179 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to it's best!
The sixth season of the West Wing had a lot to answer for given the relatively disappointing critical response to it's fifth outing, but Aaron Sorkin's successors have delivered a delightfully entertaining group of episodes marking a return to the high standards of the 3rd and 4th seasons.
Not only does the hilarious interplay surprisingly absent from the 5th season...
Published on 23 Aug 2005 by rnporter
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed bag
The sixth season of The West Wing, while it certainly has its moments, is not, unfortunately, up to the calibre of its predecessors. For much of the time, the action the takes place in the White House is just dull. The dialogue, which once sparkled (mainly under Aaron Sorkin's penmanship) now seems old-hat and stale. It doesn't have the musicality it used to, and at times...
Published on 21 Sep 2007 by Bob 12
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179 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to it's best!,
This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)The sixth season of the West Wing had a lot to answer for given the relatively disappointing critical response to it's fifth outing, but Aaron Sorkin's successors have delivered a delightfully entertaining group of episodes marking a return to the high standards of the 3rd and 4th seasons.
Not only does the hilarious interplay surprisingly absent from the 5th season make a return but the additional subject matter provided by the run up to the Democratic Convention allows for a whole new approach to the series. Importantly however, it does so without departing entirely from the key factors which made the West Wing such a success in the first place - great acting, great writing - what more do you need?
As usual Bradley Whitford steals the show as the ever-tormented but always hilarious Josh who, it becomes clear, is the driving force behind the Democratic Party. There are also several stunning plot twists which dramatically shake up the relationships between the main characters - look out for Josh and Donna, Bartlett and Leo and, finally, Josh and Toby...
Anyway, enough talk - I would encourage anyone who enjoyed the first four seasons of the West Wing to buy this and anyone who was disappointed by the 5th to buy this as well - it really is back on form! I can think of no better programme currently on television so do not hesitate!
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things Fall Apart,
This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)'Things Fall Apart' is the title of one of the episodes of this sixth series, and serves as a useful epigram for what is an inevitable theme given the story elements which have led us to Season Six. The production team very bravely (and wisely) avoid mawkish sentiment in giving us a Bartlet who may be brilliant but is also human, and in this series we see the ideal President of the first few seasons fleshed out as we witness the final endgames of his administration. The cast are, as always, superb, and if we as viewers mourn the energy and intimacy they shared in the earlier series I believe that that is deliberate - change is hard, as hard for us as viewers as it is for the staffers we've come to love.
'West Wing' is, for my money, probably the best television drama ever made, and so long as the writers are willing to challenge our comfort it can certainly remain so. Whether it can succeed through future cast changes remains to be seen... Roll on Series Seven.
213 of 220 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Advance viewing for Wing Nuts,
This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)This boxed set follows hot on the heels of the fifth series, and is to be released before the series has hit UK TV screens (which is unusual - not sure if C4 / E4 have any intention of picking up this series).
As ever, there are plot twists, which Wing Nuts have come to know and love (and expect). These allow the series' focus to move away from day-to-day White House goings on, and into the Democrat and Repubican Presidential Primaries. Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue) and Alan Alda (MASH) are brought into the cast as presidential candidates. Anyone left wondering from series 5 - "does 'Bingo Bob' put himself forward as a candidate?", "will Hoynes run?", or "what happens to Donna and Josh?" will need to buy this to find out.
All the cliff-hangers from the end of series five are resolved - and leaves a few more on closing to tee up the seventh series.
Some might say the content isn't as good as the classic Sorkin-scipted earlier series, but there's still plenty of storyline content, and the acting is as superb as ever.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed bag,
This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)The sixth season of The West Wing, while it certainly has its moments, is not, unfortunately, up to the calibre of its predecessors. For much of the time, the action the takes place in the White House is just dull. The dialogue, which once sparkled (mainly under Aaron Sorkin's penmanship) now seems old-hat and stale. It doesn't have the musicality it used to, and at times it seems like the actors don't know what to do with it - except say it, and hope that nobody will notice that it's not up to spec. The cracks in the series are visible early on: in the opening episodes, the drama is reduced to Bartlett and Leo shouting at each other in the Oval Office, which they seem to do a lot of. By the three quarters of the way through the season, the writers seem to have hit rock bottom, and by the time they have Toby and Josh indulging in a little fisticuffs, you can't help but feel that they're scraping the bottom of a very empty barrel.
The cast gets shaken up a bit too. Season 5 addition Mary McCormack's 'smarter than everyone else and sorts out all the problems' Kay Harper is not terribly convincing - and her running commentary on the Middle East peace process in the opening episodes is exactly the kind of polemic didacticism that Aaron Sorkin would have avoided at all costs (if nothing else because it's shallow thinking). And Kristin Chenoworth's Annabel Schott is annoying, and no replacement as a Southern belle for Emily Procter's Ainsley Hayes. Also, CJ's character seems to get dumbed down as the season goes on. And Richard Schiff, capable of so much as an actor (see his performance in Season 2's 17 People) is left floundering in the White House bullpen with very little to do except mumble and try and catch the occasional storyline that comes his way (but when it does, it's among the worst written episodes ever).
Thankfully, there are some new additions to the cast. Jimmy Smits as Congressman Matthew Santos is truly interesting and dynamic character, and he not only holds his own in the show, but he ends up stealing it. The interplay between him and Bradley Whitford's Josh Lyman is a delight. And it's nice to see Josh finally getting a storyline that makes use of Whitford's considerable dramatic and comedic talents. The other standout performance is from Alan Alda as Arnold Vinnick. Here, the writers have excelled themselves in creating a Republican presidential candidate who is both interesting and intelligent and also a man of integrity and principle. He is a million miles from James Brolin's one-dimensional Governor (`George W') Ritchie who Bartlett easily faced down in season 4. Alda seems to particularly relish the part, and has not been this good since the end of M*A*S*H. Donna too gets a proper storyline, as does Joshua Malina's Will Bailey. But it's Alda, Smits and Whitford who come to the show's rescue. It's in the Santos-Josh storyline and in the Santos-Vinnick storyline that the show comes to life again. These characters are fresh and interesting, and it's when the action shifts back to the White House the show is in the doldrums.
In truth, the show never recovered from the loss of Rob Lowe's Sam Seaborn. Lowe brought a much needed warmth and humour to the show, and also a healthy dose of Capra-esque naiveté. Without him, The West Wing is colder and more cynical. Some would argue that this makes it more realistic, but realism wasn't actually what the show was predicated on. The show also never really recovered from the loss of Sorkin as the principal writer and guiding hand. The show's current writers have their moments, but these moments are too few and far between. And it can be no coincidence that the best characters are the new ones: Santos and Vinnick. Try as they might (and they do) they can't imbue the original characters with the essence and life that Sorkin gave them. Hence, I only give this item three stars. The missing stars are for Rob Lowe, and for Aaron Sorkin.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The West Wing Is As Marvellous As Ever,
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This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)I've been a die hard West Wing fan since the second series (I saw the second series before seeing the first) and unlike most viewers disagree that there has ever been a fall in the standard of the product. Admittedly I found the 3rd series to be much darker than the others for very obvious reasons, but that aside, I've always found the 'Wing' to be consistently brilliant and quite simply the best TV drama ever.
The sixth series does not disappoint and in my view it's becoming ever harder to detect that there had ever been an upheaval of the magnitude of genius writer Aaron Sorkin leaving the writing team. There's plenty going on with the movers and shakers.... moving and shaking! Alliances that in the past have seemed unshakable become fractured as the administration moves into the final phase of Office.
As a resident of the U.K with hardly a clue about how the U.S government operated before ever seeing the show, the Democratic Primary process featured in this series has added to my knowledge of the aforementioned system that this show has provided over the years.
The addition of Alan Alda (scarily Presidential) and Jimmy Smits to the cast were inspired moves. As per usual I have my stand out episodes that seem to elevate even above the 5 star standard of the regular shows, but you can make your own minds up on those. If you've never seen the West Wing before, start at series 1 and take your time! If you've seen series 5 then I guarantee that series 6 will have you gripped. Outstanding Entertainment.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars End-of-Term Feel at the West Wing,
This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)This is a season of two stories - one in the White House where there is a decidedly end-of-term feel as key characters are leaving the building, and the other out on the Campaign Trail with the (excellently played) new presidential candidates.
Die-hard Wingnuts will have to adjust and acknowledge that the West Wing has moved on, and the trademark interplay in the corridors of power is now missing Josh (especially), Will & Donna, who are out running seperate campaigns. CJ looks slightly out of place in her new job, and Leo is, well, doing what? It remains to be seen if bringing them back together under a new president will herald a return to the magic of Seasons 1-4 (I'm assuming a Democrat win otherwise we need a whole new cast). Meanwhile this is WW on tour, giving us an insight to how a presidential race is run, reminiscent of early Season 4
Despite the changes WW6 is compulsive viewing, with the campaign the real hook, and the acting top drawer as ever (witness Bartlet's deteriation with MS). Curiously Channel 4 are yet to pick this season up, so its real fans only for now on the DVD
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to form,
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This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)Season 6 of the West Wing marks a return to form for West Wing devotees who have missed the Sorkin-written snappy dialogue of the early seasons. We're in the run up to the next Presidential Race and the big question on everyone's lips is who will hold the Democratic ticket. And in the background there's the minor question of still having a country to run...
As ever, the ensemble cast work beautifully together, with Bradley Whitford a stand-out as Josh Lyman, and the addition of Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda deepening the cast. Alda in particular is an excellent addition as a Republican senator and in introducing his character as a sympathetic, nuanced and unstereotypical Republican the team behind the show have gone a long way in redressing its previously one dimensional representation of Republicans. Of course, the world would be a better place if any politicians actually were as intelligent and altruistic as Bartlett or Vinick - Democrat or Republican, but if you are able to suspend your disbelief on that score you won't be disappointed by the quality of this season. The West Wing remains one of the few "must see" intelligent dramas being produced these days: enjoy it while it is still topical.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Santos for President ?!,
This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)The times they are a-changing.
So the Bartlett presidency is nearing the finishing line. You may have thought that this season would be all about tidying everything up and leaving a nice happy conclusion. Only you would be wrong, this season is all about Bartlet’s victory lap and perhaps the beginning of a new WW legacy.
I was one of the few who enjoyed Season 5 of the WW. I enjoyed the shake-up that John Wells brought to the show. However in this season he has really cranked things up a notch and in doing there are some major changes made to the show. Suddenly after all these years, no one is sure what their role is in the administration. Everyone is someplace different and personally I thought it made fascinating viewing watching them trying to adjust.
It’s difficult to divulge to much info about the events in this season as this has it been released straight to dvd before it airs on Channel 4’s new station ‘More Four’
The acting performances from all the regulars are superb as usual; in my opinion this group of actors are the best ensemble cast of any television drama series. There is no weak link here. However special mention for this season must go out to John Spencer (R.I.P ) who is especially excellent in the role of Leo. Also Janel Maloney deserves a special mention as well. Donna is really given a chance to shine in this season and Janel definitely rises to the challenge. Season 6 also treats us to some old familiar faces. I won’t say who, but all of them are well loved characters.
The West Wing has also never looked better. Some episodes now look and feel like ‘mini movies’. The cinematography is fantastic, with lots of different innovative camera angles present. One episode (King Corn’) seems to have been shot using a hand held steadi cam ! This is definitely something that has remarkable improved under Well’s guidance.
So what next for The West Wing ? Amazingly at the end of the last episode gives you great hope that the show can go and retain its high standard without Martin Sheen being a part of it. If like me you found something to love in all the seasons of the WW, you’ve probably already have it on order. If however you disliked season 5 and where thinking of giving up on this show, I would definitely recommend you check out this season.
I’ve said this at the end of all my West Wing reviews and this season is no different. It’s still the best show on television.
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD - BUT WE MISS YOU, AARON,
This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)It has to be said. However much we would all like them to be, Series 5 & 6 are not as the ground breaking, immaculate, Sorkin written/controlled Series 1-4. As with all long-running, successful TV series, an inevitable decline in ratings eventually sets in. That's when producers and network bosses step in and start interfering big-time, insisting on more and more audience titillation, more and more outrageous plotlines, more new exciting characters and so on and so on. Was that why Aaron walked away?
There are two key things that make Series 6 (and 5) different from 1-4. For one, the plotlines have become more and more melodramatic and densely packed with 'story' and 'drama'. In just one episode here, Bartlett brokers the impossible deal between Israel and Palestine, then fires his Chief of Staff who has a major heart-attack which, despite spending more than 12 hours post-MI unconscious in the woods, proves not to be fatal. (Sorry to give plotlines away, but it is an early episode, it's in the in-pack synopses and it does make my point). Sorkin, on the other hand, was content to weave a witty, involving, moving story out of 2 Indians in the Lobby (to name just one of my favourite episodes). Yes, he had his moments of high drama - Bartlett wants to nuke the world when his favourite new medic is blown out of the air, Josh gets shot, etc. - but they have all the more impact for their rarity.
Secondly, it's the humour. There are jokes in this new series - some of them quite funny jokes. But Sorkin didn't have jokes. He had wit and humour that grew directly out of the characters and their relationships. It's different. It makes you laugh out loud (at least it did me) in a way that you don't with these new episodes.
Oh. And third. Sorkin had that rare writer's ability to turn things round abruptly and suddenly make your eyes prickle with tears, however much you resisted it. Sentiment not sentimentality. Now we just have to rely on a key-light shining in Martin Sheen's eyes to tell us what a deep and emotional human being he is.
No, Series 6 is not a patch on Series 1-4.
But, having said that, it is still a heck of a sight better than pretty much anything else on TV (depressing thought, that, isn't it?) The acting is absolutely top notch as always. The direction and editing still maintain that West Wing style - fluid camera-moves, cracking pace and perfectly paced moments of repose. And the writing, though sub-Sorkin, is still a league above most drama series. So, for all my grumbles, this West Wing series is well worth watching on its own terms. Just don't compare it to the early days too often.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Triumph and the Tragedy,
This review is from: The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  (DVD)American TV can be so cheesy - you know the stuff - canned laughter, pauses for effect etc etc. Sometimes it can be among the best in the world - and this season of the West Wing sits happily in that range. It's passionate; it's edgy; it's optimistic; and it's a fitting tribute to John Spenser who very sadly died shortly after it's completion. Among the best acting that all the main stars - and the superb supporting cast - have ever done. This is believable, with a little more grit and realism than some of the outright idealism that some previous seasons have embraced. This is the story of the fall of a great and noble King - and the making and rise of the next king. Martin Sheen has never been better. Alan Alda is totally believable as the Republican challenger and Jimmy Smits confirms the acting range previously hinted at in TV series he's held together in the past. Fans will not need converted or talked into watching and buying this set, but for newcomers to the West Wing, it just doesn't get better than this. Vive la Republic! Martin Sheen for PM!
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The West Wing - Complete Season 6 [DVD]  by Jason Ensler (DVD - 2005)