The West Wing

I’ve been rewatching The West Wing, the fantastic Aaron Sorkin series set in the White House. We watched this on first run (on free-to-air TV) until about… fifth season I think? When Aaron Sorkin left (was pushed?) we stopped watching as we thought the quality of writing took a downturn.  My wife bought the whole DVD set for me for my birthday and it was a brain wave on her part – I’d mentioned it previously but never seriously, I didn’t have it in mind as a possible gift, and I’m really glad she made that leap.

I’m currently 3/4 of the way through the second season. I wont spoil it for anyone considering watching the series, but I urge anyone, if they get a chance, to watch it. People talk about The Sopranos being groundbreaking…

It’s the American leadership that everyone wishes was actually in the White House – smart, dedicated people who make mistakes but really do want to make a difference according to their beliefs. While I’m sure there are some people like that in government service (there and here), the perception of what we have is people who seek power for power’s sake and then will do everything they can to keep it, while enriching themselves and/or their mates.

Finally… TWW holds a special place in my memory because it was what I was watching on the night of September 11, 2001. There was an ad break, with a short news announcement that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre. I remember the surreal feeling that it was part of the show. The episode finished and we went straight to the news and a live cross to New York. And I remember standing in front of the television when the second plane arrived. I watched it happen. And that surreal feeling turned to a realisation that the world had dramatically changed forever.