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The West Wing: Season 4
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(Apr 05, 2005)
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Follow the re-election of President Bartlet to his second term and witness the gripping personal crisis that forces him to chose between the best interests of the country and those of his family. Compelling and clever storylines reveal the inner workings of the White House in this innovative, multiple Emmy-Award-winning drama series from producers John Wells ("ER," "China Beach"), Aaron Sorkin ("Sports Night") and Thomas Schlamme ("Sports Night"). The West Wing's fourth season received 15 Emmy nominations and 2 wins including, Best Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.]]>
Lowe's Sam Seaborn picks a new fate at the spur of the moment and is eventually replaced by the very person whose verve he was swept up by--a harried, vastly intelligent campaign manager, Will Bailey (Josh Malina, best known for his work in creator Aaron Sorkin's previous show, Sports Night). He's an excellent fit for the West Wing, both fictionally and for the series. Part of the show's success belongs to the continuity, helped immensely by high-caliber guest stars continuing long runs on the show, including Mary-Louise Parker, John Amos, Marlee Matlin, Tim Matheson, Timothy Busfield, Lily Tomlin, Anna Deavere Smith, and Ron Silver (hey, that's a pretty good cast for their own show). One-time guest stars are also used to the fullest. Notice how a single-episoe appearance by Christian Slater (as a naval attaché who strikes Donna's fancy) turns into a three-episode arc. Matthew Perry delivers an Emmy-nominated performance in a key role in the season's final arc. This fourth season was capped by the departure of creator-writer Sorkin and producer-director Thomas Schlamme, plus another Emmy win for Best Drama, its fourth straight. Many were surprised or even angered that the series kept up the winning streak. Perhaps the series was not as relevant to the times as four years earlier, but the proof is in the pudding--the series was still in rarefied air by the end of this season.
Luckily, Sorkin and Schlamme were invited to air the commentaries for the DVDs, here on three episodes. It allows them to talk about their departure, a subject barely mentioned in the two making-of featurettes. One deals with speechwriters and other with Stockard Channing's role on the show. Note: the documentaries and deleted scenes are hard to find. Look for the pointer (>) at the bottom right of the special features menu of the sixth disc. --Doug Thomas
- 22 episodes on six discs
- Commentary by Aaron Sorkin, Thomas Schlamme, Allison Janney, and others on "Commencement," "Game On," and the season finale "Twenty-Five"
- "Behind Every Good Man... Is the First Lady" featurette
- "The Letter of the Word" featurette
- Unaired scenes
- Easter egg
Top Customer Reviews
This season's biggest change was Rob Lowe's departure from the show, but that was alright, because we got the super-talented Joshua Malina to replace him. We met Toby's and CJ's dads in "Holy Night" and "The Long Goodbye", respectively. The former continues in the show's tradition of powerful, moving Christmas episodes, the latter is a greatly underrated family drama centering around CJ and her Alzheimer's-stricken father. These episodes pack plenty of emotional power, and there were other great episodes like "20 Hours in America," which tracked Josh, Toby and Donna through Indiana after they lost the motorcade, and "Life on Mars," which led to the departure of John Hoynes as Vice President, thanks to Matthew Perry's guest turn as Joe Quincy.Read more ›
01 - 20 Hours in America (1)
02 - 20 Hours in America (2)
03 - College Kids
04 - The Red Mass
05 - Debate Camp
06 - Game On
07 - Election Night
08 - Process Stories
09 - Swiss Diplomacy
10 - Arctic Radar
11 - Holy Night
12 - Guns Not Butter
13 - The Long Goodbye
14 - Inauguration (1)
15 - Inauguration (2): Over There
16 - The California 47th
17 - Red Haven's on Fire
18 - Privateers
19 - Angel Maintenance
20 - Evidence of Things Not Seen
21 - Life On Mars
22 - Commencement
23 - Twenty Five
As far as a review, I don't have anything more eloquent to write than what has already been written, so I'll just agree with the reviews that call this one of the greatest seasons of one of the greatest series ever created.
I also wanted to chime in on the debate of seasons five and six. I'll certainly stipulate to the fact that season five was awkward, but I'm very glad I stuck with the show because season six has been quite impressive in my opinion. As great as the Sorkin seasons? No, I wouldn't say that, but maybe as good as anything else available on TV this year (except reruns of seasons one thru four!) :)
This is anything but watching an hour of Capital Hill voting on CNN, though. There's an incredible cast including Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe who take you into the show and the world of politics. It's nowhere near stuffy; full of humor, love interests, and interesting information. From the first frame of the episode, you'll be glued to the TV. If you're interested in politics, or even if you're not, give this series a chance. You won't be sorry you did.
Martin Sheen is my President.
1) Put in Disk 6
2) Click "Special Features"
3) Next to "Main Menu" is this symbol ">" click on it and you got em!
Talk about non-intuitive design. Yeesh.
The quality is more uneven this year - in a documentary included in the "Season One" collection, Mr. Sorkin said that they tried to make EVERY episode as good as their "best" one, and the best episodes this year meet that criteria. There are 4 or 5 that are a little slower, though, including one where essentially no suspense is generated for an entire episode because a landing gear light doesn't come on on Air Force One.
The high points are very high, though, and include the annual Christmas episode (strong in EVERY season of this multiple-emmy winning show). Another high point comes when newcomer Will Bailey talks the President into a new foreign policy that includes military intervention for humanitarian reasons. (The fictional nation of Kundu serves as a genocide reminder of the World's failure to intervene in Rwanda). Speaking of Will Bailey - he is ably played by Josh Malina, and it must have been daunting to step in Rob Lowe's shoes and Sam Seaborn's office. His initial encounters with President Bartlet remind us that many people would likely become tongue-tied when first standing in the oval office.
The worst episodes are good television - the best episodes make me glad to be an American and a Human Being.
Absolutely worth the price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My husband and I love these. We are slowly collecting every season. Thanks to Amazon for the reasonable prices so we can.Published 11 days ago by Lillian Flowers
How you'd hope Washington would work, knowing though that House of Cards is probably more like reality. Even though - I'm voting for Jeb Bartlett for President!Published 5 months ago by Robert Spinks
Everything promised. Speedy delivery. Thanks! Sorry for the delay in posting. Computer problems. Great Series!Published 5 months ago by Doris Judy O'connor
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