on June 25, 2002
Two very important things first: this has six scripts, not the eight it was planned to and it doesn't include the episode In Excelsis Deo; also, people who have claimed that the scripts are available online are mistaken. It appears that a version of the pilot is, but the rest are transcripts. That's like comparing a symphonic score to the instructions to key music into your mobile phone. These published scripts come complete not just with deft scene-setting but also errors that give you a sense of a working document and, reproduced here as they were given to the cast, their inate sense of pacing and rhythm is kept. It's difficult not to hear the cast's voices as you read but that's a measure of how distinctive each character is and the scripts work quite marvellously on their own. Then, too, Sorkin's introduction and later short notes probably contain more information than we've had on The West Wing DVD extras here in England and if there's anything you'd wish for in the book, it would just be for a Volume 2.
on January 29, 2004
Whoever thought of the idea of portraying the White House environment and its operations was truly brilliant. It is by far the most significant impact upon politics in the last 100 years if not since the creation of the nation. The ability to assess the dynamics of integrated factors and people by demystifying the office and its methods is by far its greatest contribution to American patriotism, as well as to define the obligations and problems which occur there - for any President. Its appeal to young and old alike show the power of illustration. Coming as it did near the end of the Clinton administration, it would have been wonderful to view the complications of his Presidency during it to help appreciate the criticism of Janet Reno, Madeline Albright, Robert Reich, Robert Rubin or any of the other persons who passed through that period. Viewing Stephanopoulous within that context comes rather automatic even now, in 2004, in reflection. It might also have been useful to more clearly evaluate the impact of the first female press secretary who was fired from there at the time, in light of the current makeup of the show. As it is, the most obvious benefits have accrued to the Bush White House, however, since the understanding brought to the American people because of it may prevent the degree of animosity that existed within the Clnton White House at the time, for whatever reason. To the extent that it continues to be an inspiration, as well as an adequate forum in which to air the complexity of issues, how they are handled, and how they might be handled, remains to be seen. It is, though, without a doubt, the opportunity of a lifetime to view the White House in all of its complex protocols, trying to incorporate the many personalities who flow through its halls and rooms, and try to cope with perhaps the most difficult job in America that too few are familiar with, and all are dependent upon because of the decisions made there. This is recognized, of course, in the number of awards and accolades it has earned, and for which the series well deserves. For the 20-30 year old set, both men and women, it is a godsend, and continues to hold their highest fascination, no small task in that group raised upon so much media fare of questionably lower value. The series remains the most important method, yet found, to reach and impress upon people the impact of ideas, and the value of ethics in the highest of places where it is most likely to count to affect everyone's lives, both in this nation, and outside it. A superb idea, and a wonderfully scripted intellectual and psychological journey of enormous proportions, made for everyone. No media rating required since it was done so well!
on December 27, 2002
The episodes presented in "The West Wing Script Book" were obviously chosen because they have two strong points in common. First, these are the scripts which introduce each main character in "The West Wing" and which tell the stories of how each came to travel the road that brought them to work together in Washington. Second, the scripts contain the most powerful scenes that reveal the personalities of the characters. The book includes those pivotal events such as the President's flashbacks about his relationship with his father, Toby's moral dilemma in finding out about the President's MS, Josh and Donna's reasons why each depends on the other, Sam's accidental tryst with a call girl and C.J.'s damage control with the press, Ainsley's anti-ERA speech, and Charlie's initial job interview to name only a few.
If you're a "West Wing" fan, you can now fully digest the subtlety and cleverness of the writing you may have missed during the rapid-fire pace of the show. If you are not a fan, this book is a good introduction to the dynamics of the cast and the premise of the show. These are the episodes that not only "let Bartlett be Bartlett," they are the ones that show the entire cast at its best.
on October 15, 2002
If you're smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you. This quote from Sorkin's earlier, wonderful TV venture "Sports Night" appears in the introduction to this book of teleplays from the best show in the history of TV. I'm not trying to suck up to anybody or anything, I mean that sincerely. Even if you don't plan on voting for Bartlet in the next election, there has never been a show like The West Wing but I hope, I hope, I hope that there will be more. This show proves that TV can be something more than a dumbed down interpretation of "average America" designed by networks to keep their audiences as stupid as possible. With the West Wing on the air, we have a higher order of television to live up to. As the program itself references animosity toward Bartlet because he's an intellectual snob, but their point is my point. We shouldn't be ashamed of intelligence. We shouldn't try and lower ourselves to the level of others. We should be raising our standards, otherwise how can we grow as a people? And even if you didn't go to an Ivy League school like most of the cast of characters did, you can still enjoy their company for an hour every Wednesday, or in these scripts by the greatest writer of our time, Aaron Sorkin. If you're stupid, surround yourself with smart people. Why not these people?
on June 30, 2003
I found the West Wing Script Book to be a real page turner. Often promising my better half that I'd only read a few more pages before turning out the light, I'd be called a liar because I couldn't stop reading. The only thing that bothers me about this book is that there is a lot missing. I didn't start watching the show until the second season and I was hoping to get a glimpse of the nuances that I've missed. They weren't there and I was disappointed because the DVD is being held up on release because of some mult-million dollar deal between NBC and Bravo. It is a great book for what it is and the background about the development of the roles and characters from the shows creators are incredible. However, don't have your heart set on being told the whole story from this book because there's a lot they left out.
on June 22, 2002
I love little pieces of trivia that no one else knows, which is why I bought this book. I love The West Wing, and I love reading the scripts, but honestly, there are quite a few sites on the web that have the same 6 scripts that are in this book, on them. Honestly, I love Aaron Sorkin's writing best of all, and his introduction is a great peice of work. He tells little anecdotes that no one else would know, which is one of the reasons I love it. Buy the book for the introduction, if not for anything else.
on August 16, 2003
I was so happy when the script book finally came out. Even though it only contains six scripts of Aaron Sorkin's incredible writing, it's much better than nothing at all. I found this to be just like watching the episode in my head. I guess the only thing I wish is that there were more scripts in it! Other than that, it is great. If you love "The West Wing" or Aaron Sorkin's writing, buy this. You will not be disappointed!
on March 10, 2003
This excellent book, along with the Topping book, gives great details, as to what was said, especially when the actors speak in a whisper. The Topping book gives background on the actors and to some of the detailed references in the episodes. If you want details and are a "Wingnut", i.e., a rabid fan, as I am, get both.
on December 11, 2002
DON'T get this book if you want the script for the series' best episode to date, "In Excelsis Deo" I bought it solely for that and was sorely disappointed to find out that the script for that episode is not in the book. The book description above needs to be changed to prevent future mix-ups.
on March 25, 2004
"The West Wing Script Book" is a must for fans of this fabulous show! It's great to see the scripts and to see what the actors worked with. If you've seen the episodes, you'll be able to imagine all of the scenes and mannerisms. Just wonderful. I recommend.