The West Wing Season 5
I have to admit that
I've been a fan of the West Wing since Season 2 (for some reason I don't
recall, I missed the first season completely). Television that doesn't
dumb itself down for the audiance is rare; this series is made
believable by letting intelligent characters act as though they were
intelligent, and trusting the audiance to keep up. That the show ran for
7 seasons shows that enough people could. At the show's height, more
people preferred Jed Bartlett (Martin Sheen) as President than the real
incumbant of the time.
By the end of season 4, President Bartlett and his team had managed a
stunning election victory despite admitting the the President had MS, a
terrorist plot to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge had been foiled by the
assassination of a high-ranking minister from a foreign (and supposedly
friendly) government, the Vice President had been forced to resign
following a sex scandal, the President's daughter had been kidnapped
(forcing Bartlett to stand down and hand authority to the opposition
party), and Pin-up cast member Rob Lowe had played his last scene on the
series. All that and more have to be dealt with in the course of these
24 episodes. The departure of Lowe was a major blow for the series, but
in some ways it enhanced the credibility of the cast as the producers
brought in an actor who was less pin-up and more geeky to replace him.
Nothing against Lowe (who I hadn't rated very highly as an actor prior
to the West Wing) but the geek had more credibility.
I would have loved to give this boxed set a ten out ten rating, I really
would. There was nothing wrong with the pictures or sound (except that
they weren't in widescreen, which doesn't bother me especially). There
were no extras, and that has to cost at least a point or two. But what
really annoyed me and has lowered the rating tremendously was that 3 of
the 6 disks simply would not play, no matter what I did (and I tried
every trick I could think of). Disk 2 would show the Warners Home Video
credit - and stop. Disk 3 wouldn't even get that far, my player wouldn't
even acknowledge that it was a DVD. Disk 4 had similar problems. Disks
1, 5, and 6 worked perfectly. This raises serious questions about the
quality control of the manufacturing, and would have seriously annoyed
me had I been purchasing the set, as I would not have gotten half of
what I was paying for.
I hope that anyone who buys this package has better luck, as anyone who
enjoy well-written political drama should have it in their collection.
It says something that I intend to continue trying to find some
combination of techniques that will let me access the failed disks long
after this review is posted. If they had presented no problems, I would
probably have given this package an 8 or 9 out of ten...