I’ve not watched a great deal of new stuff over the last month or so. I made the mistake of sticking disc one of my ‘The West Wing’ Season One box set and now, approximately 6 weeks later, I’ve not looked back. I’ve been nailing anywhere between two to four episodes a night and am now swift approaching the conclusion of season seven and the end of the series.
All other TV has been utterly ignored as a consequence. My Sky+ is full to the brim of shows currently being aired that are going neglected in favour of West Wing episodes. I find it utterly addictive; more so than anything being produced on telly at the moment.
In my opinion; ‘The West Wing’ absolutely has to be the greatest TV show ever created. I’ve often been asked by friends, family and acquaintances what my favorite show of all time is (I’m well known as a TV buff in my circles) and, when I reply ‘The West Wing’, they are surprised – expecting me to respond with something like 24, Buffy, Sopranos, or (from the hugely misguided and confused) Lost.
In the UK; the setting of American politics was a bit of a turn off for the mainstream. Nobody I knew was watching and whenever I promoted people to give it a go they shied away and dismissed it out of hand because of the show’s reputation for serious political content – despite my fanatical overtures of its brilliance. The politics was too much to handle.
I would explain time & time again to people that they NEEDED to watch it and look past the politics – the real power of the show sat in the outstanding characters that were so expertly performed by one the most capable ensemble casts I’ve ever seen. The brilliant writing and direction didn’t hurt too. There are not many shows that have every aspect of its creation firing on all cylinders like ‘The West Wing’ has.
I utterly adore the show; it is witty, intelligent, dramatic and entertaining all at once. When all those components come together it is something rare indeed and ‘The West Wing’ really nailed it. When I start watching I cannot stop – I love watching the relationships develop and grow between the characters, I am engaged with how they change and grow as a result of the events we’ve seen unfold, and I am switched on by a show that doesn’t dumb itself down. It remains human throughout – it has such wonderfully warm character moments; humorous moments that are so typical of life, and falling outs, making ups & romances that are all too common in any close working environment. Yes, these characters experience more tense and difficult than I might in my job, but they remain people throughout and that is something special.
Even when the show lost some key personnel along the way, (such as the showrunners Sorkin & Schlamme, and popular cast members Rob Lowe and Emily Proctor), it remained exceptional television. On its worst day (Most would argue there is an ebb during Season Five) ‘The West Wing’ remained head and shoulders above the best day of some shows. (*cough*Lost*cough*)
It could make you laugh, cry, sit on the edge of your seat in suspense, and cheer out in joy. When I watch it I truly felt the emotional journey of the characters; characters I had become so invested in, it was almost unreal. Friends would wonder where this obsession would come from, as they failed to see where the attraction lay – and I would spend hours explaining about the action, drama, and suspense that surrounded the world of American politics and particularly around the iconic building at the centre of it.
Anybody dismissing this show I strongly urge to put aside their reservations and dive into the Season One DVD box set – you will not be disappointed. I’ve never had a set of DVDs I’ve watched so much – I’d love for you all to discover why.
- Better Late Than Never: The West Wing (satelliteshow.wordpress.com)
- Five Reasons You Should Absolutely be (Re)Watching The West Wing (thethingaboutflying.com)