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Old West Wing

As I watch the old episodes of West Wing as they play on Bravo, two thoughts strike me. One is that the show is dramatically much improved in recent years. Older episodes focused more on the personal lives of the staff members and not the interpersonal relationships of the staff members. Older episodes, partly due to this and partly due to other factors, are also slower paced. There aren't as many running jokes and there aren't as many parts that force viewers to rewind to catch everything. Perhaps the actors have advanced in skill, or perhaps Aaron Sorkin has, or both, but the quicker pace is quite a good deal more enjoyable. West Wing was never slow, but it used to be slower.

The second thought is how well the series ties together. In the end, this may very well be a massive, epic movie. Zoe was kidnapped at the end of last season, the "man who's not only President, but also a concerned father" has just stepped down as President (temporarily), and so on. President Bartlett told (I believe) Leo that years ago he'd given Zoe a speech about exactly what would happen, and that it'd scared her and she'd cried. That speech did indeed happen in the 1999 episode I just saw, and the foresight was either dumb luck, brilliant planning, or a good grasp back into the archives to pull something new out for a season-ending cliff-hanger. Whichever it was, it worked well, and I'm tempted to say that it may be the middle of those three as Zoe's kidnapping is not the only idea which has taken its time to come to fruition or be fully realized.

The old episodes are certainly interesting. And though I'm making my own DVDs so I can clear the episodes off of my TiVo (I'm drastically far behind, and my 100+ hour TiVo is filling up), I will order the West Wing DVDs the day they are available.

5 Responses to "Old West Wing"

  1. I didn't remember that 1st season episode at all so when I watched it the other day and he did that monologue, I was blown away. It kept on going and kept on including more and more foreshadowing, it was great. Now, I don't believe that Sorkin had this story arc planned all along. I've read that in response to falling ratings they were trying to make the show more exciting. I figure someone had the excellent idea of making that monologue come true. That Massive Attack song, "Angel" was used to such great effect in this season's finale. Actually, music has been a very effective part of the show all along. The other song that really got to me was Jeff Buckley's rendition of "Hallelujah". That was when C.J.'s Secret Service agent was killed.

    I really wonder what next season is going to be like, without Sorkin.

  2. I took a look at the music of Tori Amos after Sorkin used her version of I Don't Like Mondays (link to my previous entry discussing just that). I still get chills when I hear that song, and goosebumps. I put it on just now and I got them again.

  3. FYI, seasons 1 and 2 of the West Wing are available in the UK if you have a region-free DVD player (or patched firmware for your Mac's DVD). Available at or (or pretty much any other UK-based retailer) and most will ship to the U.S. for a nominal fee.

  4. Oh man Have I been looking for anyone who could send me a tape of this season's premiere.

    please reply

    I will cover all postage price of tape


  5. good show