Wednesday, December 15, 2004


The spiral in quality did not escape the fans. Last season, loyal viewers of NBC’s West Wing watched as the show’s usual sophistication and wit took a nose dive with the departure of the show’s uber-creator and inspired genius, Aaron Sorkin. Producer John Wells did his best to shore up the imaginative hemorrhage, but he simply could not duplicate the multiple Emmy-winning drama’s riveting power and urbane intelligence. Reduced to shock tactics and sensational story-lines, West Wing’s decline looked to be both prolonged and inevitable.

That was Season Five.

This season (I shudder at my own blasphemy in saying it), it’s as if Sorkin never left. Sure, the vast majority of the witty repartee is missing and kinetic energy of the dialogue is now only sporadic, but West Wing has done something I did not think possible—it has rediscovered its soul. And what a great, broad, and deep soul it is.

West Wing has not simply been good this season, it has been great. It is once again television at its most inspired. It’s early storylines about the urgent and imperative need to embolden the Middle East in the peace process was not only superb drama, it was a sensible, credible, and even inspired road map of its own, pointing our planet’s real leaders in a direction that was both lucid and executable.

The human drama has not been overlooked for the global picture. Donna’s fight for her life inspired emotions and devotion in Josh that viewers knew was there all along, even if he did not. Leo’s massive heart attack was handled brilliantly, as was his protracted and laborious return. And now, in the twilight of his presidency, Josiah Bartlett faces his most difficult test of all—the crippling prospect of a colossal deterioration in health due to an attack of Multiple Scleroses.

With its usual luminous cast, engrossing storylines and wonderful guest stars in place (Jimmy Smits, Alan Alda), West Wing is once again on top. Don’t you dare miss it.

We miss you Aaron, but honestly haven’t thought much about you lately…


Post a Comment

<< Home

Ut In Omnibus Glorificetur Deus