on April 14, 2015
I was quite happy to see the price of this set combined with all the seasons was about 60% of the complete series set price, now for the bad part, they are double sided disks for season 1-3 making it near impossible to store in a cd wallet or load into a dvd changer, the case they come in did not handle the shipping as most of the disks for all seasons were knocked loose, some of them even looked like they had been stepped on there were so many creases on the spine. I am going to say without putting them in my dvd player that some of them are too damaged from bouncing around against the hard plastic leaving scratches on the disk. seasons 4 and 5 had great packaging like a book and were not double sided disks, season 6 and 7 also not single sided and the case loads 2 disks per leaf of the insert.
on December 30, 2013
I absolutely love this show, from cast to writers. The pace and occurance of one-liners is fast and fabulous. The dialogue assumes the audience actually have brains, and it goes a long way in explaining what is right & what's wrong with the political machine. You can really learn alot from this show. Its been awhile since this show ended and I wore out my vcr tapes of it but now I plan on replacing all the tapes with dvds.
on September 29, 2003
This was the show that began the 'Government Craze' in television. The West Wing was truly original: a compelling drama, a trendsetting program, and a look into the inner workings of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue through the lives of the administration's most powerful people. That a show like this, without explosions and seldom a gunfight to be seen, could become so wildly popular is a testament to the ability of the American People to spot quality artistry. It certainly has renewed my hope in this country.
The premise of the show is that the viewers would see the inner workings of the executive branch through the most powerful people working there. Martin Sheen plays the President, Jed Bartlett, a highly principled and highly educated man who is nevertheless idealistic about America. John Spencer plays his Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, Bartlett's closest adviser and confidante. Bradley Whitford plays Josh Lyman, McGarry's deputy and occasional loose cannon. Richard Schiff plays Director of Communications Toby Ziegler, a humorless, no-nonsense administrator. In the first few seasons, his deputy was played by Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn, who often brought humor and warmth to the show. There are countless other guest stars who would contribute to this show and deeply enrich it, making a show about politics both incredibly informative and deeply character-driven.
Some first season highlights include the Pilot, which introduces the characters in their element rather than just settling for lengthy exposition and has a few of the characters in trouble immediately with various groups. One need only watch the famed episode "In Excelsis Deo" to realize what a special show this would become. Other good shows include "A Proportional Response", in which the president learns the virtue of, well, proportion in foreign policy. "Mr. Willis of Ohio" is the story about a politician who actually makes decisions according to facts and conscience instead of polling and party lines. "The Crackpots..." features the first "Big Block of Cheese Day", which would become a kind of tradition in the show and afforded some humor as well as an examination of the fringe groups.
In short, The West Wing combines entertainment with education and, for what will perhaps be the only time, doesn't compromise either ideal. No wonder it's the most respected show on television. This belongs in everyone's DVD library.
on January 18, 2004
Needless to say, West Wing is an excellent TV show and the first season has some of the very best episodes.
Unfortunately, the DVDs are extremely poor quality and, so far, I have discovered that one of the discs in the set that I received is completely unplayable. The very first time I took it out of the box, I found that 5 tracks on the disc simply freeze repeatedly and eventually stop playing at all.
The show is great, but the DVDs are junk.
on June 24, 2004
I missed WW on TV. When I heard about it I rented the first season DVDs. What a show! It is just great. It will make you laugh and make you cry. This has got to be one of the best shows out there.
And, I have seen a lot of movies. One of the few movies that I agree with the critics on.
Warning: Be carefull, if you buy it or rent it you will be hooked. Very difficult not to start watching the next episode when the previous one ends.
The series deals with many current issues and shows us how the people behind the politics really try to do their best (in most cases). Not that this is real life, mind you. But could sure serve as an inspiration to those that serve as our elected officials and those that aspire to serve in that capacity in the future.
What else can I say. Buy a copy, rent a copy but you just have to see this series. Then let us all know what you think.
I was blown away. I think you will be too.
on June 19, 2004
I, like many other people, am very glad Aaron Sorkin created "The West Wing". Seasons 1 through 4 of the series (written by Mr. Sorkin) represent, in my view, the best drama program on commercial television since ...... umm ...... give me a few months and I might be able to come up with something (but it won't be an easy assignment).
It would be extremely difficult indeed to come up with a TV series that had a rookie season as spectacular as "The West Wing". Each and every one of the 22 first-season episodes located on this 4-Disc DVD collection is truly memorable. Not a bad apple in the bunch, in my opinion -- which is remarkable for any series that was just getting its feet wet.
This tremendous batch of programs includes "Five Votes Down", "Enemies", "In Excelsis Deo", "A Proportional Response", and "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet". These episodes, and all the others in this 1999-2000 campaign, are so darn good, I felt like re-watching each one of them two minutes after viewing them via these DVDs.
The crafting of each episode is absolutely remarkable and worthy of high praise. The effort (and obvious care and precision) that goes into shooting just one scene is amazing. Take for instance one of the very first scenes ever filmed (for the Pilot; which is discussed by actor John Spencer in one of the very informative Making-Of documentary pieces contained on Disc 4 of this set) -- As Mr. Spencer explains in the featurette, the scene in question (one of those long, walking-the-White-House-corridors-while-talking-a-mile-a-minute type of scenes, a "West Wing" speciality) was originally written by Aaron Sorkin to be EIGHT different shots! But, instead, they filmed it as just ONE continuous "hallway walking" scene....and it's simply amazing.
The acting on "The West Wing" is equal to the excellent writing of Mr. Sorkin. Every character is drawn well and realized to their full potential by the great collection of actors and actresses that were assembled for this TV series. It's very difficult (I would imagine) for ANY "West Wing" fan to choose his or her "favorite" character on this show. They're ALL favorites. They're ALL that good.
We're not likely to see a TV program this well done for a long, long time. And it's a privilege now to be able to own these hall-of-fame-caliber shows on the DVD format.
These episodes look and sound just fine on DVD. Video is in the originally-aired television ratio of 1.33:1. (NOTE: Season Two's DVD set goes to Widescreen, even though that season, like this first season, was also originally shown in the Full-Frame (1.33:1) ratio. Season #2, however, WAS "composed" through the camera lens for EITHER a Full-Frame OR a Widescreen ratio presentation. And Season 2, just like #1, looks great on DVD.)
Sound comes from Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround tracks. Even though the shows are Full-Frame here, the Menus are anamorphic in nature.
A very nice bundle of Special Features is served up here, including Audio Commentaries for five episodes (in which Aaron Sorkin participates). Many other bonuses are located on Disc 4. Here's a look ...........
>> Two terrific behind-the-scenes Making-Of documentaries, entitled "The Primaries" (17 minutes long) and "The Inauguration" (29 minutes), which both give us interviews with many members of the cast and crew, including Mr. Sorkin and "President Bartlet" himself (Martin Sheen). Fabulous stuff here.
>> Two other shorter featurettes are "Capital Beat" (8 minutes), which includes interviews with real-life political "consultants", who helped put a true-to-life political face on the series. And "Sheet Music" (6 minutes), which talks about the show's music.
>> 4 Deleted Scenes (total run time of just over 5 minutes). These scenes can be accessed individually, or played back-to-back via a "Play All" selection.
>> "Gag Order" -- A three-minute gag reel of bloopers and assorted oddball on-set happenings. There are a couple really funny screw-ups presented here. But this is way too short. It leaves you yearning for more. But -- it's fun while it lasts.
>> "The West Wing Suite" -- This is a montage of some scenes from Season 1 of "The West Wing", with appropriate musical accompaniment. But I'm not entirely sure what purpose this bonus is supposed to serve here. It's nice, I guess, as a kind of "trailer" for Season One. It has a running time of just under 2 minutes.
>> "Off The Record" -- This bonus segment (of 3.5 minutes duration) is a collection of outtakes from the four featurettes/documentaries on the DVD.
>> Easter Egg -- There's a nifty little 2.5-minute "Egg" hidden on Disc 4 (the "Special Features" only disc). It highlights "Manny: Head Of Security", who is in charge of keeping people off the West Wing set when scenes are being filmed. This is a really fun Easter Egg, which also shows West Wing actor Richard Schiff having fun with "Manny" while riding around aimlessly on the studio lot in a golf cart-like vehicle. Kind of neat.
You access the "Egg" by hitting your remote's Left Arrow key followed immediately by the Right Arrow key from any of the eight Special Features Menu choices on Disc #4. After performing this "Left then Right Arrow" combination you'll see a "Star" come on the screen. Pressing "Enter" or "Play" with the star on the Menu screen will access the "Manny" Easter Egg.
Overall, it's a pretty satisfying batch of supplements offered up for this boxed set. But, in the end, this DVD collection would have been worth the price even if the 4th disc of bonus materials was excluded altogether. For it's the twenty-two magnificent episodes themselves that are truly the stars here.
on June 12, 2004
I had only seen perhaps one show, about a year ago (to catch Danica McKellar's character), before I bought the first season.
I must say this was a pleasant surprise. Well-written by Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote two Rob Reiner films "A Few Good Men" and "The American President", the depth of the political and social subject matter is very good.
As most people know, the series has garnered many Emmy awards. I believe one was for episode #10 "In Excelsis Deo", in which a homeless vet dies overnight on a park bench wearing the coat Toby (Richard Schiff) donated to the Goodwill. This deeply unnerves Toby, who is determined that "no one in the US should be left behind". In a later scene, Toby is trying to arrange to have the man buried at Arlington national cemetery with an honor guard. President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) at first is against it and asks..."Toby, if we start pulling strings like this for everybody, you don't think every homeless veteran will come out of the woodwork?" Toby replies "I can only hope, sir."
There is humor in the series as well. In one funny scene, the president had taken some medication for his bad back, and was higher than a kite. "You mean you're not supposed to take them both?"
I've just finished season two...waiting for season three.