The West Wing (NBC)
1999 | NBC, John Wells Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television
Many successful TV dramas resort to one of the three basic food groups-cops, doctors and lawyers. NBC’s The West Wing, created and written by Aaron Sorkin, dares to put high-powered politics in the weekly prime-time mix. Running parallel to a real-life presidential campaign, The West Wing presents a remarkably rich and nuanced look at the fictional administration of President Josiah Bartlet, played with force and presence by Martin Sheen. Mr. Sorkin has surrounded this centrist New Hampshire Democrat with a ring-true ensemble of politicos headed by chief of staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer). Absent the standard, formulaic jeopardy or action elements that drive most network dramas, The West Wing draws its strength from the substantive issues of the day. Inevitable political realities and staff infighting make The West Wing primarily a show about ideas, ideals and the perils of same. The superb cast also includes Allison Janey as press secretary C. J. Gregg, Bradley Whitford as deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman, Richard Schiff as communications director Toby Ziegler, Rob Lowe as deputy communications director Sam Seaborn, and Moira Kelly as political consultant Madeline Hampton. The West Wing” is co-produced by John Wells and Thomas Schlamme in association with Warner Bros. Television. This exceptional production team and NBC merit a Peabody Award for showing that audiences can be edified, as well as entertained, by the inner workings of a modern-day presidency.
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