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The West Wing: Season 4

440 customer reviews

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Product Description

West Wing: The Complete Fourth Season (DVD)

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.


The winning streak for this veritable show continues through its fourth year. As with many long-running series, The West Wing faces the inevitable--a cast member chooses to leave. But this show handles Rob Lowe's exit with such well-executed grace, a could-be-harmful experience (or at least sudden) is turned into an asset. The season begins with three staff members marooned in the heartland (played mostly for laughs) and ends with a dramatic cliffhanger even more powerful than the initial season's shooting. In between are 20 excellent episodes packed with the series' trademark wit and pace, and an uncannily ability to create excellent moments for the entire cast. The election nears and West Wingers brace for the final onslaught including a make-or-break debate. There's a horrible genocide in Africa changing the course of the Bartlett administration and a covert assassination with effects lingering throughout the season. There's also the now-annual flashback episode, this time to the first days at the White House (with another comforting appearance by Kathryn Joosten as Mrs. Landingham). The series also has its first episode set mostly outside the West Wing when C.J. (Alison Janney) goes back to Ohio for a high school reunion and visits her father (Donald Moffat) who is starting to feel the effects of Alzheimer's.

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

Special Features

  • 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

Product Details

  • Actors: Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford
  • Directors: Thomas Schlamme, Chris Misiano
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 28, 2007
  • Run Time: 1000 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (440 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007OY2N0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,237 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The West Wing: Season 4" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

216 of 228 people found the following review helpful By Adam Dukovich on February 15, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This season saw the end of a bright but sadly short-lived era. The West Wing was THE show to watch for four glorious years. There are those out there who might say that the show somehow lost steam in the final year of the Sorkin era, but I say unto you, listen not to them. When a highly regarded show undergoes (or is about to undergo) a major change, it is nitpicked to a great extent, and some people feel compelled to invent problems with it, for whatever reason. It is fortunate for the non-crazy, then, that this year proved so able to produce challenging, powerful drama. This season opens with presidential politics in full swing, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) campaigning for a second term facing a suspiciously Dubya-looking Republican contender portrayed by James Brolin (okay, he's more like a Bush caricature). After several great campaign-themed episodes at the season's beginning, politics-as-unusual would once again turn up in the halls of power at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

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.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By D. Meanea on April 1, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Since they don't list the eps in the technical details, here you go:

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!) :)
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Frank Gregg on March 4, 2005
Format: DVD
First of all, I'm a political science/history major and I'll still be the first to admit that I was a bit sceptical of this series. I just didn't think that they could make this show as interesting, informative, and especially funny as it ended up being. After watching about the first disk of the series, I was hooked and it had become my favorite show. The first season just blew my mind. I've now watched the rest of them, and they haven't let up a bit.

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.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Chris on April 8, 2005
Format: DVD
The Special Features are on disk 6!

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.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mark J. Fowler VINE VOICE on April 22, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I still don't completely understand what went on with creators Aaron Sorkin and Tom Schlamme leaving the West Wing after this season, but the Sorkin touch can still be seen and heard and felt on many of the episodes in this Fourth Season.

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.
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