I just couldn’t pass up my last chance to critique West Wing. Still disappointed the show ended this week, I was merely satisfied by its ending. After seven seasons, the finale was done straight down the middle — offering the behind-the-scenes details of the presidency fans loved, but little excitement. I give the producers credit for not making one last grab at the overly dramatic, but some drama would’ve been nice.
The show basically ended when the election was decided for the Santos character, which I still think they foreshadowed all too clearly in the first episode of the season. Their depiction of the transition was decent, but knowing the show was ending the final episodes had little to care about.
Ironically, NBC’s airing of the pilot just before the finale only reminded viewers of how far the show had slipped. A fast-paced show with amazing attention to detail focused on how things truly got done in Washington got bogged down in a major transition that was ultimately unnecessary.
While the final episode tied up plenty of loose ends, I’m surprised at how many details the series let go in the last few years. The biggest unanswered question, of course, revolved around why Sam never returned to the White House. But I was more intrigued by the smaller details left unexplained. One episode suggested Margaret was pregnant, but the pregnancy just sort of disappeared. Whatever happened to Josh’s replacement in Bartlett’s administration? Bartlett’s teen-aged granddaughter mentioned in the pilot?
Ok, maybe I’m nit-picking. But, I do think the show lost itself in an effort to keep the show going past Bartlett. I think most viewers were just waiting to get the election over with. While I’d have been on board with a Santos West Wing, in retrospect fudging the calendar and keeping Bartlett around may have made more sense.