The West Wing

I’ve just finished watching Season 4 of The West Wing on DVD. Blockbuster now rent tv boxsets for a fiver a week so I can splurge on stuff I don’t have the patience to watch over 6 months. That’s 92 episodes. Yowsa.
I only ever watched this sporadically when it was on C4 mainly because of their ridiculous scheduling (which they seem committed to carrying on with The Sopranos). I do remember liking it a lot back then. But nothing prepared me for the way it constantly refers to itself over time. Some of the metaplot is built in over multiple seasons, but backwards. Episodes put the final scene in before the opening credits and then spend the show revealing the lead up. Maybe this is all ‘whatever’ these days but I’m sure this still stands up as a brave structure. Then there’s ther dialogue, so rich and dense. Many times I’ve had to rewind to listen to a passage of conversation again just to catch everything. Its not natural exactly, but you can’t see the joins between the lines.
Top that off with incredibly sympathetic characters and its a winner.
Then they did the last two shows in Season 4 and they beat every previous show by injecting the whole thing with “24” levels of nail biting drama and a cliff hanger that leaves me itching to get stuck into Season 5.
God save the president!

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