|The West Wing - The Complete Third Season
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Compelling and clever storylines focus on Bartlet's campaign and continue to reveal the inner workings of the White House in this innovative multiple Emmy Award-winning drama series from producers John Wells ("ER" "China Beach") Aaron Sorkin ("Sports Night") and Thomas Schlamme ("Sports Night"). The West Wing's third season had 5 Emmy wins including Best Drama Series and Outstanding Special Episode.Running Time: 968 min.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA UPC: 085393162221
There is no letdown in talent or skill for the third season of this blue ribbon drama. One could say these 22 episodes play as a continuation of the second season; there are no major new characters or earth-shattering plots and the Emmys rewarded the series with its third straight award for Best Drama (and unlike season 4, no one argued about the laurels). The third year starts with a stand-alone episode "Isaac & Ishmael", a special show created, shot, and broadcast 22 days after the 9/11 events. Although the final results tend to be sermonic, the fact the show was able to drop everything and commit to a new season opener is evident not only of talent, but of a disciplined work force operating at the top of their game.
President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) decision to run for reelection after the disclosure of suffering MS fuels the fire for the first half of the season. Depositions are filed against the staff, minor mistakes take on more significance, and the White House consul (Oliver Platt) has the run of the table warning of worst-case scenarios. The focus soon turns to the First Lady (Stockard Channing) as the potential "Lady Macbeth" of the scandal. Channing aces her role and turns her birthday celebration ("Dead Irish Writers") into one of the season's highlights. Assistant Donna (Janel Moloney), her boss Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), and press secretary C.J. (Alison Janney) all have charismatic romances, but the ace supporting player this year is John Spencer as the relentlessly loyal Chief of Staff Leo McGarry. Whether delivering the hard truth, accepting the proverbial bullet for the President, or being our guide to how Bartlet ran in the first place (in another wonderful flashback episode, "Bartlet for America"), all roads lead to McGarry. Acting Emmys went to Channing, Spencer, and Janney, but the strength of this show is that the entire cast has glorious moments (Toby's taking on the President's mode of operation, Sam's belief in government, or the President's peculiarities of Thanksgiving are just a few). Recurring guest stars--the likes of Ron Silver, Tim Matheson, Mary Louise Parker, and Mark Harmon--deliver some of their career-best work. Crack writing, a breathless pace, plus you learn a bit about government. What else do you want from a TV drama? --Doug Thomas
- An Ordinary Brit's View
'Evolution' is a process of change & West Wing has certainly changed during its 5 Seasons.
By Season 3 the characters are familiar & many issues expected to be featured in a drama like this have been explored.
But evolution also implies improvement & this is the debating point for fans of the show.
As the Seasons have progressed, some of the Bartlett Administration's idealism has given way to self-preservation & a certain cynicism has crept in - rather like a real political administration. Maybe the cynicism has rubbed off on the show's audience.
Most of us in the UK don't have the advantage (or impediment?) of seeing the drama in the context of the real-life political structure it portrays & are left to view it as just that - drama. Political idealism is almost anathema to us Brits so its fading in the West Wing makes the show more real.
Alternatively, whilst we were affected & appalled by 9/11, the effect on us could not have been as profound as on US viewers of the show whose course in Season 3 must have been severely jolted.
The consensus seems to be that West Wing went down hill somewhere between the start of Season 3 and 'Inauguration Day' in Season 4. And yet I still find good things in Season 5 - Josh's testing was well handled & his relationship with Donna was as nicely understated as ever. There's even a bit of humour creeping back in (the new VP & Pearce character) & CJ's periodic disillusionment is a well-played undercurrent.
I'm re-watching Season 3 (in tandem with Season 5) & enjoying it even more second time around.
Perhaps by the latter, the show isn't quite 'punching its weight by its own high standards, but stagnation, abolutely pathetic, outstayed its welcome - really?
The West Wing surprised me from the outset - I didn't think a drama of this quality could come out of the US & rival the best of British. But it has ... and more. It'll always be in my top ten TV serials. Even the much maligned Season 5 is amongst the best TV currently on view.
So, ladies and gentlemen, some perspective please....more info
- Super satisfied
This product arrived in a timely fashion in precisely the condition as described. I am very happy with the transaction....more info
- There's no question--this is a 5-star series
I understand everyone is heartbroken over Sorkin leaving the show. I might say to those oh so "loyal" fans--get a hold of yourself. This Season 3 is not the beginning of the end, and neither is Season 4. Season 5 tapers off, but still--if you were line up the DVD's of dramas over the last 20 years, this Season would still easily be in the top 10 of any given season of any drama.
Compared to everything else on television, the Season is amazing. Sorkin moves beyond the self-contained walls of his fantasy world and into a world a bit more gritty. We see this movement long before Season 3--it shows its face from time to time in the first season, but really comes to a head during the last few episodes of Season 2. With an unlimited budget, Sorkin wants to explore new things, which takes them beyond the walls of the one building. And everyone needs to realize--by the time he starts writing Season 3, he has already written or helped to write 44 hours with the same core of characters. Its just like in real life--after a while, you just get more personal. The issues are still there, as is the drama and acting. Bartlett for America is every bit, if not more moving, than Let Bartlet be Bartlet from Season 2, and the idealism reigns supreme in all the character's at-heart intentions.
Bottom line--I would give 5 stars to this Season in a heartbeat. Superb acting and directing from an intelligent, if not sometimes over-pressured writer. Helps create an amazing collection of episodes.
GO BUY IT ALREADY...more info
- TWW hasn't jumped the shark yet, but it's not what it was.
THE WEST WING didn't "jump the shark" and become crappy until John Goodman became President at the end of Season Four, but with the start of Season Three, TWW has reached the point where it is no longer great. (For its first two seasons it was the best show on television.) But it is still very good!
In the aftermath of 9-11, real life events overtook and overshadowed even the fictional world of Pres Bartlet's White House. Aaron Sorkin addresses the 9-11 attacks with a special episode that, for all its flaws, highlighted the immediacy with which TWW could comment on a pressing issue.
But when the series returned to its continuing story of the POTUS's health crisis and the ensuing investigation, TWW felt disconnected. It wasn't just a fictional world. It sometimes seemed like an absurdly fictional world.
Nonetheless, I give Aaron Sorkin all the credit in the world for his efforts. The show is still the best written series on TV. And the third season contains some terrific individual episodes.
To sum up: Season 3. Very Good Show. Still one of the best on TV....more info
- Season 3
The West Wing's third season began in sadness. The 9/11 attacks would change much about our country (and this show), and we got an episode after them (Isaac and Ishmael) that attempted to show sensitivity and comfort during a confusing time. At that time, it wasn't generally liked, but it seems to have aged well (it was voted the 10th best episode by Bravo viewers earlier this year). After this, though, the season began in earnest, picking up where the astonishingly good "Two Cathedrals" episode left off and begins a multi-episodic story arc that has the staff at odds with each other as well as the introduction of the fabulous Ron Silver as Bruno Gianelli (he would get an Oscar nod for his performance). Truth be told, this season didn't have the same uniformity of excellence that previous ones did--the middle of the season was lukewarm, with episodes like "The Two Bartlets" and "Night Five" which rank among the lowest in the series (let's keep it in perspective, though: the worst of this season is still better than the best of the current one). However, the show pulls off one of the best episodes of the show in the finale, "Posse Comitatus", which has President Bartlet grappling with faith, law and morality in the matter of having an Osama bin Ladin-like terrorist assassinated. The sheer shock of the final act still brings chills down my spine every time I see it. Also notable: perhaps the most emotional episode in the series, "Bartlet for America" won an Emmy and its final scene between the President and Leo rivals the denouement in Kubrick's Paths of Glory for full-force emotional impact. "Gone Quiet" is a gripping story about a lost submarine, and features a wonderful, curmedgeonly performance by Hal Holbrook as Assistant Secretary of State Albie Duncan. "100,000 Airplanes" is an example of the complex narrative structure of the series: there are no less than four major stories revolving around Bartlet's State of the Union address, each of which are engaging. One of my favorites is "The U.S. Poet Laureate," which covers the scandal following an off-air gaffe on the part of the president. Says C.J. Cregg, "It's a classic Washington scandal. We got in trouble for telling the truth." But all through this season are these character threads: the President and Abbey (leading to a surprisingly touching scene in "Dead Irish Writers"), Josh and Amy's budding relationship, Toby and his ex-wife, Andie, and, of course, the President and Leo. The final one was always one of the most satisfying relationships with the show, and the fact that the current WW writers have all but eliminated it is one of my major beefs with the show right now. Enough soapboxing. Season 3 of the West Wing contains powerful drama and excitement, examination of real political issues and real people. It's definitely worth the money for anyone....more info
- A change of tone, but still must-see television
I admit that the Season 3 is where I lost track of the show. The debut episode, 'Manchester', marked a change in tone for the entire series. It's obvious that 9/11 changed the West Wing in a fundamental way. There's considerably less incidental music from "Snuffy" Walden. The attitude of the characters is far grimmer. More attention is placed on Middle Eastern politics and terrorism, and less to domestic political problems.
We're also introducted to the much vilified Amy Gardner, played by Mary Louise-Parker. As I was heavily influenced by fan reaction rather than actually watching the show, I hated this character. But now that I've actually watched the show, I really like Amy. She's a perfect match for Josh, and her relationship with him is realistic and just downright charming. Which reminds me, I've gotta catch Mary Louise-Parker in Weeds.
Another character that I think gets plenty of attention this season is Donna. She no longer has the outwardly ditzy persona of seasons 1 and 2. Instead, she gets to handle a scandalous relationship with a Republican lawyer. And she gets a lucrative job offer. She becomes more aware of her own self-worth this season, and it's wonderful to see Donna maturing and growing before our very eyes.
The only genuine clanger this season is President Bartlet's "psychological problems" that are explored in 'The Two Bartlets' and 'Night Five'. What's odd is that the President has never exhibited any of these symptoms before .
In summary, this season marks a huge sea-change for The West Wing. Gone is the bright, cheery optimism of the first two seasons. The events of 9/11 put an end to that. But this is still The West Wing. And these are still the characters we know and love, written by one of America's greatest playwrights. Buy this boxset - you won't regret it....more info
- West Wing: Complete Third Season
Although the special episode "Isaac and Ishmael" is not part of the regular season three, I have read that it will be included on this DVD set. I was unable to find out anything about the features or whether another midseason show, a documentary special, would be included. Maybe this season is not quite as good as the first two, but it still beats most of what is on TV. Here is a brief recap of the episodes.
Special: Isaac and Ishmael: The White House goes into lock down following 9/11/01. Music: Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth".
1. Manchester: Part I: Reporters hound C.J. about the president's health. Staff debate wheterh Bartlet should apologize for not revealing his medical condition.
2. Manchester: Part II: Staff clash with consultants on Bartlet's reelection campaign. The situation in Haiti escalates.
3. Ways and Means: The Special Prosecutor begins a probe. A labor leader's loyalty is questioned. Congress battles over the estate tax.
4. On the Day Before: gs: Kevin Tighe. Bartlet vetoes the "death tax". A governor considers running against the President.
5. War Crimes: gs: Gerald McRaney. Donna lies to a Congressional committee.
6. Gone Quiet: gs: Hal Holbrook. Bartlet must decide what to do when an American spy submarine goes silent.
7. The Indians in the Lobby: Indians want an answer to an application to buy back land stolen from them.
8. The Women of Qumar: An arms sale secures an airbase lease with a Middle Eastern country with a history of atrocities against women.
9. Bartlet for America: The House committee continues the probe of Bartlet's failure to disclose the fact that he has M.S.
10. H. Con-172: A dismissed White House photographer has written a tell-all book about the Administration.
11. 100,000 Airplanes: Sam is trailed by a magazine reporter. Staffers debate including a cancer initiative into the President's address.
12. The Two Bartlets : There is a protest against arms testing in Puerto Rico. Two congressmen want an inventory of Fort Knox.
13. Night Five: gs: Adam Arkin. Bartlet can't sleep. A White House reporter has been abducted while in the Congo.
14. Hartsfield's Landing: Staff want Bartlett to win the first primary.
15. Dead Irish Writers: The medical board's decision on Abbey's medical treatment of Bartlett causes concern. The Secret Service doesn't give Donna clearance to attend a birthday party.
16. The U.S. Poet Laureate: Toby tries to persuade the Poet Laureate from speaking out against the government's lack of support for a land mine treaty.
17. Stirred: Terrorism isn't ruled out when a truck carrying depleted uranium-fuel rods crashes. Charlie gets help with his tax return.
18. Enemies Foreign and Domestic: Satellite photos show an Iranian nuclear bomb facility built with Russian technology before Bartlet is supposed to meet with the Russian president. C.J. receives death threats after making remarks about the deaths of young Saudi girls.
19. The Black Vera Wang: Staffers work to avoid a predicted terrorist attack. C.J. doesn't care for Secret Service protection.
20. We Killed Yamamoto: When an important Middle Eastern official plots terrorism, Bartlet must decide whether to forfeit the principle of diplomatic immunity.
21. Posse Comitatus gs: Adam Arkin, James Brolin, Lily Tomlin. Bartlet makes a decision regarding a foreign diplomat who is a known terrorist.
- Dealing with MS and Qumar in the Bartlet White House
The third season of "The West Wing" actually gets off on the wrong note as far as I am concerned for the simple reason that if they President of the United States shows up for a monumentally important press conference half-wet and looking wild eyes, the country is going to think he has gone off the deep end. Having MS would be the least of Jed Bartlet's problems at that point, but we are supposed to let the high drama of the moment be such that none of the members of the rabid White House press corps notice his dishevelment.
The MS plot line ends up being problematic during the Third Season. The idea is certainly interesting, especially in light of revelations and Kennedy's Addison's Disease and Reagan's Alzheimer that have raised questions as to what medical conditions would affect a president's competency. But the story arc devolves into more of a general sense of getting anybody in the Bartlet Administration, where Charlie is going to get saddled with $100,000 in legal fees if he has done nothing wrong ("Manchester"), Donna commits perjury because she tries to protect her personal diary ("War Crimes"), and Leo's alcoholism becomes the cherry on the Republican's sundae ("Bartlet for America"). In the end, Leo's problems become what ends the issue, with Bartlet's neglecting to tell anybody he had MS becoming a footnote ("H. Con-172").
In retrospect what might have been missing from this season was a Democratic challenger to Bartlet's nomination, simply because there are so many episodes dealing with meaningless primaries (e.g., "Night Five," "Hartsfield's Landing") and a face is not put on Republican nominee Governor Ritchie of Florida until the final episode ("Posse Comitatus"), although Bartlet does put a shot across his bow ("The U.S. Poet Laureate"). This is underscored by what "The West Wing" is doing its current season, bringing in Alan Alda and Jimmy Smits as eager beavers all ready making their moves on the White House.
What ends up being the major plot line that extends beyond the third season is the problem of Qumar and its defense minister Abdul Shareef with his terrorist ties. Qumar was in the background the entire season, with the Administration trying to get an airbase lease with a nation that perpetuates atrocities against its women ("The Women of Qumar") and other problems, but when Bartlet gives the order to have Shareef assassinated in the big finale he sets in motion a chain of events that will result in Zoe being kidnapped and Bartlet handing over the presidency to the Republican Speaker of the House at the end of Season Four. If there is one strength of the show in recent seasons it has been in dealing with the problems of the Middle East. Whether this was because of, or despite, the attacks on September 11th is too hard to tell. The special episode, "Isaac and Ishmael," which ran before the first episode and after September 11th was notable because it touched on a wide spectrum of issues while sounding the necessary note of caution regarding leaping to the assumption that all Arab-Americans are terrorists. I think it is also clear that the show's harder edge in terms of realpolitik stems from what happened in the real world right before the third season started.
Favorite Moments from "The West Wing: The Complete Third Season": The President calling the Butterball Hot Line and C.J. dealing with "The Indians in the Lobby." C.J. raising hell with Nancy McNally over "The Women of Qumar." Sam contemplating the paragraph that was cut from the State of the Union Address in which they cured Cancer in "100,000 Airplanes." Charlie winning the war of practical jokes with C.J. in "Hartsfield's Landing." Donna, the temporary Canadian, forgetting that Abbey turned back into Mrs. Bartlet in "Dead Irish Writers," and being told by the President that he cannot do a proclamation to honor her favorite teacher who is retiring in "Stirred." Ron Butterfield getting C.J. to take the death threats she is receiving seriously in "Enemies Foreign and Domestic." We lose Ainsley Hayes, but we do have Amy Gardner and Simon Donovan in recurring roles, and a touch of Debbie Fiderer to go along with my favorite, Admiral Fitzwallace.
After the big start and shocking finish to the Second Season, which was arguably the best season of "The West Wing," it is not surprising that the Third Season is something of a letdown, especially when you compare the first and final episodes from those two seasons (I think "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen" was the best "West Wing" episode ever). But the thing I remember thinking (and saying) most often during that season was that while everybody was worried about the president's re-election bid as soon as Jed Bartlet gets on stage with an opponent in a nationally televised debate, it is not just "Game On," but game over. If you have seen Season Four, then you know I was right....more info
- Everything that television could be and rarely is
West Wing is the best written network television show out there. There is no denying how well this show is put together and how amazing the production value is. This is a season full of surprises and moments of sheer brilliance. Allison Janney shows why she gets all the statues. Janel Moloney also shines through a sea of bright stars. Just an absolutely amazing show....more info
- A civics lesson that's absolutely fascinating
I have been a fan of "The West Wing" for years. It's refreshing to find a television series that is both very entertaining and intellectually challenging. I have only one caveat about the show, and that the pace of the banter can be somewhat overwhelming and unrealistic at times.
Beyond that, I think this show should be watched by everyone who is interested in the mechanics of politics. ...more info
- IT'S ONLY ME, BUT:
GREAT ACTING AND STORY LINES. MARTIN SHEEN IS GREAT AS IS THE REST OF THE CAST. JM...more info
- Buyer Beware, Faulty Disks
This is an EXCELLENT SERIES! Like others I absolutely recommend purchasing any of the series. However, I wanted to offer a warning.
I have all of the seasons. I received them all from Amazon (most were Christmas gifts).
4 of the sets had defective disks. There would be at least one episode that you could not play without it skipping. Please make sure you watch the episodes completely within the 30 return period to be sure that there are no defective disks. Amazon is very good about replacing the set if there are defects but there is a time limit. It is hard to get through 20+ hours of tv watching in 30 days!
Also- Sets 1-3 (and maybe 4) have programming on both sides of the disks. Seasons 1 & 2 are my favorites and have been watched many times. Over time the disks seem to "split" in the center and skipping occurs now throughout the programming. There are no scratches on the disks and the skipping is inconsistant (always happens on the disks now, but not always in the same place).
This issue does not seem to occur with the later sets (programming only on one side). There is no way to replace the disks once this starts happening. If you have a way to "backup" the first few sets I would recommend it if you plan to watch them often. Not an issue if you are only likely to watch them once. ...more info
- cant go wrong with the west wing
i am a big fan of Arron Sorkin and I love all the West Wing Shows.
Really any season is great...more info
- At last impressed by US TV.
Here in the UK and all that we had from across the pond was Friends or Will & Grace (plus others, I liked Smallville for instance) the prospect of anything cerebral as a TV show was beginning to fade. Along came "24", good action etc... but what about something for the more politically attuned person. The answer, the superb West Wing.
In this 3rd season the characters have developed very nicely, Toby even smiles ! The political meandering & shenanigans make the House of Commons look like first school. What I find missing are historical references such as Bartlett has his MS but then why no mention of Roosevelt's polio, Kennedy's back injury and the drugs he took for it, Reagan's Alzheimer's ? Perhaps out of respect. What about the shady dealings of numerous presidents regarding arms dealing in the world etc.. A lot of this is absolute fact but Bartlett seems too good to be true, a few skeletons in the closet but nothing too shocking (not shocking probably due to my constant exposure to the UK tabloids and their stories).
In summary, very entertaining and best of the bunch. For political drama, the best of any long running series. Lets hope that the quality continues....more info
- * Excellent Product *
I bought this item as a Christmas present and it was perfect! Thank you!...more info
- Emmy Winning Drama Show
The third season of The West Wing follows President Bartlett and his staff as they kick off his re-election campaign. This comes in the wake of President Bartlett's admission to the public that he has M.S. and concealed it from the public during the campaign.
The season actually starts off with an episode entitled "Isaac and Ishmael," a stand alone episode written in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Many people did not like the episode (although it has gained popularity) but I really enjoyed it. After that, the season resumes where it left off in "Two Cathedrals" (the second season finale). Ron Silver comes on as Bruno Gianelli, the campaign director for Bartlett's re-election. There are some spectacular guest appearances throughout this season (besides Silver). First is Mark Harmon, as a Secret Service Agent who is assigned to protect CJ Cregg after she receives several death threats. Also, Hal Holbrooke is great as Assistant Secretary of State Ablie Duncan.
Bartlett's opponent in the presidential race is Republican Governor Richie, a man with a President George W. Bush-type persona. Besides having to overcome his lie about his medical condition, Bartlett must compete with a candidate who seems to be more like the "average American" and he must decide whether to try and take that path, or stick with being himself, an academic liberal from New England.
All in all this is a great season, although perhaps not as consistent as the first two. The last episdoe, "Posse Commitatus," is a great finale in which the President must decide whether or not to use military foces to assisinate a foreign leader. West Wing fans should own this season as it continues on the tradition of superb writing, wit, and drama. ...more info
- Excellent Experience
The product was just what I ordered and the service was exceptional! I placed the order and received it 3 days later! Great experience. ...more info
- The West Wing - The Complete Third Season (2001)
Every school and college should have this in there library. For the stand-alone episode "Isaac & Ishmael", a lone, a special show created, shot, and broadcast 22 days after the 9/11 events. It would have kept us out of a war if everyone saw it and understood it....more info
- The West Wing Series Facinates And Challenges
I find the West Wing series to be excellent for the mind. It has a wonderful blend of many inspiring topics including politics, intrigue,
posturing, cleverness, romance, nostalgia, desire, ego and friendship
with respect. I find myself daydreaming that the series is reality and
I wish it was. It takes me away from the horrible realities of the real
world and makes me for a moment believe that the world is not as dark
as it appears to be to me....more info
- West Wing season 3
Disk 3 is flawed, entire episode on each side is unwatchable. Other disks appear to be fine....more info
- This Classic show hits it's peak and stride.
The Third season was The West Wing at it's best. Intricately woven story arcs and a set of characters fleshed out with love and honesty. Seasons 1 and 2 were great because of the earnestness of the writing, directing and acting. Everyone gave it a little extra. By season 3 we began to anticipate the characters and their actions. But instead of simply complying in character, they breathed new vitality. Donna became more than an assistant with Sexual Tension growing between her and Josh. Toby and his inner demons were realized. This is simply the best written and realized TV program in many years and belongs in the Pantheon of All Time Great TV programs....more info
- How a president SHOULD act
I began watching the West Wing regularly only in Season Three. I had seen the end of Season Two, granted, but only so far as I witnessed a President's betrayal. In Season Three, I saw a President as an abstract representation of morality, who confronts his inclinations and then rises beyond his failings and feelings.
This president lied to win his office. Had he at any time admitted his condition, John Hoynes-TX (Tim Matheson) would have won the presidency. And yet this presidency shows us that a leader can conceal fact for the right reasons; we, as a populous, can be misinformed and uninformed for our own good. The actions of current administration show us that misinformation and disinformation damage each American and America as a nation. In contrast, Josiah Bartlet demonstrates that governance is determined by the way one *answers* as crisis, not the way one *creates* a crisis.
To the disenfranchised of America, know that Josiah Barlett is a distillation of the best qualities of our current leaders. Our congressmen, our governors, our teachers, our mothers can rise to these standards. Maintain faith and work hard.
I recommend Season Four to every Presidential hopeful. There we witness a President answer for a war waged for reasons other than those given to the American people.
Stop watching the West Wing after Season Four. As executive producer, John Wells has sold the show's moral integrity and unique production for unprincipled politics and dumbed-down positions.
Please enjoy this program to Season Four, and then give it an honorable demise.
- the beginning of the end...
It may have been the year that netted a dozen or so Emmy's (there was certainly no competition amongst the mediocre nominees), but this was the year that smelled like stagnation for the series. There's a handful of strong episodes - great emotional ones like "Bartlet for America," about Leo's alcoholic breakdown, or "Dead Irish Writers," the funny and touching episode dealing with Abbey's fallout over the abuse of her medical license. But for the most part, the ideas have gone stale - the impeachment plotline goes nowhere interesting, which is perhaps why it gets jettisoned midway through the year, and the season-ending culmination of CJ's bodyguard plotline with Mark Harmon is just embarrassing. Aaron Sorkin seemed to be losing grip of his characters this year, especially his women who get plotlines that are either dull (CJ gets heated over land taken from the Indians!) or really dull (Donna needs to get out of jury duty - or, as I viewed it, time for a bathroom break). In fact, the only woman he really gets right is the new one, Mary Louise Parker's feminist Amy that gives the season it's most memorable moments of heart and humor ("and I have legs that go all the way to the floor!"). The West Wing even in its greatest episodes jutted up against a line of self-righteousness, and although this season doesn't spend the whole year jumping over that line, it spends far too much of it for comfort. And for anyone taking votes on the jump-the-shark moment of the series, I'd pick "Hartsfield's Landing," which overloads with Sorkin quirkiness - too much useless trivia, too many trivial sideplots, and a weak central metaphor about the president playing chess with everyone. Aaron Sorkin's written grocery lists that were more interesting....more info
- West Wing - first cracks appearing?
Since being introduced to West Wing last Christmas (Series One as a present) I have avidly consumed every subsequent episode available on DVD. It is TV writing at its absolute best. I have just finished Series 3 but I have to say with some disappointment principally because of the last episode.
West Wing is so good because it is believable. Start producing predictable or unbelievable storylines then, I believe, you are on a slippery slope.
The last episode consisted of three sub-plots.
1 The assassination - superbly handled with the moral dilemma facing the President balanced with the increasing tension as the time approached. Rivetting stuff.
2 The bodyguard romance - I knew that there was likely to be more than one armed robber in the shop so why didn't one of the best trained agents in the world! And surely anybody protecting a member of the president's staff would wear body armour. Too predictable, I was waiting for him to be shot and conveniently removed from the series.
3 The replacement secretary for Bartlett - This was just plain stupid. Firstly we are expected to believe that the replacement task would be allocated to Charlie. Secondly that Charlie would browbeat somebody who didn't want to apply into applying. Thirdly, and totally unbelievably, that having turned up stoned for an interview with the Preident she would be given a second chance because she was the person that gave Charlie a job. Come on! Just give the job to Donna.
Well its still a great series but the cracks are starting to show I'm afraid.
- Top Notch TV
I've been a fan of The West Wing since the first season. I have previously purchased season 1 and 2, and just recently purchased season 3. The West Wing's early seasons (especially 1,2 and 3) has some of the best writing and acting on television. I borrowed out the season 1 and 2 DVDs so many times to friends, they've more than paid for themselves in enjoyment. Season 3 should be more of the same. Well-worth the money....more info
- West Wing Season 3
Excellent. New product in great conditon. Bought as a gift for my Dad for Christmas. He loves it!...more info
- This is so so DVD
Not too interesting. All people are pretentious in the DVDs. Well maybe it's just my own taste....more info
- I have the First 3 Seasons now
While I think the Secound is my favorite it really is a toss up between 2 and 3 as far as which season has the best episodes.
As usual the Thanks Giving, Christmas and season finale episodes where just excellent. Posse Comitatus has to go on my list of the five best episodes of WW ever. I don't think there was a bad episode in the season....more info
- West Wing is amazing
There never has, and never will be, another show quite like West Wing. I will dearly miss this show....more info
- From a late bloomer
I had the dubious privilige of coming to the show four years later than I should have and thanks to Bravo, I've had the dubious honor of piece mailing the show together. I agree that season two is one of the best, however take caution to judge each season on its own merits. At the risk of delving me into the high school nightmare of my youth, think of it this way. The first is the frosh idealistic, novelty stage; the second is the sophomore "We've-got-to-prove-we're-worth-all the-Emmys" stage and the junior third is the digging in and beginning the long haul. The episodes are less culminated by the final credits and more focused on long-term story building. I think the characters in season three begin to lose their overall humanity we enjoyed in seasons one and two for a more elitist, focus on their positions of power. In short, in season three, the show grows up. It loses its initial charm for an aura of smart. The West Wing is still deserving of its accolades, still worth an hour of my life. And it's still worth $38.99 of my paycheck. My only hope is that maybe big block of cheese day or a friendly poker game will resurface this season....more info
- The writing is still phenomenal.
4.5 stars. The main reason I love this show is the writing; the excellent character acting and cinematography coming in second and third, respectively. The dialogue is thoughtfully written and remains fresh, for the most part, even after more than sixty episodes. The third season picks up appropriately where the last episode from season two left off but the plot is then put on hold for one full show due to the events of September 11th. The very first episode, which stands entirely alone, has more to do with explaining why those types of events occur in the first place, what belief systems are driving the extremists, and why, in short, do they hate America so much. It was yet another enlightening episode, like many others from the previous two seasons, and is a somber tone to begin season three. But most of the episodes that follow are actually upbeat and subsequently less passionate than season two. I absolutely adored season two, and I knew going in to season three that high expectations were both in order and obviously unfair. The writing is still superb. The entire cast, with many, many guest actors entering and infusing their immense talents into the show, all look and feel more comfortable in their roles than ever before. There are many moments of brilliance here, my personal favorite coming late in the season (episode #17 "The U.S. Poet Laureate") where the show is elevated to greatness throughout with every single nuance and word so carefully and emotionally revealed that something magical happens. That entire episode is stellar. This brings me to the only downfall to the season, which is that "The U.S. Poet Laureate" is the only show that never becomes predictable or stagnant or has a rare flat spot. There are many great moments throughout each and every show, but unlike season two which had a multitude of outstanding whole episodes, season three only had one amazing episode and many other good ones. To reiterate: the writing is the main reason to watch this show, regardless of untied sub-plots and too many unresolved characters exiting, not to be seen for five or six shows at a time. The stories are at their most fresh in season three when flashback episodes unfold, where the actors give their characters more vitality and youthfulness instead of the weary characters of the West Wing stumbling into a re-election year. Overall, this is yet another solid season of one of the most impressive shows ever brought to television. Those who criticize "The West Wing" too much should look and see and remind themselves of all the heaping crud that comprises most network television, and thank their lucky stars that a show this professional and sometimes incredible was ever made. Thank you Aaron Sorkin, and the entire cast and production staff of "The West Wing." Keep up the phenomenal work....more info
- still excellent
The West Wing was an excellent show, unlike anything else on TV. Extremely intelligent and fast paced, but not obsessed with sexual relations of its cast. My only problem was with the disks themselves: it took two sets to finally get all the disks to work. Not sure why that happened as they were all new. I havent had a problem with the other two seasons I bought however....more info