The West Wing: Out with the old
It is conceivable that there could have been a less dramatic ending to the NBC drama The West Wing
, but right now I can't think how it could have been more moribund or more ostentatiously valedictory. Perhaps the writers were trying to show how great democracy is that a change of power merely means moving furniture in and out. But, really, couldn't somebody have thrown a wobbly?
I'm compensating for the end of the show that I've obsessively watched for the last few years by obsessively watching the sixth season on DVD. Without the commercials, the show is tighter, more dramatic, and more compelling, even though the writing isn't as crisp. Leo's still alive, and that's a plus, but is it just me or can't you hear in the late John Spencer's labored breathing the signs that he was not well?
Whatever the merits of the final episode, however, one thing remains true. The West Wing
offered a vision of government as competent, serious, and dedicated; and, as the 2000s roll by, it has become only too clear just how fantastic an idea that is.