During Season Six, the presidential race is on, with Senator Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) as the Republican frontrunner and a Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits) vying for the hotly contested Democratic presidential nomination.
With the sixth season, it seems that the writers, actors and producers pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and delivered a performance that hasn’t been seen since the days of Aaron Sorkin. The fifth season nearly became the show’s last after viewership was half. It seemed that the show lost a bit of the spark and freshness after creator Aaron Sorkin jumped ship. The beginning of the season found President Bartlet’s presidency in flux with the near fatal heart attack of Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, CJ Craig being called up to fill his shoes and the little problem of exactly how to implement and ensure a peaceful resolution between the Israelis and Palestinians. Then while on a trip to China, President Bartlet suffers ailments from his MS that leave him virtually incapacitated. By the end of the trip it begins to seem that Bartlet will not achieve a negotiation between China and North Korea with regards to North Korea’s nuclear ambition. However, in the 11th hour Bartlet manages to achieve a summit between the US, China, N. Korea and Japan. It may just be a television show, but President Bartlet is all that could ever be desired in a president and so much more. It’s quite obvious where Sorkin and the producers drew from when developing the character of President Bartlet- the legacies of Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower immediately spring to mind. Over the past six years The West Wing has proved time and time again that it is one of the most well written, brilliantly produced and engaging television dramas that has every hit the airwaves. The sixth season only serves to solidify this position in the great dramas of television.
Review by Emma Loggins