: : : The West Wing - The Complete First Season

Story

Conventional wisdom prior to season one of The West Wing was that the only successful television shows were half hour sitcoms and hour long police, legal, or medical dramas. Building on surplus ideas from his film The American President and the walk-and-talk style of comedy and drama from his critically acclaimed television show Sports Night, Aaron Sorkin bucked the trend and created his masterpiece, one of the most memorable American political depictions to reach the big or small screen. Season one introduces viewers to a Nobel Prize-winning economist and unabashed intellectual president Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his key staff members, a newly elected Democratic administration trying to find its footing amidst the corridors of the White House's west wing. To the credit of its cast and their brilliant ensemble acting, The West Wing manages to immediately conjure nearly a dozen distinct and memorable characters. Perhaps the greatest star of all is Sorkin's rapid-fire dialogue, especially as delivered by Press Secretary C.J. Craig (Alison Janney), Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), and Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer). They carry on conversations while stalking purposefully and unhaltingly down corridors, around corners, and through doorways, and all of it unfurls with the choreographic precision of a classical ballet and the pace of an Olympic ping-pong rally.

What emerges is more than a collective liberal dream of an impassioned administration battling back ultra-conservative bogeymen ranging from the religious right to bigots to gun-toting militants. Wonderful episodes like "The Pilot" and "In Excelsis Deo" portray a government led by heroic, intelligent, and decent men and women. Whether or not one regards that as a political fantasy, it's a remarkably refreshing and appealing vision of politics and its practitioners, one that the public embraced with consistently strong television ratings. In a country whose citizens are used to viewing their elected leaders with mistrust and cynicism, that might be The West Wing's greatest accomplishment. --Eugene Wei

DVD Features

  • Available subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Commentaries from Aaron Sorkin, "The West Wing" Creator and Director Thomas Schlamme on five key episodes, including the "Pilot," "What Kind Of Day Has It Been," "Take This Sabbath Day," "In Excelsis Deo" (featuring additional commentary from Co-Executive Producer/Director Alex Graves) and "Celestial Navigation" (with Co-Executive Producer/Director Chris Misiano joining Sorkin and Schlamme)
  • All-new digital transfers
  • "The Primaries" and "The West Wing Inauguration" - in-depth making-of documentaries
  • Exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage from "The West Wing's" first season, including "Capital Beat" and "Sheet Music"
  • "Gag Order" - a collection of outtakes and bloopers
  • "Off the Record" - outtakes from various cast and producer interviews
  • Deleted scenes
  • Number of discs: 4

Cast

Rob LoweSam Seaborn
Moira KellyMandy Hampton
Allison JanneyC.J. Cregg
Richard SchiffToby Ziegler
John SpencerLeo McGarry
Bradley WhitfordJosh Lyman
Martin SheenPresident Josiah 'Jed' Bartlet
Annie CorleyMary Marsh
Lisa EdelsteinLaurie
Suzy NakamuraCathy
Allison SmithMallory O'Brien
Kathryn JoostenMrs. Landingham
Ruben Santiago-HudsonMorris Tolliver
John AmosPercy Fitzwallace
Dulé HillCharlie Young
Tim MathesonVice President John Hoynes
Sam LloydBob Engler
Timothy BusfieldDanny Concannon
Stockard ChanningAbbey Bartlet
Holmes OsborneCongressman Peter Lillienfield
Edward James OlmosJudge Roberto Mendoza
Lance ReddickD.C. Police Officer
James HongChinese Ambassador
Erick AvariPakistani Ambassador
Iqbal ThebaIndian Ambassador
Clyde KusatsuJoe
Marlee MatlinJoey Lucas
Noah EmmerichBobby Zane
CCH PounderDeborah O'Leary
David HasselhoffHimself
Jay LenoHimself
Bob BalabanTed Marcus
John de LancieAl Kiefer
Austin PendletonBarry Haskell
Reiko AylesworthJanine
Nick OffermanJerry

  • Genre: TV
  • Director: Thomas Schlamme
  • Producer: Warner Brothers
  • Length: 957 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaSep 22, 1999
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaNov 18, 2003
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