Wednesday, December 08, 2004

west winging it

I have to confess this as a guilty pleasure, The West Wing. It's the perfect show for the political junkie who appreciates well-written dramatic performance. Trouble is, of course, that sans Sorkin the show has suffered. Last season out and out sucked. John Wells has done to TWW what he did to ER, which is to say he's made it an overwrought, melodramatic passion play every single week. Even some of the casting is spilling over, with Mary Macormack and Alan Alda (each did ER stints) on TWW now. What next, Anthony Edwards?

Gone is the Capra-esque quality of the first few seasons when Aaron Sorkin was writing everything. Every single episode had multiple story arcs that played off each other even if they weren't related. Not every episode was "a very special West Wing" {jebuschripes, an *asteroid* next week?!?}. Some were simple stories that did nothing more than present the White House as a place where hope triumped over despair, even when things were desparate. He wrote a White House and government that you wished existed, a pefect antidote to what we have in reality.

There have been good moments so far this season, but invariably Wells succumbs to the cheesy (they're ramping up the MS and again, an effing asteroid) instead of staying with the more deftly and deeply compelling (the interplay between the Dem and GOP challengers for president that gave tonight some promise). I like the show, but it's time they ended it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i've actually been fairly impressed with this season, after how much last season sucked. i think tehy have recaptured some of sorkin's witty dialogue and banter (along with some of sorkin's tendency to start big involved storylines that fizzle because he doesn't really think them through ahead of time...)

and as for the asteroid...well, it's hard to trust nbc's promotional department to do a good job, even when sorkin was still around.