Thursday, February 10, 2005

The West Wing

Well, at least it's a little better than last season.

The show has shown fleeting flashes of its former glory this season...but those moments are few and far between and the overall feeling is one of watching a dear old friend die a painful death of a thousand cuts.

Last season, showing creator/chief writer Aaron Sorkin the door led to an awkward transition period wherein the characters lost a lot of their focus (and most of their once-sparkling wit.) The transition continues this season with abrupt shakeups in the West Wing staff (I realize that it was not likely that White House senior staff would stay together as a group for as long these folks had but hey we're working in a world where an unabashedly liberal Democrat/egghead economist...with a life-threatening medical condition to boot...could be elected and re-elected President of the United States, a little suspension of disbelief is not unprecedented) and a lack of smooth continuity.

The show has no center week it's inside politics and medical melodrama in the White House, the next its on the road again with the men who would President and their trusty sidekicks (Josh, Donna, and Will having absented themselves from the White House to do the campaign thing)...and it seems unlikely to find its way anytime soon.

Jimmy Smits, Alan Alda, and, especially, Kristin Chinoweth are all interesting additions to the cast but it's probably too little too late to turn the fortunes of the show around (and in any case I'm personally not that interested in seeing a post-Bartlet West Wing...the show was about his Presidency and when that ends the show should end as well.)

As much as I've loved the show in the past...and even though that affection is still strong enough to keep me watching now...I have to say that it may be time to put it out of its misery (it's too late to let it go out gracefully...that ship has sailed.)


Brandon said...

I agree with you 100%. I still really enjoy watching it, it's one of the few network shows I still watch, but it is slipping slowly down what I like to call the ER slope.

ER was great but lost focus and had to use crappy tricks and bad commercials to drum up interest. For the last five years or more every commercial you see is "On a very special episode of ER" or "You would belive what happens on ER this week" and then it would never deliver.

The West Wing is slowly going that way, but my biggest problem is that Bartlett is so weak now. Just when we really needed a great liberal voice on TV showing us how it could be they take his character and disable him rendering him nearly helpless to fend off attacks and take the offensive like he used to. There have been some moments, but they have been few and far between.

Wow, didn't know I had so much to say about West Wing. Thanks for getting me going. By the way, I enjoy your blogs. Always glad to see them turn up on BE or whatever. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I've been watching The West Wing since day one. I have the first three seasons on DVD. And there's no way that the current season could ever be compared to the beginning.

There used to be a sense of drama and a sense of humour at the same time. There was snappy dialogue and a feeling that you really were peeking in through the windows of a government in action. After years of never missing an episode, I find myself changing the channel out of boredom. The scenes of Josh and Donna and Will on the road with the campaign are just plain boring, and the scenes of life trying to continue as usual in the White House just aren't the same without Josh and Donna and Will.

To boot, we have all of these potential candidates to assume the presidency, but (and maybe this is just me) there's no sense that any one of them is better than the other. They all seem the same to me. Which one are we supposed to be rooting for? Should we be rooting for any of them?

We all knew that it was going to have to end at some point, but I wish that the Bartlett administration was going to go out with a bang instead of a whimper. Maybe then it would be worth watching again.


Anonymous said...

If you want to watch a great show I highly recommend 24. Check it out every person I have had watch it is just as addicted as I am now!


: JustaDog said...

I agree. Use to watch it - haven't in over a year. They seemed to have changed writers after the first year 'cause they just went down after that.

saRah said...

i used to like this show last time. now i get my kick from reality shows. stupidity is fun~


Charone said...

Never really liked that show.

TaraMetBlog said...

I agree, I'm a fan of the show but was a little dissapointed last season. I've been watching the first 3 seasons on DVD though.

I'm surprised they havent brought back Matthew Perry's character, it's not like he's doing Friends anymore. I had liked him as the Republican lawyer in the episodes he appeared in.

Chris said...

The loss of Aaron Sorkin was devastating. He knew these characters and gave each a sense of purpose.

This season wasn't great, but it was a far cry better than last season. Bringing in Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda was (IMHO) a great move to add some uncertainty to what had become quite predictable.

NBC recently renewed WW for another season, but is only paying half what they paid in prior seasons. I wonder who will leave?

I do agree with Brandon about the ER-ization (ERosion?) of West Wing with John Wells alone at the helm. His experience as Exec Producer of the aforementioned medical drama is clearly leaking into this show.