So I finally completed season five of The West Wing last night, watching episodes 21 and 22 of the White House based drama.
‘Gaza’ was an exceptional episode which saw Josh Lyman keeping his unrequited desire for his Assistant Donna Moss going by flying to Germany to see her after a car explosion, leaving the rest of the team to deal the ever growing tensions in the region back in DC. The look on Josh’s face when he realised he wasn’t the only man chasing his plucky secretary was priceless and – as ever – the on-screen chemistry between Whitford and Moloney was at its standard high.
The finale was equally as good, with President Bartlet torn between pursuing negotiations in the Middle East for a peaceful resolve and “sending in the tomahawks”.
Although the fifth season was perhaps not as good as the first three runs, the series did well to recover from the loss of Aaron Sorkin (the creator) and key character Sam Seabourne (Rob Lowe) from the team. But with only one season left to wrap up the two-term Presidency, many people are left wondering if the show will go on, or if it is time to end it all and leave on a high.
Personally, I am undecided on the matter. Whilst I find the show to be one of the best out there at the moment, with fast dialogue and witty remarks along with excellent scripts and plot lines, I find it hard to see how the writers will be able to continue this with a change in the cast that the fans have grown to love.
A shake-up in the key players may be what the show needs to help it out of the slight slump it is in right now, but it could also be a complete disaster with ratings falling even faster. I guess the 64 thousand dollar question is: Do you end on a high and leave the West Wing to be remembered for it was, or is the risk of continuing worth the potential ridicule?
I guess only time will tell. The sixth season has been filmed and I believe is going to be aired in America this Summer. I guess E4 will pick it up later on in the Autumn for the UK fans, if they even decide to bother at all?
Only one thing is certain in my mind. The West Wing has set new standards in drama production and script writing, and it will be remembered for a very long time as a show that captured the hearts and minds of anyone looking for excellent television in the current ‘post Friends/Frasier’ era.