Aaron Sorkin's American political drama The West Wing is more than mere feel-good viewing for sentimental US patriots. It is among the best-written, sharpest, funniest and most moving American TV series of all time. In its first series, The West Wing established the cast of characters comprising the White House staff. There's Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer), a recovering alcoholic whose efforts to be the cornerstone of the administration contribute to the break-up of his marriage. CJ (Alison Janney) is the formidable Press Spokeswoman embroiled in a tentative... on-off relationship with Timothy (Thirtysomething) Busfield's reporter. Brilliant but grumpy communications deputy Toby Ziegler, Rob Lowe's brilliant but faintly nerdy Sam Seaborn and brilliant but smart-alecky Josh Lyman make up the rest of the inner circle. Initially, the series' creators had intended to keep the President off-screen. Wisely, however, they went with Martin Sheen's Jed Bartlet, whose eccentric volatility, caution, humour and strength in a crisis make for such an impressively plausible fictional President that polls once expressed a preference for Bartlet over the genuine incumbent. The issues broached in the first series have striking, often prescient contemporary relevance. We see the President having to be talked down from a "disproportionate response" when terrorists shoot down a plane carrying his personal doctor, or acting as broker in a dangerous stand-off between India and Pakistan. Gun control laws, gays in the military and fundamentalist pressure groups are all addressed--the latter in a most satisfying manner ("Get your fat asses out of the White House!")--while the episode "Take This Sabbath Day" is a superb dramatic meditation on capital punishment. Handled incorrectly, The West Wing could have been turgid, didactic propaganda for The American Way. However, the writers are careful to show that, decent as this administration is, its achievements, though hard-won, are minimal. Moreover, the brisk, staccato-like, almost musical exchanges of dialogue, between Josh and his PA Donna, for instance, as they pace purposefully up and down the corridors are the show's abiding joy. This is wonderful and addictive viewing. --David Stubbs [show more]
The West Wing.
A unique and wonderfully scripted program, conjuring a vast array of emotions, leaving you gagging for more.
This, the opening season of the show, sets it off to a fantastic start and throughout the series you'll find yourself moved with the twists and turns it takes. As the characters develop you find yourself living the lives of White House staffers and sharing their unique, encapturing lifestyles.
A number of people will dismiss The West Wing, claiming to not be "political" however I've found that no matter what your political stance you'll be able to take something out of the show and be engrossed in the sheer volume of its drama.
There is no doubt that Aaron Sorkin has done a fantastic job which is accompanied by some of the best acting on modern television. The West Wing can get no less than a "4" rating and should be enjoyed by all.
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The complete first series of the acclaimed political TV drama. In the pilot episode the President (Martin Sheen) faces embarrassment when he rides a bicycle into a tree and Sam (Rob Lowe) sleeps with a prostitute. In 'Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc' the President and Vice President have a disagreement. 'A Proportional Response' has President Bartlett consider his response to a terrorist attack in the Middle East which claimed the life of his doctor. 'Five Votes Down' finds staff members struggling to get a gun control bill passed by Congress. 'The Crackpots and These Women' sees the staff deal with a number of bizarre special interest groups. 'Mr Willis of Ohio' has Bartlett's daughter get into trouble while drinking in a bar. 'The State Dinner' finds Bartlett trying to keep pace with various crisis situations while also preparing for a state dinner honoring the Indonesian president. 'Enemies' has C.J. suspect Danny of romancing her in order to get a big story. 'The Short List' sees Bartlett struggling to nominate a new Supreme Court justice. 'In Excelsis Deo' finds Bartlett sneaking out to do his Christmas shopping. 'Lord John Marbury' has Bartlett consult with a British peer when India and Pakistan go to war. In 'He Shall, from Time to Time' Leo confesses about his alcoholic past and Marbury helps India and Pakistan come to an agreement. 'Take Out the Trash Day' sees the staff wrangling over a new sex education report and a hate crimes bill. 'Take This Sabbath Day' has Bartlett wondering whether to intervene in the execution of a convicted murderer. 'Celestial Navigation' finds Josh covering for C.J. when she has to have some emergency dental work. '20 Hours in LA' sees the staff visiting the West Coast in order to attend a fundraiser. 'The White House Pro-Am' has the First Lady kick up some controversy when she discusses child labour in the media. 'Six Meetings Before Lunch' finds Josh trying to intervene when Breckenridge's talk of slavery reparations begins causing problems with Congress. In 'Let Bartlett be Bartlett' a memo detailing Bartlett's weaknesses becomes a potential embarrassment. 'Mandatory Minimums' sees the staff drawing up a new drugs policy. 'Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics' has Sam's earlier encounter with a prostitute come back to haunt him. Finally, in 'What Kind of Day Has It Been?', the staff are confronted with the shooting-down of a US pilot in Iraq, technical faults on a space shuttle mission, and an assassination attempt.
Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. 6-disc set containing all the episodes from Series 1: Pilot Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc A Proportional Response Five Votes Down The Crackpots and These Women Mr. Willis of Ohio The State Dinner Enemies The Short List In Excelsis Deo Lord John Marbury He Shall, from Time to Time Take Out the Trash Day Take This Sabbath Day Celestial Navigation 20 Hours in L.A. The White House Pro-Am Six Meetings Before Lunch Let Bartlet Be Bartlet Mandatory Minimums Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics What Kind of Day Has It Been? First season hours for The West Wing include the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in television, plus an unprecedented 9 Emmy Awards that established this powerful drama as the all time leader in single season Emmy wins for a debut series