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The West Wing: Season 6

4.5 out of 5 stars 406 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

West Wing: The Complete Sixth Season (DVD)

Experience the inner workings of the White House in this innovative, multi-award-winning drama series created by Emmy® winner Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night) and executive produced by Emmy® winners John Wells (ER), Alex Graves (Journeyman) and Christopher Misiano (ER). Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), as President Josiah Bartlet, continues to lead an acclaimed ensemble cast.The West Wing enters its sixth season with a total of 25 Emmy® Awards, including a win for Allison Janney (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series) for her portrayal of C.J. Cregg, newly promoted to Chief of Staff. Mary McCormack takes on series- star status as the brash new Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper. High-profile recurring guest stars include Emmy® Award winner Alan Alda as Arnold Vinick, a Republican senator from California with presidential ambitions; Emmy® winner Jimmy Smits as three-term Houston Congressman Matthew Santos; and Sam Robards, reprising his role as member of the press Greg Brock.



With the ghost of creator Aaron Sorkin fully expunged from the spotlit soundstage maze representing that most busy portion of the White House, the sixth season of The West Wing is less a return to form than it is a remaking of the things that were best about the show in the first place. There's C.J. and Josh throwing high-speed dialogue at each other; there's the tension and personality arc as characters are back in step with their original realization; there's the overarching story that runs throughout the 22 episodes along with the self-contained mini-dramas within each one; there are the new people who bind themselves to plots that are alternately tidy and messy, just like real life. The taking-stock the show's creative minds clearly did after a roundly drubbed season five had a lot of help from the necessity of thinking ahead to a new crop of faces and places as the Bartlett administration starts winding down its second term. Some of the plot points may be a little hard to swallow: Would C.J. really deserve to take over the Chief of Staff position? Would Josh really walk away from his dream job to pursue the seeming nightmare of running a presidential campaign for not-a-chance-in-hell Rep. Santos (Jimmy Smits)? Thankfully the answer turns out to be yes in these fully crafted episodes, even as they still sometimes ring with the people-don't-really-talk-that-way banter that makes up most of the conversation in the Oval Office or hallways of the elaborate set.

Jimmy Smits isn't the only welcome new regular face in season six. Alan Alda grandly returns to the medium that made him with effortless authority playing Republican senator and front-running aspirant to the West Wing's throne, Arnold Vinick. From his modest introduction, to the nuances of personality that slip through over the course of the season, Vinick is definitely one of the people we want to see more of. Adding her own personal flair and tweaking the subtleties of the scripts is Lily Tomlin as President Jed's protective secretary. Gary Cole plays smarmy and vapid with elan as the Vice President who believes he's heir apparent, and disgraced ex-VP Tim Matheson returns from the political graveyard, unbelievably believing he has a chance to win his party's nomination. The politics are still integral to the drama, with fiery President Martin Sheen refusing to go gentle into that good night of professional or personal shadows. The late, great John Spencer also brings poignancy to his last days as ex-Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, scenes made all the more touching by the actor's death in 2005. As with its best early seasons, The West Wing again proves that strong writing, top-flite production design, and authoritative acting always covers flashes of skepticism and makes great TV.--Ted Fry

Special Features

  • 22 episodes on six discs
  • Commentary by executive producer John Wells and executive producer/director Alex Graves on King Corn and 2162 Votes
  • Commentary by executive producers Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. and Christopher Misiano on In God We Trust
  • C.J. Cregg: From Press Secretary to Chief of Staff, a featurette on the Emmy-winning Allison Janney’s portrayal of C.J. Cregg during her years in the Bartlet Administration
  • Easter egg: A Conversation with John Spencer

Product Details

  • Actors: Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford
  • Directors: Tommy Schlamme, Chris Misiano
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 949 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (406 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EGEJI4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,789 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The West Wing: Season 6" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
. . . a far cry from the first four.

As has been much mentioned and debated in reviews at this website of the 5th season, all West Wing seasons after the first four (after which series creators Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme who had created the distinctive tone of the show were shown the exit by NBC) have to be considered as almost a completely different show. Even when thought of in this way, the 5th season was something of a disaster, both ratings-wise and creatively.

So this 6th season really had nowhere else to go but up. Yet, more than just going up, by mid-season the series started to hit a bit of a stride and find a new voice (whether you prefer it to the first four seasons is debatable -- personally I do not -- but at least it was watchable and good for what it was). This is the season in which the narrative of the show fractures, as most of the characters exit their original roles and take on new assignments. This includes C.J.'s unrealistic promotion from press secretary to Chief of Staff (quite an improvement for a character who didn't know what the census was for in the first season and is now the President's chief adviser on all policy issues), Josh leaving the White House to manage the presidential campaign of Rep. Matt Santos (unevenly played by Jimmy Smitts), Donna quitting the White House to work on the Vice-President's campaign, Toby doubling as press secretary, Charlie becoming a Special Assistant for C.J., and Leo becoming general wise man for the White House, with no real role except to recover from his heart attack.

The first part of the season deals with the Arab-Israeli peace talks and the aftermath of the death of Admiral Fitzwallace and Donna's injuries in the Gaza Strip.
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Format: DVD
The West Wing's Sixth Season was certainly a step up from its disastrous fifth season, which managed to cut the show's viewership in half and nearly got the show cancelled immediately after it. The viewing public didn't particularly take to the tenser version of TWW, complete with cliched TV spots a la Third Watch: for the episode Gaza, the narrator literally intoned "Someone from the West Wing won't be coming home." John Wells went back to his roots, and the result was unmitigated disaster. Rarely during the Sorkin era were there genuine crises to deal with (except at the end of the season, usually). West Wing is a show that you tune into for solid drama and smart, funny dialogue, not defibrilation.

Indeed, this season really proves superior to its predecessor, even though it does devolve to cheap narrative tricks at times to get people to tune in--that's right, I'm talking about making C. J. Chief of Staff when such a move in real life would make no sense, but they did get in an episode about "who's it going to be", and if it had been Josh, well, people would have been disappointed. After the wrapping up from the previous season, the show picks up with its story about the presidential race, even though the show's timeline is off by about a year. Initially there are a number of different candidates--for the Democrats, there's "Bingo" Bob Russell (Gary Cole), the replacement Vice President who might have moderate appeal but certainly has no brain; there's John Hoynes (Tim Matheson), the disgraced guy who used to have Russell's job and fancies himself a candidate, despite an adulterous scandal that involved leaking classified information. There's the Pennsylvania Governor, Baker (Ed O'Neill), who isn't in it for very long; and finally the dark horse, Texas Rep.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First - the bad: There are few "extras" on this set of West Wing DVD's. The early, glory days seasons were filled with jubilant documentaries and the "commentary" tracks were insightful. In this set the only "extra" of note is a terrific little documentary on the evolution of the character of Claudia Jean Craig - remembering CJ from her introductory scene where she pratfalls off the back of a treadmill to her eventual selection to succeed Leo as Chief of Staff. Also inexcusable (given how good the prior box sets are) is lack of English subtitles. If someone at your house is hard of hearing, better hope they can read French or Spanish.

Now - to the show. I fall in the category that considers "West Wing" among the best tv shows ever. Period. I also agree that the show took a disheartening turn for the worst with the departure of creator/writor Aaron Sorkin. This season has some excellent moments, but the moments that are not excellent are nearly painful.

The season 4 finale leads President Bartlet to try to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, over the protests of everyone else, especially Leo.

Later the Prez' Multiple Sclerosis acts up just in time for an historic summit in China.

With a nod towards reality the show recognizes that a new President must be elected, and about half of this season is devoted to the primary process, paring down the Dems choices between VP "Bingo Bob" Russell, scandal-prone former VP John Hoynes, and the new "character of substance", Texas Representative Matthew Santos (played well by Jimmy Smits).
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