on May 16, 2004
This DVD would have been a 5 star rating (and it is, for the content), but the widescreen is seriously off. I'm not sure if I got a faulty one (for some reason Future Shop here in Canada had it out this weekend, though the release date's not till the 18th) but there are vertical black bars on the rolling of the credits and scenes from previous episodes, and during the actual episodes, there are no horizontal bars at all (as is usually the case with widescreen). Has anyone else experienced this bizarre flaw? (And yes, all the other widescreen DVDs I have work fine with my DVD player).
on July 28, 2015
Previous comments hold true. Problems with viewing episodes on disc 3 start with episode 18,. The whole of side B or side 2 is unusable. While sound is there, the visual pauses continuously and does not advance, or when one can get it going does not sync with the audio. It is amazing that this quality of production continues to be sold with the problems that have been reported. There was a minor problem with disc 2, but one is able to get past it and continue to enjoy the episodes.
on February 14, 2004
For four years, the West Wing was largely considered the best show on TV, and not without good reason. Although this could have turned into a liberal lovefest, the show managed to tap into and rediscover a pride and optimism in our government that our founding fathers must have felt. Far from being venal, corrupt parasites, the politicians of The West Wing were talented and generous people who truly care about the country and struggle to make the right decisions, which often literally are between life and death. It's no wonder that this splendid little shade of fantasy continues to be popular, especially when we have becomed accustomed to expecting less and less from those who are running our country.
The West Wing's second season had the show really beginning to hit its stride. In my mind, the show hit its peak here and in the third season, with plenty of new drama and surprises. The season starts in the aftermath of the previous cliffhanger, with the President and Josh being shot by white supremacists and everyone else struggling to get through it all. Then, the season begins to move along. Among the highlights: Emily Procter begins her recurring role as Ainsley Hayes, a Republican lawyer working in the White House and constant sparring partner for Sam; another "Big Block of Cheese Day"; a great Christmas episode in which Josh is haunted by the news of a fighter pilot that shared his birthday who killed himself; an unexpected filibuster, and the discovery that the President has Multiple Sclerosis, which is impressively explored in the episode "17 People". The episode takes the form of a series of fiery dialogues between Toby and the President and is filled with tension, but is lightened up by its subplot of staffers trying (unsuccessfully) to come up with jokes for the President. The juxtaposition is inspired, and the episode sets up what would become a key issue in the show for the upcoming season.
In conclusion, this is a season that brought much bellowing laughter and heart-gripping drama, often in the same episode, which is an Aaron Sorkin trademark if there is one. The West Wing is an incredible piece of work, and it definitely merits repeat viewings. Go ahead and get it. You owe it to yourself.
on May 30, 2004
Before I get to my review, I just want to say that this talk of widescreen not working for the credits is mistaken. The reason why is that the second season of the show was originally filmed in widescreen, but it was shown, at least in the US, in fullscreen. Therefore when they made the masters of the credits and the "previouslies," they were done in fullscreen. Later, in order to match them with the widescreen shows on the DVDs the fullscreen credits are "boxed" with black bands on either sides. You may or may not like the effect, but it's not a mistake, and the widescreen does work, if you watch the actual show.
Now, to get to my actual review, the second season of "The West Wing" is simply some of the best television ever made. If you can only own one season, this is the one to get. The season is bookended by some of the best episodes of the entire series, with gems such as "Shibboleth," "Noel," and "Somebody's Going to Emergency..." in between. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll learn, but most of all these episodes are just a delight to watch again and again. "The West Wing" has the perfect blend of comedy and drama that is so rare in TV today. The picture and sound on this DVD set are just gorgeous. In short, I can promise you won't regret this purchase.
on June 20, 2004
Words cannot express the sheer euphoria that one feel after watching the season finale "Two Cathedrals". It was drama at its finest, pure unadulterated form. Heck, I would become a US citizen if it had a president and senior white house staff as what Bartlet got. It shows what we aspire our politicians to be, what we hope they would turn out to be, in the annals of power.
Aaron Sorkin has conjured up an array of characters and their stories which defy description and blows away every other show on TV. I have never loved a series such as this, Seinfeld and CSI comes close but still nowhere near The West Wing.
Once again, you dont have to be an american to enjoy what this series has to offer. It would help to understand the political scenario a bit, but you just need to be capable of enjoying a good drama. And once in a while if you forget its all fiction and actually begin waiting for the day for people with integrity and character to serve you from the West Wing, then get out there and vote them in to power.
on February 23, 2004
I think that in many cases, the second season of a TV show is its best season. Why is TV so often completely opposite from sophomore efforts in music and movies? From my own observations it's because in the second season of a TV show, the actors have gained a comfortable grasp on how to portray the deeper parts of their character. At the same time, the show still has the freshness of a new show, the same rich texture that won it a debut to begin with; the writers are still developing plots that don't feel stale, so the show hasn't lost that "new car smell". Of course there are exceptions: shows that run out of steam soon after they start, and shows that just seem to keep getting better even after the second season.
I don't know if The West Wing's second season is its best, but it definitely includes some of the best episodes. Great writing, great acting, great sets and music, all come together to form what has become my favorite TV show ever.
Season Two includes these episodes:
In The Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part 1)
In The Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part 2)
In This White House
And It's Surely To Their Credit
The Lame Duck Congress
The Portland Trip
The Leadership Breakfast
The Drop In
Bartlet's Third State of the Union
The War at Home
Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail
The Stackhouse Filibuster
Bad Moon Rising
The Fall's Gonna Kill You
18th and Potomac
(You can look up an episode guide if you want a quick summary of the plots; I didn't want to spoil any surprises here.)
I doubt Warner will include the special episode "Isaac and Ishmael" in this set. This episode was written after the 9/11 attacks, and aired a week before the start of Season Three; thus, if it is included with a regular season, it will probably be the third.
on June 3, 2004
After viewing this season's DVD set numerous times, I'm convinced that it represents not only the best season in terms of the WW series, but also some of the finest television today. Starting off with a bang (no pun intended), we see the roots of the Bartlet campaign as Josh Lyman holds on for his life following the VA shootings that ended season 1. As the characters slowly recover from the traumatic experience, the series shifts to President Bartlet's MS and his bid to run for reelection. You get the feeling that Aaron Sorkin picked up on some of the criticisms of last season's so-called grandstanding and soapbox sermonizing, as he delved deep into the personalities of each of the cast members to show a kind of pain and longing that binds them together through thick and thin, this time through standing behind Jed as he admits to the country that he lied about his health. The season (along with Season 3's two-part opener "Manchester") takes a swooping bow into the reelection year with the kind of heart and vigor that's rarely seen by movies nowadays.
The highlights are a plenty throughout the magnificent season, peaking with the focus pieces on each staff member: Sam's father in "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going To Jail", Josh's post-traumatic stress disorder in the emmy-winning "Noel", Toby's ethical battles and toe-to-toe face off with POTUS in my personal favorite, "17 People", and a look into Jed's past with what has to be one of the most sublime and superbly acted episodes in the season finale "Two Cathedrals".
We get a gentler and smoother hand guiding us this season, a contrast to last season's desperation leading up to the semi-forced "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet" that finally brought the gang ready to play. In season 2, you see a more serious and deeper exploration of above all things, a surrogate family struggling to survive and depending on eachother as things get tougher, leading up to Jed's announcement for reelection, done with such great skill that you want to cheer, you want to cry, you want more.....which is a shame, since Season 3 just can't compare to the first two...
Especially this one.
on March 20, 2004
The last season ENDED in a brutal cliffhanger with an attempt on the President or Zoe. The last scenes were the staff and bystanders diving for cover as gunmen shot from windows in a nearby building. This season opens trying to untangle the confusion of that night and opens a rich, second season of the best drama on television. We are also treated to some great pre-first season moments, when the staff was managing Bartlet's presidential campaign. From my count there were 17 Emmy nominations this season - for writing, acting, and more - I've noted the episodes that were winners. My only complaint is that they're making us wait so long for these sets, when people overseas have had them already for almost a year - come on, it's OUR idealist leadership. But to quote the deputy press secretary, "let's forget that you're a little late to the party and just embrace the fact that you showed up"
> In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (1) (*emmy)
> In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (2) (*emmy)
> The Midterms
> In This White House
> And It's Surely to Their Credit
> The Lame Duck Congress
> The Portland Trip
> Noël (*emmy)
> The Leadership Breakfast
> The Drop In
> Bartlet's Third State of the Union (1)
> The War at Home (2)
> Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail
> The Stackhouse Filibuster
> 17 People
> Bad Moon Rising
> The Fall's Gonna Kill You
> 18th and Potomac
> Two Cathedrals
on June 13, 2004
OK, so its hopelessly idealistic president leans left of center. And the score often resembles that of an afterschool special. Look beyond it, because "West Wing" is simply great television.
What made this show, and set it vastly apart from the rest of network television, from the first shot of the pilot was the peerless writing. The always witty dialogue, at equal moments sarcastic and sincere, comedic and tragic, delivered at breakneck pace is a sheer delight.
I've long felt this show to be the best comedy on TV. The moments of humor are deep, biting, and uncontrived; in other words, completely unlike any so-called "comedy" program. "And It's Surely to Their Credit" is a brilliant episode: Great humor, great drama. I laughed more often during this episode than in two entire seasons of "Friends."
Others have listed the 22 episodes. All are above average; most are excellent. Season Two has more polish than Season One; less of a liberal infomercial-feel than Season Three or Four (though Three and Four's allusions to Bush are entertaining.) This is the crème de la crème of the finest program network television has offered in the last decade.
on June 13, 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.
Season two literally takes up where season one ended, thanks to the season one cliff-hanger ending involving an assassination attempt. Season two continues to investigate a wide range of issues - from drug-company motives and profits, political asylum for persecuted Chinese Christians, education measures, and the president's muscular dystrophy.
The series still has some humor amid the drama. In one scene, after three months, the president finally meets an attractive young Republican attorney in her White House basement office - as she is drunk and dancing and singing in her bathrobe. He gives her a greeting humorously suggested earlier by Rob Lowe - "Yeah, Ainsley. I wanted to say hello and to mention, you know, uh...a lot of people assumed you were hired because you were a blonde Republican sex kitten, and, well, they're obviously wrong. Keep up the good work."
Waiting for season three.