This coming Sunday NBC will show the final episode of West Wing and while it has received it’s share of criticism recently, I will miss it. Very rarely do shows get to the end of their run telling strong stories and leaving viewers wanting more. West Wing has done that this year. Don’t let the sad Nielsen numbers tell the story, those have more to do with a series losing it’s way in a couple of seasons (and therefore losing fans) than how the show has finished this year.
The Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) and Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) campaign gave the writers fresh story lines and new characters and just a little shot of adrenalin; all desperately needed. Recent episodes have been excellent, wrapping up the show without making the proceedings seem like a final roll call. This past Sunday’s episode did a great job bringing Toby and CJ back to the front without a rush to end. I know it’s the end, but the writers are doing a great job of writing as if there will be a next season.
As I said – very rarely is a show’s end unwarranted or untimely. The X-Files was a shell of itself, stumbling through it’s final seasons. When people compare the current version of ER to Grey’s Anatomy it makes me cringe because I remember how great ER once was. Hell, shows like Desperate Housewives and The O.C. are already having creative struggles. ABC’s Commander in Chief sunk by mid-season.
So with all this, I want to thank The West Wing for not providing me with a season’s worth of bad taste and “what ifs” to close things out.