The West Wing
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Wayne State University Press
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I would like to thank The British Academy, for supporting this vii project with a Small Grant Award. Those who have read and provided helpful criticism of this book in manuscript form have been essential to its thinking and rethinking. I am particularly...
Introduction: Politics of Quality U.S. TV: All the President’s Men . . . and a Few Good Women
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NBC had high hopes for its brand-new behind-the-scenes ensemble drama about Washington politics. Premiering on 22 September 1999, The West Wing was the most eagerly anticipated U.S. network show of the fall season (competing alongside forty-two other freshman...
1. Politics of Quality Primetime TV: Network Politics and Broadcasting Context
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NBC always seemed quietly confident that The West Wing represented the best of what was possible on the network. With its big cast, big ideas, big investment, and big profits, the series soon proved a powerful asset to its broadcaster as well as the company that produced it, Warner...
2. Politics of Storytelling and the TV Auteur: Authorship, Performance, and Narrative
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Bringing new levels of stylish wit and intelligence to primetime television defined The West Wing as exceptional. Credit for its complex plots, intense characterizations, and linguistically dense dialogue went, more often than not, to series creator Aaron Sorkin. In a medium...
3. Politics of the Televisual Form: Aesthetics and Sounds of Power
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When Aaron Sorkin quit The West Wing in 2003 so did the man responsible for the distinctive look and visual style of the series, Thomas Schlamme. Sorkin wrote of him: [In the “Pilot” Schlamme] just mapped out what would be the first big camera move of the series, the shot that would take us inside the...
4. “Modern History Is Another Name for Television”: Representing Historical Relevancy and Cultural Memory
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The West Wing debuted as a mildly successful show but, by the following spring, “[had] caught fire in the press, with cover stories in major magazines and articles in major newspapers” (Podhoretz 2003, 222). Writing for the now defunct political lifestyle magazine George...
Conclusion: “We Had It Good There for a While”: The West Wing Legacy
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Even a show as successful and as groundbreaking as The West Wing runs its course. Viewers defected, ratings slid, and a principal actor unexpectedly died before NBC decided to call time on the beltway drama. Thus President-Elect Matthew Santos took the presidential...
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Page Count: 100
Publication Year: 2012
Volume Title: N/a
Series Title: TV Milestones