Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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3rd season is the darkest season... like literally, I think it was an intentional choice? to have many of the episodes set at nighttime. This season followed 9/11 and so it must have been a difficult to write what is in essence a really optimistic and idealistic show. The final episodes of Season 3 has less of a major storyline compared to other seasons. Season 1 and 2 both end the seasons with Bartlett in a major crisis. Season 3's endings focus on CJ and Bartlett with equal? weight, so the impact is a little divided and the last few episodes seem a little too heavyhanded and kind of out of nowhere. Still, S3 is no less enjoyable than 1 or 2 and all the characters are well written, consistant and 3 dimensional. My favorite episode is Bartlet for America... its shows like this that really makes me miss the 90s.
It was a great show. Entertainment is what TV does best. Did RT really think they'd try to portray a real working West Wing.
The first season was not awful. In fact, it was still very good in establishing our main characters and the most scandalous problems that the executive branch faces. Where it faltered is a rush of romantic problems for, well, every character. Josh and his ex who also worked in the West Wing, Toby and his ex wife, CJ and a Wall Street Journal reporter, Leo and his wife, Sam and a sex worker AND Leo's daughter, President Bartlet and Abby, and Charlie and Bartlet's youngest daughter. Good grief. It was not entirely overwhelming, but in retrospect, it was quite typical of late nineties programming to be sure every character had some romantic interest. The second season slowly filtered out that crap, and at this third season, we are treated to a much deeper focus of our main characters. We know what everyone has to face, and the problems do not go away, no matter how many other large-scale issues arise or how much effort they make in brushing away the problems. Sound familiar? The fine details are even more enthralling, culminating in one of the most intense season finales I have seen in years. The West Wing has greatly distinguished itself from other dramas by not only foregoing the romantic and gossipy garbage that sinks other shows, but also sets up an environment where law comes first. No sudden fits of physical rage, no death threats, no permanent goodbyes. Rhetoric will prevail.
The best of the first three series. Much less smugness and preachiness, more character-based and incident-based stories. Unfortunately, however, Toby was still there...
Outstanding musical writing, compelling characters and storytelling--what else has topped this on network television?