TV Review: The West Wing
There cannot be a better time than this to get hold of the entire DVD set of The West Wing and watch it right from season one. At a time when the US seems to be bereft of leaders and ideas, with Republicans touting foolish ideas such as hundred dollar cash back to ease gasoline pains at the pump and the Democrats getting shrill about big oil and nobody seems to know if anyone is in control of things or if the buck stops anywhere at all, The West Wing offers a view of the Presidency where the policy and political operatives sound knowledgeable and the President is curious and understands the complexity of the issues facing him.
Even if, like me, you have been following the series on NBC, it is an entirely different experience to watch it on DVD. You will spend only about 42 minutes per episode, your continuity is not broken by commercials and you can watch multiple episodes over a Saturday afternoon or Friday night.
West Wing, which is loosely based on the Clinton years minus the sordid Lewinsky affair, was initially conceptualized as a day in the life of the West Wing operatives. This is borne by the pilot episode where Martin Sheen makes his entry only towards the end as the President of the United States. But urban legend has it that the portrayal of an intellectual President by Sheen was so powerful that the creator, Aaron Sorkin (who dated Maureen Dowd of the NYT for sometime) decided to have more of the screenplay revolve around him.
West Wing is an excellent demonstration of a TV series that manages to be riveting, fast paced and intellectually stimulating all at the same time. A TV drama that manages to educate you about various facets of the US constitution and yet manages to win three Emmys in a row is not a common occurrence on your typical network prime-time slot. If the current administration is an example of a Presidency with misplaced priorities, then the Bartlet administration of the West Wing is an excellent example of a Presidency that could be and The West Wing, the series is an excellent example of a network drama done perfectly. As the series draws towards its end during the next few weeks on NBC, I will take comfort in the fact that I can pop in the DVD anytime and relive those amazing memories.
So long the wonderful people behind this series and thank you for all the fish.
TV Review: The West Wing
- » Published on April 28, 2006
- » Type: Review
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