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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 20, 2006
Alan Alda must feel blessed to have been such an integral part of two of the greatest shows in television history. The creative forces behind the West Wing gathered their collective strengths and gave the series the ending it deserved. Decades from now I'll be pulling out these discs and watching them.

With horror and sadness we learned last December that John Spencer had suddenly passed. West Wing fans grieved and sent their prayers on behalf of Mr. Spencer and those who had actually known and loved him. We can see that some of that love and respect gets translated to the show and the episodes that swirl around Leo's death are among the most heart-breaking I've ever seen on screen. When Kristin Chenoweth as Annabeth tells Bradley Whitford as Josh that Leo has died her tears didn't look at all like "acting". The same can be said for the expressions on the faces of all of the actors at Leo's funeral, ending with Martin Sheen as President Bartlet.

The storyline of this season centers on the Presidential race with Jimmy Smits portraying Congressman Matt Santos against Alda's Senator Arnold Vinick. This ticket was clearly the fantasy of the liberal writers as even the Republican candidate is pro-choice, insults some NRA-type vigilantes and all but thumbs his nose at the religious right. As Vinick's campaign is derailed somewhat in the aftermath of a nuclear accident in California a particularly shrewish right-winger is brought in to help the Senator woo back the republican base. Ron Silver continues in his role as Bruno Gianelli, the political strategist who only cares about winning - and knows how to do it. Patricia Richardson is effective as Vinick's assistant who tries to keep him on track. Janeane Garofalo serves as sparring partner to Josh as Lou, a democratic operative who gets almost as much pleasure from seeing Josh flounder (which he inevitably does for brief moments) as from helping her political causes. Teri Polo plays Helen - candidate Santos' wife - and this character always seems a little less enthusiastic than would be appropriate for the wife of a man who may become president.

Aside from the sensitive and respectful way the real-life death of John Spencer was worked into the fictional story, this season gets a few other things right. Where we may have been frustrated in the past at the lack of love lives of most of these characters for years - all in the service of their country - this season we get to see most of the principal characters hook up in one way or another. First daughter Ellie gets married in a White House ceremony curiously missing both of her sisters. (Although all three daughters make Leo's funeral.) Through their own obvious attraction and Donna's persistence Josh and Donna finally get together. In the opening of the first episode we're glad to see in flashback that C.J. and Danny Concannon have married and have a child, and in other episodes we get to see Danny's gentle courting techniques on one of the most powerful (and powerfully nice) women in the world. It's also gratifying to see some "old friends" show up in the final episodes such as Rob Lowe's return as Sam Seaborn. (Sam is recruited to duty by Josh in a scene that pays homage to the earlier flashback scene from season two when Josh conscripts Sam to the first "Bartlet for America" campaign.)

To the shows writers, directors, actors, and the professionals who shot, set and costumed the show: Bravo! I'll miss you dearly and watch these shows with enduring pleasure.

To the pinheads who decided to release these DVDs without any significant extras: A pox on your houses. While the first seasons came with full sets of subtitles, documentaries and commentary tracks in which performers, directors and creators couldn't withhold their obvious glee - this season comes with next to nothing. The first seasons came with subtitles in English, Francais and Espanol. The last two seasons have not had an option for English subtitles. What if the viewer is hard of hearing?

What is the reason for these deficiencies? Laziness? Complacency? No doubt the almighty dollar played the major role. This show - and this show's fans - deserved better.

Rest in well-deserved and honored peace, John Spencer. Adieu, West Wing.
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155 of 171 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2006
It wouuld be difficult for me to truly describe the wonderful shock that is The West Wing's final season. I, like so many, had given up on The West Wing when Aaron Sorkin left, wished the show cancelled during its atrocious 5th season, and, honestly, found the show an irritating fantasy during the Sorkin-helmed 4th season anyway. Something astonishing happens during "The Ticket," the season's first episode - you feel, in its incredible pacing, structure, and emotional understatement - that Aaron Sorkin has not only returned but has regained all of his abilities as a writer. That he is not at all involved with the show means that writers like Eli Attie and Deborah Cahn have finally gotten their work as writers to both revive the lightning-quick trademarks of The West Wing while also justifying the often-unswallowable plot maneuvers of its previous two seasons. It occurred to me during "Message of the Week," a nimble and thrilling episode, that campaign-trail politics had never been so accurately represented, if they'd truly ever been attempted at all. That means The West Wing had found a reason to exist again, and that sense invigorated all the stories it surrounded - the White House's "leak" story, or the regional conflict between Kazhakstan and China. And, in a winning surprise, it also revived its still extraordinary cast - Bradley Whitford especially turns the stress of campaigning into a frayed study of stress and exhaustion, and with Janeane Garofalo at his side, he finds a sparring partner of incredible energy. The two's chemistry makes the workplace seem as vital a beast as this White House ever seemed in its prime.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2006
The West Wing: The Complete Seventh Season is a must buy! The series, which owes its genesis to the movie, The American President, is probably the best and most detailed study of the happenings at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue ever created for popular culture.

The seventh and final season brought back the sharp feistiness of the Sorkin/Schlamme days. Nearly all the main character stories were resolved; however, the Charlie/Zoe storyline was left hanging. This series was definitely not worthy of such a cowardly decision. (While it could be debated that Charlie was not a main character, the relationship was a major storyline over several seasons and worthy of a definitive resolution.)

John Spencer's death was an ironic and unexpected blow to the series. I'm glad that "Leo McGarry" was remembered in a way that was befitting both the character and the man who portrayed him.

Without a doubt, the entire series is a definite keeper!
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2006
The West Wing is my favorite television show of all time. Period. Nothing else comes even close. I could go on and on about the show, but others are doing an excellent job on that score, and that's not my point here.

My point is the awful, awful DVD. No English-language subtitles (for the second year in a row). Only two special features, both about the debate episode. No insight from the actors about their take on seven years of ground-breaking television. No tribute to John Spencer. I feel as if the folks at Warner Brothers Television knew they had their market well in hand, so the quality of the product really didn't matter. "No bother, we'll sell enough anyway." I'm one of those that bought it anyway, but I feel as if I got ripped off.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2006
When season 7 premiered on Sunday nights, I knew in my heart of hearts that this was the first nail in the coffin of the greatest television show in history. I was right. I consider myself to be one of the biggest fans of The West WIng and own the first 6 seasons on DVD. It's true the show lost alot of its magic and ratings when creator Aaron Sorkin left after season 4 but John Wells gave a valiant effort to the series. This season focused mainly on the race of the new president. Democrat Matt Santos was brilliantly played by Jimmy Smitts. Alan Alda one of the greatest actors to ever grace the screen was phenominal as Republican nominee Arnold Vinick. With the cast that this show had it's amazing this show was not at the top of the ratings. However there was some fluff in this season with the wedding episode, I felt that was a bit contrived myself. With the shocking loss of John Spencer I felt that it was the final nail in the coffin. A week later NBC announced that it was going to cancel the show at the end of the season. This gave the writers an opportunity to put closure on the show which I felt was well done with the final episode "Tommorow" and we said goodbye to our beloved characters. One thing I loved about the West Wing, when anyone returned to the show, they used the original actors and we see alot of familiar faces pop into this season including the triumphant return of Sam Seaborn played wonderfully by Rob Lowe. I dont think another show will ever be as good as The West Wing so I would encourage everyone to buy this series. It was smart, funny, sad, frustrating and just plain entertaining. Great show that will be missed!
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33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2006
The shows themselves are wonderful, but the people who put together this DVD set should be ashamed of this paltry effort! There are NO cast or staff interviews about the ending of such a wonderful series. NO commentaries. No English sub-titles. NO John Spencer honorarium of any kind. They didn't even take the time to include the 1 hour re-showing of the original pilot they aired before the finale! The only "extras" are two not-special-at-all special features dealing with the debate. This DVD set is definately NOT worth the money to buy it brand new.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2007
I too had almost given up on this show that I loved so much, especially in the season just after Aaron Sorkin left. That season was so dreadful, that I will probably not watch the DVDs even though I own them.
The sixth season showed much improvement with the addition of Alan Alda and Jimmy Smits, and the return of intricate plotting and literate, sparkling dialogue. This last season, as others have mentioned, was nearly as good as the Sorkin years. Gritty, finely-tuned plotting,
risk-taking with such episodes as the Debate, (originally broadcast live), and the appropriate final developments in characters and plot.
Instead of thinking this show had overstayed its welcome, I found myself wishing that there would be another season. Bringing back the Rob Lowe (Sam Seaborn) character was a classy touch; I only wish there had been more scenes with him. These actors can, for the rest of their lives, be proud to have been associated with this program.
The additional features in the West Wing DVDs are always welcome, but there's not much here.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2012
The West Wing was probably the best series ever. This episode was very good, but brought an end to a show I loved to watch. Why aren't there more shows written like this? Why doesn't Hollyweird take notice of the fact that The West Wing had and still has a great following; a huge number of people like myself, who watch the reruns and stream the videos over and over? I do wish the show had continued with the Santos' administration. With Josh, Sam and Donna still with the show and others from the original series making guest appearances, it might have had great ratings. Too bad they didn't at least try it. Maybe all those who love The West Wing as much as I should put together a petition and send it to NBC. Tell them we want The West Wing back. Get Sorkin back at his keyboard and do eight more years. I'm sure I'm just dreaming, but I'd like to see him try it again. We need better programming on television. We need more shows like The West Wing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2011
I liked the way the story progressed thoughout. This final season was slightly less dramatic (until the Leo incident), and more academic than the rest. After watching all seven seasons I wonder why anyone would even want to be President. However, of some minor flaws along the entire series, I'm still very impressed by it all. I highly recommend it to anyone that is willing to look past the story lines and just watch the human interaction with the process. It's a very well told story.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2006
With all The West Wing's Emmy Awards, it was truly a landmark series. For it to go off the air with a ratings wimper, well, that's the way it goes sometimes. But quality-wise, the show rebounded nicely from the low point that was its fifth season. The real shame here is the lack of any extras worth watching. When there was no show retrospective before the final episode, NBC blamed the actors who wanted money for their time. Why there was nothing done for John Spencer or any insight on how his death changed the final season is a shame on those who put this package together, obviously on the cheap. And what is with the "See other disks for extras" prompt that is on all 6 disks? Yes, the episodes are quality television, but the product that is Season 7 is a MAJOR disappointment. This show earned its status, to treat it like an afterthought is plain sad.
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