“Will that be all, Mr President?”

Last night, on channel More4, I watched the penultimate episode and the last episode of the seventh and last series of “The West Wing”.
I am a massive “West Wing” fan and have watched all 22 episodes of all seven series as they have been broadcast and I’ve even watched all of the first five series again on DVD. As far as I’m concerned, it has been the best thing on television: great sets, fine actors, and incisive scripts. No other series has treated politics as a serious and honourable business and been so informative and entertaining about it.
Once the creator Aaron Sorkin left, the scripts became less and less about the process of governing and more and more about the process of campaigning and we saw less and less of Martin Sheen as President Bartlett and more and more of Jimmy Smit as Democratic presidential candidate as Matt Santos. This was fun but gave rather less attention to political issues.
Now that it’s all over, in a sense, I’m in mourning. There is nothing to replace “The West Wing”. On the other hand, I do have “Commander-in-Chief”. This is “The West Wing”-lite: less politics and more family matters. But “Commander-in-Chief” would never have happened without “The West Wing” and owes a lot to it. Also it has one strength over “The West Wing” – it shows some of the complexity of the relationship between the President and Congress.
So farewell to the Chief and hail to Mrs President.