The West Wing was an NBC hit that ran from 1999 to 2006. Produced by Aaron Sorkin, it won just about every award going, including three consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Drama, plus gongs for cast members including Alison Janney, Alan Alda, and of course the man playing President Josiah Bartlett himself, Martin Sheen. The show had a glossy look and was noted for its long "walk and talk" sequences, where the camera would track two characters or more on a hike through the hallways of power.
The West Wing followed the administration of a president so virtuous that even back then, it would be hard to imagine such a good person making it so far up the greasy pole of politics. Still, it wasn't an entirely unrealistic show, with petty infighting among the White House team and all sorts of partisan bickering and backstabbing. The producers went to the trouble of hiring real political commentators from both sides of the aisle to consult on the show, ensuring that even views that were not popular in the writers' room were given a fair hearing in the mouths of smart characters who could hold their own.
Ultimately, as with all shows, it was the characters that really made it work and kept the viewers coming back. From President Bartlet to his straight-talking Chief of Staff, his no-nonsense Press Secretary, his badass wife, and his loyal assistants and beyond, the West Wing cast became our friends and even our fantasy elected officials. Let's see how well you remember them!
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