March 25, 2006

The West Wing S5

I finished The West Wing S5 a little while ago and I have some thoughts. As per usual I'm tired and anxious about something so don't expect any kind of logical thought process here, bullet points are the order of the day:

The West Wing S5


  • Wow, I'm kinda unsure what to write actually. A collection of interesting stories about life in the White House was what S5 turned out to be in my opinion. There were no great story-arcs for the season (non that continued anyway) which made the whole thing seemed self-contained.

  • Yes the President still had MS but that didn't really rear its head. However, I've been reliably informed that it does make a reappearance in S6.

  • Josh and Donna DO love each other and both are realising it now. Both Amy (who I REALLY miss from the show) and CJ have pointed Donna's affections out to her and Josh, well, he flew from Washington D.C. to Germany to be by Donna's bedside so we all know what he's thinking. Now if all other complications could be quickly swept out of the way please, thank you!

  • I was disheartened at the start of the season. For a start it didn't LOOK like The West Wing. Everything was so dark. Indeed, I was watching one of the early S5 eps (I think it was episode 5) in the living room at one point and I had to stop, take the DVD into my bedroom and watch it there as my bedroom had less light at the time. I don't know what the lighting directors were on when they planned and helped film this but The White House has paid its electricity bill, it's allowable to have some light in the show. Thankfully they fixed this by the middle of the season, or I adjusted to it, either way it stopped bugging me after a while.

  • Also at the start I hated what they did to Josh's character; they came 1 centimeter away from destroying him. I mean, having Leo say that no-one wants him around the White House? That's not the same Leo who told the hole story, that's a really OOC Leo in my opinion. I honestly think Leo should've said "You've made a mistake, these are the consequences, live with it." But to kill his self-confidence completely like that? I don't think Leo would've done that, it seemed really 'off' to me.

  • On a similar note though, to have Josh drop so much that when he bounced back in "Shutdown" it seemed that bit more spectacular and enjoyable. I really enjoyed Shutdown, some great characterisation, Josh doing what he's good at, Abby kicking Jed into touch and the President sticking up for his beliefs and convictions. As it was written in S1 "Let Bartlett Be Bartlett".

  • As I've written earlier in my LJ I think the Zoey storyline was over way too quick. For such a dramatic and powerful event to have happened to the US President only for him to resume power in under three days just doesn't sit right with me. If the storyline had extended for another few episodes we could've had a different view of TWW under a new President. In the booklet that comes with the DVDs for those episodes it says "...the staff awkwardly serves the temporary President..." I don't think that happened at all. All I saw when watching 5x01 and 5x02 was the staff wandering around talking to one another and Toby/Will writing two speeches. They didn't spend any time at all in meetings with President Walken and I think that would've made good TV. But what do I know? :P

  • It's also struck me that, despite Toby falling in love with his kids at the end of S4, he's hardly seen them or mentioned them in S5 and then his ex-wife complained that he hardly asked to see them. This could've been the opportunity to rejuvinate Toby's character, to give him some inspiration, a zest for life, and push him forward. Instead, he ends up locked up with Will and having Will point out to him how he doesn't seem to have any fight left in him any more.

  • Not enough Amy Gardner or Zoey Barlett. Enough said? :P



So what did I think? Overall I enjoyed the season. It was still The West Wing and I don't think that it's failings can be solely left at the feet of John Wells. He's just one man and a big team works together to create a show of this size and scope. I'm sure other things will come to me as time goes on.