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on December 11, 2006
The West Wing is by far the best television series I've ever seen. 5 stars for that. However this set, although nice to look at, has too many flaws for me to recommend it very highly. 3 stars for this set.

My main gripe is that there are no English subtitles. Why not? There is plenty of space on the disks and subtitles don't take up that much. The gain would be far greater than the cost!

I often have to rewind episodes three or four times to catch a phrase that I can't quite make out hearing the first or second time. There is often so much background noise (sirens, crouds, music, etc) that one can't make out all the brilliant dialogue by only listening to the audio.

The UK editions have English subtitles, so why can't the American versions?

Another gripe is the packaging. While it is very nice to look at on the shelf, cleverly designed with file folders holding each season, it is impractical and scratches the disks! The folders are hard cardboard and the slits (not even lined with felt or soft material) are so narrow you have to really press the disks in, damaging and scratching them up!

The UK boxed set uses 22 slimline DVD cases, holding two discs each, all packaged within season-by-season slip cases.

If your DVD player can play European DVD's, I recommend paying a little extra and ordering the UK version instead: ASIN B000I8OC08 on Amazon.co.uk. It has the same 21+ hours of extras this set has so you won't be missing anything except the booklet and script, which frankly doesn't add much value.

EDIT: As somebody kindly pointed out in the comments, seasons 1-5 have subtitles. Only seasons 6 & 7 are without English subs. Also, if you do consider buying the UK edition, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A REGION FREE DVD PLAYER, or that your player can play European DVD's. Read the comments to this review for tips on how to check your player. Thanks for voting and commenting! :)
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on November 20, 2006
There is no question in my mind the "The West Wing" was one of the greatest drama series on television ever. And if you've been holding out on buying the DVDs until this box set was released then I would suggest you part with some cash immediately. The issue for a lot of people reading these reviews, however, is going to be whether or not they are going to want to replace individual box sets with this release. I'm not going to suggest to you what the best move is, although in the next few days you're going to see my box sets on sale, but this is really a decision on whether or not you want a beautifully packaged set. That is what this is. The 'leather' folder the disks come in is perfect in terms of design for this series. The two 'books' that the set contains are glossy, and the pictures are beautiful. It is also a welcome change to see seasons 1 to 4 discs one -sided as opposed to the previous release. The individual folders that the disks here come in are sturdy enough and again well designed. However, I can't spot any additional extras on the discs. The foreward by Aaron Sorkin also isn't new - it's taken from the first Scriptbook that was released. So if you are a Wingnut, chances are you've seen everything here before and as I said it really comes down to the packaging and the fact that you were going to buy Season 7 anyway so why not splurge on this. I'm giving it 4 stars as opposed to 5 because I can't quite forgive the makers for Season 5 and also because it would have been nice of them to include something extra for the Wingnuts here considering it is us who are really going to be purchasing this set.
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on February 23, 2007
I remember very distinctly the revelatory feeling I had back in the Fall of '99 as I tuned in to this much-ballyhooed series from some guy named Aaron Sorkin, who had previously worked on a show I'd never watched (Sports Night) and a couple of movies I'd never seen (The American President, A Few Good Men). It took mere minutes for me to realize that this Sorkin guy was the real deal.

In rapid-fire succession we were introduced to Sam Seaborne (Rob Lowe), Leo McGarry (John Spencer), CJ Cregg (Allison Janney), Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), and Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), the senior staff of a fictional presidential administration, along with the equally-rapid-fire walk-and-talk style that became the series' hallmark under director/executive producer Thomas Schlamme.

By the time that first episode ended, with its closing minutes serving as our first introduction to President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen), intoning "I am the Lord thy God..." with his trademark twinkle, I was hooked. Somehow Sorkin, assisted ably by his journeyman cast of famous and familiar faces, had managed to make me care about a show I had no business caring about. Those first few seasons were about as perfect a collective of television episodes as has ever been produced. Ever. And they have the raft of Emmys (24) to prove it.

It's truly a testament to the bravura power of creator Sorkin that he was able to create characters of such lasting vividity that three years after his exit that initial fondness diminished not one iota, not even through cast departures bitter (Lowe's salary-dispute led to his exit in year four) and sudden (Spencer's death by heart attack).

Looking back at real-life events of the past six years, from 9/11 to Afghanistan to Iraq, from rendition to torture to domestic spying, it was always reassuring to cast a wistful eye towards The West Wing, and imagine a White House where intelligence prevailed over belligerence, and what was right was more important than what was expedient. It made us believe that public service was something honorable. Maybe it was misguided idealism, but idealism is something I think we place too low a premium on. The West Wing made us believe in idealism as a trait that's worth having.

And so, as he heads off to the Valhalla of syndicated immortality, let us stop to bid a hearty hail and farewell to Jed Bartlet, the greatest president we never had.

The faux-leather attache case contains the entire series on forty-five discs, plus the complete pilot script written by the man himself. Whether you followed the show for the duration of its run or haven't yet had the pleasure, there's never been a better way to own one of the greatest shows in TV history than in this gorgeous box.
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on January 23, 2007
Wow, what a joy it was to actually get my hands on this wonderful series.

It is everything I thought it would be, except that after season four, English subtitles are no more. Being a hearing impaired person, I was very very disappointed to find this out. The booklet never said...interestly the Individual box sets have English sub titles...So, If you're hearing impaired or deaf, buy the box set individually....it is a good series thought...
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on November 21, 2011
I just received the complete series and really enjoy the West Wing.I have watched the first 52 episodes. But the quality of the DVDS is very bad. Despite my best efforts at cleaning the disks I have missed 9 episodes so far. My DVD player will not play them. At this rate when I am finished I will miss about 26 episodes. So you may want to think twice before buying this series.
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on November 17, 2013
Firstly, The 5 stars are both for the series itself, and the product itself. If you've never seen The West Wing, you're missing out on one of the best ensemble dramas there is. Not to mention it's a great insight (however fictional) into how the presidential office runs, and contains episodes with incredible story lines and issues (gov't shutdown? Homosexuals in the Military? A dictator causing mass genocide? Islamic Fundamentalists?) that sometimes end with the office 'winning' and sometimes with them losing. Whether you're a liberal or Democrat (the party of the president in the series) or not, you can appreciate the struggle and conflict inherent in running the nation. Plus there is an incredible cast.

Secondly, this product is incredible. Over the summer I managed to watch the entire series, and so I had started to buy the DVDs, starting with season 1. Since that's all I had, when the complete series came on sale at $75, I couldn't resist. There are seven seasons spread over forty five discs in all. You get the screenplay for the pilot episode, and an episode guide, and of course the discs for all seven seasons. There doesn't seem to be any extra special features than what are already on the previous release, so if you're buying this to replace the 7 seasons in other format, it's probably not worth the money. All of the discs are packaged into thin cardboard folders, one for each season, so that everything fits into the box. Faux-leather is wishing a little too much, but the box is a sturdy paper covered cardboard with a magnet closure and looks great.

Now, onto the issues other reviewers have encountered.

When I received the series, the first thing I did was open it and make sure I had all the discs and check for scratches. Once that was done, I spent a weekend playing all 45 discs. Tedious? Very, although I simply skipped through by chapter to make sure the audio and visual played, then continued on. But I surmised that all of my discs were playable, and only 3 out of the 45 had scratches. Yes the paper envelopes hold them closely, and scratches are pretty probably because of that, but a few small scratches aren't cause for alarm, and people forget you can fill scratches and it's generally still playable. If you take them out carefully, and make sure dust/sand don't get into the envelopes, I can't see this being a problem.
I've also read a few reviews about missing discs, blank discs, missing other things, and can only assume someone was buying them from a 3rd party seller who wasn't honest, but selling on the cheap. Always read those seller reviews! I bought directly through Amazon and the product came brand new, shrink-wrapped, with adequate padding and no damage whatsoever. Perhaps there was at one point someone who was selling these for a sham on Amazon, but Amazon itself is selling the real deal.

And a bonus feature-the first few seasons of The West Wing were packaged on double sided discs originally when they were released, which causes playing problems (like my original season one). This set has everything on one-sided discs, and I haven't caught any lags, pixelated bits, or problems so far that I have on a few of my other season one discs (found after the return period ended). To me this is worth the set rather than the individuals.

On the whole, I'd definitely buy this product from Amazon. I got it for $75 during the pre-black friday sale, so the price was perfect for the product and I'm very pleased.
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on June 25, 2014
Several discs would not play at all. Should have read other reviews, add this seems to be a common problem. Appeared to be in brand new never opened condition, and the discs looked pristine. No scratches, just defective discs. Very dissapointed. I recommend testing each disc for playability immediately after purchase, as if u discover bad discs after the return window closes, you have no recourse.
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on October 10, 2010
After struggling through the commercial laden presentations of the cable channel reruns of West Wing, I spent the money to buy the complete series. It was money very well spent. "The West Wing" was to my mind the best television drama series of its time -- maybe of all time. It cost a ton of money to produce, and it shows it. Today's trashy, cheaply
produced, "reality programming" will be forgotten as soon as its aired. Thankfully, these DVD's will endure, to remind us of what television...even commercial television.....once was.

The quality of the DVD's seems as good as the televised originals. But the packaging of the set is trashy. The disks slip into tight carboard slots, in cardboard file folders. The file folders, one for each of the seven seasons of the series, slip into a cardboard box. Looks OK on the book shelf, and conserves space. But over time, the cardboard slots will surely damage the DVD's. Their only protection is in the form of thin polyethylene sleeves -- little sacks, which wrinkle up in the cardboard slots. Terrible packaging for a great set of DVD's.

After watching many of the discs, I find that many of them have a poor surface appearance, with dirt spots and scratches. Some of the episodes play very poorly, with picture artifacts, stopping and starting, or they completely freeze. The surface condition problems may be caused by the trashy packaging I mentioned earlier. I would downgrade my rating on this item simply due to overall poor technical quality.
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on October 11, 2013
Ordered this for my husband, He started watching it immediately, but there are a lot of discs to go through so by time hit season 6 and found bad discs was past return date. Had read reviews about bad discs but thought bought from outside supplier - THIS WAS SOLD BY AMAZON AND HAD BAD DISCS- buyer be aware.
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on April 28, 2008
The packaging and dvd quality are excellent, however, the subtitles are terrible-I had to turn them off and use my TV captions. The subtitles on the discs are abbreviated and often summarize incorrectly the words being spoken-and, after all, the series was wonderful because of the words being spoken. They've done a disservice to the hearing impaired.
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