Rate And Review
The West Wing: Season 5 Photos
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Cast & Crew
Abigail "Abbey" Bartlet
Chief of Staff Leo McGarry
Secretary of Defense Miles Hutchinson
[John] Wells may have less sensationalistic plot turns in mind for the coming season, but he must first see his way out of Sorkin's misguided twists, which have also included Bartlet's multiple sclerosis story line.
Season five is shockingly horrible, even worse than you remember, packed with about eighteen different bad ideas designed to make the show into another show altogether.
After years of seeing these hopelessly ethical characters one-up each other relentlessly, it's not just nice but dramatically satisfying to witness them at a serious crossroads.
Written by John Sacret Young and Josh Singer, with the density and intelligence one expects from this exceptional series...the [finale] episode ends the season in style.
The departure of Sorkin and director/producer Thomas Schlamme after Season Four caused a stumbling block for the show and led to a muddled and generally uninspired transitional year.
This remains superbly entertaining TV, but is best viewed as a transitional bridge between the chaotic genius of the early years and the more structured, narratively superior season six.
Really, if it weren't for the professionalism of the cast, you'd think The West Wing had turned into its own Saturday Night Live parody.
It shatters the complacent amity of the Bartlet White House, giving room to all the tensions that flourish around a real Oval Office and that had been smothered in the show's glow of second-term fellowship, banter and high moral principle.
Executive producer Aaron Sorkin has handed his title and creation to John Wells, who in tackling the cliffhanger he inherits, adds adroit touches of political sniping.
... With Aaron Sorkin gone, it's become a half-speed hobbling from obvious pillar to predictable post, with long walks, slow reaction shots, repetitious flashbacks, underlined signifiers...
Another memorable highlight of Season 5 laid out the process of putting someone on the Supreme Court...Glenn Close puts in a prototypically great performance as the very liberal federal judge set to be the first female Chief Justice.
Audience Reviews for The West Wing: Season 5
Dec 21, 2019The season of transition, so to speak. With Sorkin and co jumping ship after S4 the noticeable shift in writing styles is all too apparent for season 5. From a foundation of solid drama and subtle wit from earlier season, we now find a confused season 5 where all the lead characters seem to have grown massive chips on their shoulders, bickering and arguing with everyone; while also watering down the tight drama into a wishy-washy melodrama fit only for a second rate TV soap. That said, there are a handful of stellar episodes in "The Supremes", "Separation of Powers" , "Slow News Day" and "The Warfare of Genghis Khan". It is just a shame these are in the minority compared to the relative poor offerings from the remaining episodes.
Jun 15, 2017What pervades the airs of the West Wing is greater distrust in each other, for accomplishing whatever is on the agenda. Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) and Donna Moss (Janel Moloney) bicker more frequently, Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) and Will Bailey (Joshua Molina) are each other's red alert, Abby Bartlet (Stockard Channing) gives close to zero shits about what the public thinks of her, and, generally, no one character seems to be able to find joy, even when the resources are right in front of them. And this is most true for President Bartlet (Martin Sheen), who is far less compromising with his staff, Congress, his family, his constituents, in the wake of a family tragedy. Not on the issues you might expect, though. Individual episodes still resound, be it for phenomenal performances by this now all-star cast, compelling topical discussions, or appreciable storytelling techniques. Still a great show, continuing to grow subtler in its development.
Aug 28, 2014The season when the writers jumped the shark. Started well enough but it gets quite silly and overly preachy (again) towards the end. Plus, they killed off one of the best and most likable characters in the series, Admiral Fitzwallace. If they had killed off Toby and Will Bailey instead, it would have been a great season.