'm Danish, and here being liberal puts you on the right, but I've been a lefty for more than forty years), but trying to watch this show instantly fatigues me. Not because of the acting, which is above average, the dialog, which is well-written if overly verbose, not even the stories, which seem implausible but entertaining, and this IS fiction, so you need to allow for unrealistic and entertaining things happening 24/7. Otherwise it'd get boring. No, what drains my energy is the way it treats me as a mental toddler. It's the way the resentment for people with opposing views (conservatives, religious people, etc.) is matched only by the self-righteousness and the conviction of having the moral high ground and superior intelligence. The ease with which people are divided into moral and immoral boxes based on their religious views, political affiliation, or even demography. And isn't it nice, because we all agree that religious zealots are terrible, right? That conservatives are immoral, right? That Texans are stupid, right? Lucky we have our club, where we're educated, virtuous and bearers of The Right Morals™. Episode one present a religiously based conflict that is so overly constructed that it borders on pathetic (hence my Pepa the Pig reference). The conflict is resolved not through discussion or discourse, but by president Mickey Mouse turning up and revealing how the religious group is in cahoots with people sending his twelve-year-old daughter a death threat in the form of basically a voodoo doll. How convenient. Such lazy writing. I wonder how a diplomatic person with some deep rhetorical skills might have solved that conflict in lieu of one side basically declaring moral bankruptcy. I don't know, maybe some kind of political figure, like a head of state or something. Guess that's for another show. This show has trumpets blaring instead, while the camera pans across our great imaginary president Highground. Just for the record, even though my father was a priest and I was raised Christian, today I think religion is garbage and I've been an atheist for about 25 years. But that's my opinion and it says nothing about my moral values, and what anyone else believes doesn't either. I just don't appreciate this lazy and presumptuous "religious conservative therefore bad, amirite?" fallacy. I quit at the beginning of episode two, when President Mouse basically says they didn't lose Texas in the primaries because of a joke about cowboy hats, but because Texans are stupid, or "when the president learned Latin," as it puts it. One has to wonder if the writers just don't care about alienating an entire state of potential viewers, or if they think Texans are so stupid they didn't catch that insult. Either way, the club that you're supposed to be in to be able to watch something like this and think it's okay to disrespect your opponent's intelligence and points of view in this manner is not one I want to be a member of. Not anymore. I'm done with this restrictive and divisive club of supposedly morally superior intelligencia, with the undercurrent of resentment and obnoxious entitlement. I'm sick and tired of having echo chamber "discussions" where you constantly fear stepping out of line lest you be called a bigot, or a racist, or a misogynist, or a Nazi, or whatever is the most efficient card you can use to shut down even the slightest sign of dissent from the implicit party line. And yes, as I said, I'm probably hyper sensitive because this to me is such a large problem right now, but that's why I can't watch this. I'm surprised a show from 1999 is this blatantly and unapologetically biased, but maybe that's because I've been liberal myself all that time and it just seemed okay. I mean, the religious and conservatives ARE wrong, and mostly idiots, right? To my religious and conservative friends who watch this and get rightfully offended, from a former liberal who thought this was okay, even truth, and behalf of my other liberal friends who still think like this but aren't bad people, I apologize. And think of it like this: With shows like these being made, and much worse media content being released currently, some people, like me, get increasingly turned off by the divisiveness and implicit brainwashing, to the point where they simply stop being liberals. I don't know what I'm gonna vote next time, but it won't be left. If I were American, I wouldn't vote Democrat. But then, there'd have to be a candidate other than Trump, because I don't think that guy has America's interests at heart, only his own.

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