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on 26 November 2005
Don’t be put off by the price, as previously mentioned by other reviews (which I whole heartedly agree with) the price works out much cheaper than if you were to buy them separately (which you will). I put off getting into the West Wing for years, not fully understanding what it was. It was only after boredom set in and I decided that I wanted to be sucked into a new series that I splashed out on the first season. After a few episodes I was completely hooked and quickly ploughed through the other 5 seasons over a few months. This is compelling and exquisite television. The writing alone at times brings chills and coupled with flawless acting, casting and production never fails to inspire, entertain and satisfy.
When I read reviews I like to cut straight to any negatives, and there are some minor points with the west wing. Firstly, it is mentally intensive - which is not so much a problem, but I’m sure many people would be put off by this. Secondly, there are some excellent secondary characters that vanish, and while some come back, others don’t which can be a bit disappointing.
Other than those minor observations its five stars all the way. The drama, the politics, the humour is all there. There is something so satisfying, being a season in, and knowing that there are 5 more to enjoy at your leisure. The richness of the scripts and acting make the whole thing very re-watchable (I plan to start back at the beginning soon). While I agree that it might be worth waiting for Season 7 for people who want that ‘completeness’ feel, I personally would think of it in terms of money saved. I am jealous of anyone who has not seen the West Wing buying ‘the Bartlet years’ and watching it fresh, you're in for an amazing ride, enjoy!
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on 19 February 2006
"You know what this is Mr President?" "What what is?" "Your mood." "There's nothing wrong with my mood." "You don't get enough roughage in your diet, you know I'm right." "I know I'd like to beat you senseless with a head of cabbage, I know that for damn sure!"
And so, a snap of dialogue from arguably one of the very best television dramas to grace our screens in a long time. Inside this, an idealised USA White House, are a stack of plots and characters so well written that you have feel a renewed confidence in politics. The West Wing is a true gemstone of writing, with dialogue in seasons 1-4 so well developed, that you find yourself speaking similar to friends and colleagues. This box set captures the whole journey, from those truly remarkable first steps in seasons 1 and 2 (hampered only by some overly cheesy moments and overt references to the 'free world'), a period of greatness in Seasons 3 and 4 (with episodes that really stand out as accomplished storytelling). Season 5, with only a few notable episodes, is a let down, in part because the principal writer had just left taking his brand of witty interchange with him. Momentum regains in season 6 with a reframed series, focusing on the emerging rivals for the presidency played expertly by veteran Alan Alda, with Jimmy Smiths and Gary Cole.
The casting is also well achieved. President Bartlet (Sheen) was the perfect choice as are his staffers, including the late great John Spencer as the Chief of Staff, Dule Hill as personal aide Charlie Young, Richard Schiff as the ideological rascal, a loveable but grumpy Director of Communications, and Rob Lowe giving four seasons of his time to Sam Seaborn, a comical turn probably without intention. The leading women, CJ and Donna dust the show with their brilliance and provide humour and empathy, clashing against the male bravado. The only irritants comprise a mis-cast Moira Kelly as the poorly written Mandy Hampton, and Joshua Malina who, as Will Bailey, witters annoyingly in the background.
So what is disappointing about the box set? Take a browse of the region 1 counterparts and you'll see the real 'wealth of extras' so heavily promoted with this box-set. There are none bar those short snippets included already with season one. I suspect that the biggest buying market for a 'Bartlet Years' collection would be die-hard fans, and I wish that they had been shown more respect!
This really is a momentous collection of truly great television. Putting aside whether or not you like politics, here is something that narrates our desire for a better life - and shows that getting such a thing is never as easy as it sounds. A remarkable show.
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on 8 December 2005
You may not know a thing about the american politics but it will not take you more than an episode and half to get into this amazingly splendid and well scripted series. Because it is not just about what goes on inside the Most Powerful Person on the Earth's office, it is about thrills, chills, joys and sorrows in the lives of the excellent characters created by Mr. Sorkin - right from POTUS to a secretary in his office. Once you start identifying with the characters and their lives, you will not switch off that TV. That is the beauty of this box set since you get all the six seasons at one shot and you will not be at peace till you watch each and every episode of this truly wonderful series. It richly deserves all the Emmies and other awards it has got.
So buy it, sit back and live the White House life through the West Wing.
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on 7 February 2006
I have absolutely no complaints about the episodes contained within this boxset... it is without doubt one of the best TV Series i've ever watched.
However - and this is a big however - if you are expecting to see deleted scenes and episode commentary, you are going to be sorely disappointed. The only special features that come with this 1-6 Season set are the ones that were originally put on the UK release of the Season 1 Standalone boxset way back when, which even then didn't include commentaries and deleted scenes. There are no other sepcial featues on *any* other disks.
So, if you are buying 'cause you want the show, press the buy it button now, you'll not be disappointed in the slightest. If you are buying with the lure of special featues? Think again.
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on 26 February 2006
In a world of reality t.v. ( i.e. Celebrity Big Brother, etc..) it is nice to see that there are some people in the entertainment industry that are still interested in acting, writing and production as an art form.
Everything from the brilliant, articulate and intelligent script, to the cinematogrophy, to the astute casting and brilliant acting, make this series one of the best to ever grace American television. When compared with some of the ridiculous antics going on over at rival networks ( Desperate Housewives, anyone?) this is prime time Drama at it's best.
A little side note to the reviewer saying the dialog was corny & "American", one wonders what you expected from a Drama that is set in the White House and follows the Presidency of the United States of America?
Maybe you just don't like Americans... a sentiment that seems rife at the moment.
Anyway, the show is glorious. It is artistic, intelligent and seems to take itself seriously.... which I , given the current climate of entertainment (both on stage and screens big or small), am grateful for, for my money.
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on 19 October 2005
The West Wing simply represents the pinnacle of modern TV drama. Totally compelling from Season 1 Episode 1, the superb casting, acting and scripts unlock the secrets of the White House to a standard never threatened by rival shows. Politics not your thing? Fear not as the genius of Aaron Sorkins writing brings all the crisis, decisions and high-powered drama in the corridors of power to life in spectacluar fashion. Certain episodes are masterpieces in their own right, including the Emmy Award winning In Excelsis Dio (season 1.10) at Arlington National Cemetary where the full co-operation of US Authorities was first given, Two Catherdrals (2.22) and Twenty Five (season 4 finale). Martin Sheen as President Bartlett and Alison Janney as the Press Secretary are stand out performances, Janney deservedly winning an individual Emmy for Season 5. If you have never seen the West Wing this is essential viewing - my only warning is that at 20+ hours per season you will need a month to see them back to back. This is one show you can't put down.
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on 10 February 2006
We bought this box set as a joint Christmas present since it seemed a lot of money to lay out. but boy has it been worth it. We've been watching it intensively since mid-january when it arrived (as in 'it's 2am, can we manage another one?) - there is a HUGE amount of viewing here. Much as I'm a fan of audio commentaries I'm not missing them on this since there is already so much there. The writing and acting are only rarely less than stellar and it turns out that all the friends who advised me to watch it were completely right, it is fantastic!!
My advice is definitely not to fiddle about with one season sets, buy this. the season cliff hangers are so heartstopping (especially the first couple) that you'll end up out looking for a 24hr DVD store!
But don't expect to get any studying/housework/exercise done for at least a month unless you are very strong willed!
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on 15 November 2005
no words can honestly describe my joy at having bought this box set.
the west wing must be the most entertaining, and frankly captivating, both intellectually and in terms of sheer drama, piece of television broadcast for some time.
If you're vaguely interested in politics, the turmoil of excercising power, or have a (kind of) liberal view of the world this is the tv show for you.
happy viewing!
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on 25 October 2005
This is a good price for the greatest series in recent years, works out at £25 a season which is an excellent price compared to the prices that single seasons cost online (roughly £40).
However I would avoid buying this set as although this is described as the Bartlet Years this is simply untrue. Currently the Seventh and Final season of the West Wing is being aired in the USA, without giving too much away, albeit some of the emphasis has moved over to the new presidential election, President Bartlet is still in the Oval Office.
This is a great set if you simply wish to watch every episode from the start and want to do it at a low price, but there will be one final Season set that will be missing from this set which will almost be included in a Complete West Wing Boxset when it is (almost certainly) released.
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on 18 September 2005
The West Wing truly is a modern day televisual masterpiece.The writing is sublime, the acting faultless and the directing masterfull.Aaron Sorkin is a Shakespeare for the 21st century,and though he left after season four, this show continued to raise the bar for television drama.The sheer number of Emmy awards it won (9 in the first season alone) just stands to prove its greatness.Martin Sheen was truly amazing as President Bartlett,delivering Sorkin's witty and razor-sharp dialogue with pinpoint precision.Everyone with a love of great drama and writing should own this collection.For six years this was the only show on television worth watching and the programme directors at channel 4 should be hung,drawn and quartered for taking it off the air!Still,you can now enjoy the the Bartlett years on this great box set.Happy viewing!
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