Monday, January 23, 2006

So Long, President Bartlet

It’s not a big surprise, but NBC has cancelled The West Wing.

This was one of the best-written television shows on commercial TV. I’m impressed that it was able to sustain its quality for seven seasons, even though it has had some bumps along the way, including the departure of series creator Aaron Sorkin and the death of John Spencer in December who portrayed an integral character in the drama.

While I’m sorry to see it go, I’m glad that it’s going out at or near the top of its game, and it joins the pantheon of shows that, as a writer, I consider to be tops in their craft. They include Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, Picket Fences, and M*A*S*H.

Martin Sheen provided a fitting epitaph for the show:

“We knew we had a special show and we remained as a family,” said Martin Sheen, who portrayed President Josiah Bartlet. “We all knew that we weren’t going to get this kind of a chance again.”

[…]

Sheen said the show’s most positive impact on the country was, during a cynical time, to make people realize the important job that public servants perform.

“The government continues because of people who care for the country,” he said.

Have a good retirement in New Hampshire, Jed. We’ll see you in syndication.