Tuesday, 7 January 2014


The West Wing is setting from the second to eighth year of a Presidency, and the people who live in the West Wing of the White House.

The following may contain very mild spoilers, although it tries to avoid doing so.  The "The Ending" section will mention if a show had a resolution or a cliffhanger (but no description of what happens).


1999 - 2006

Length:  154 hour long (42 minute) episodes, 7 seasons of 22 - 23 episodes each.
Ending:   Resolution, but leaves you yearning for more.
Think:  The America President as a drama series.
Creator:  Aaron Sorkin.
  • President Joshiah "Jeb" Bartlett - Martin Sheen.
  • C.J. Cregg - Alison Janney
  • Joshua Lyman - Bradley Whitford
  • John Spencer - Leo McGarry
  • Richard Schiff - Toby Ziegler
  • Janel Moloney - Donna Moss
  • DulĂ© Hill - Charlie Young

Season 1 (1999 - 2000)
A workplace drama set in the west wing of the White House.  The season starts several subplots and ends with a major cliffhanger.

Season 2 (2000 - 2001)
Continues in the same vein as season 1, with the subplots coming together.  One season 1 character is no longer in the show.

Season 3 (2001 - 2002)
Season 3 began soon after the events of September 11, 2001, and the first episode was a special dealing with the concepts of terrorism.  The episode does not necessarily fit the continuity of the series.
The season continues much as the previous season, but there is some focus on the upcoming Presidential election and the arcs become darker as the season comes to a close.

Season 4 (2002 - 2003)
The first third of the season continues the lead-up to the election and leads to a cast change.  The season ends with a massive cliffhanger.

Season 5 (2003 - 2004)
With Aaron Sorkin leaving as writer the show stumbled a little for roughly the first third of the season.  The show had a darker look and more steady cam footage as well as a couple of new cast members and interpersonal conflicts.  These changes were unpopular with fans but cleared up 

Season 6 (2004 - 2005)
Season six starts with a character leaving the west wing due to illness and having to be replaced by the promotion of another character and the addition to the main cast of a character introduced the end of the previous season.  This change is quickly followed by another character becoming more and more ineffective due to health issues.  Then by midway through the season three of the main cast have left the west wing to participate in the primaries, and the show basically alternates between campaign episodes and episodes set in the west wing, with the campaign episodes interesting and compelling but the west wing episodes left weakened and hollow.

Season 7 (2005 - 2006)
The series continues with even more character losses from the west wing episodes and the campaign coming to dominate the show.

The Run:
The show usually has a strong start and end to the season and treads water a little in the middle, especially before the season wind up.  Seasons 1 and 4 end on massive cliffhangers, the rest are more set up for the next season's starting arc.

The 42 minute episodes leave you wanting more so watching multiple episodes is likely to occur, the show alternates between arcs and stand alone episodes so marathon watching can be a good idea.

The West Wing is high quality, in writing, acting and directing, and won many, many awards during its run.

Set in the White House of a Democrat President, the show is left leaning, it does from time to time make other arguments but rarely, and mostly as token arguments, and while not all Republicans are bad and all not Democrats are good, the majority follow that pattern.  It is also idealistic, good intent usually beat bad intent.  However, it's television, not reality.

The Ending:
The series ends at a natural end point, but with the obvious potential to go on, leaving the fan both satisfied but left with the frustration of "what if.."

Watch if...
...You're a TV snob and a lefty who has an interest in politics.
~ DUG.

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