- By Natalie G.
- Generally, the intelligent press in Australia seemed to have mainly positive remarks about the show. "The Age" (major Melbourne newspaper) rated West Wing as the best drama TV show of 2001.
A cult following has emerged. It's definitely not a high-rating show (which explains its 10.30pm timeslot), but those who do enjoy the show are generally crazy about it (myself included).
Check out DVD and VHS tapes of the first season available in Australia. Also the album with the music played during the third season finale is also available in Australia.
Comments from the Australian Press
Collected by L.M. & organized by Natalie G.
- ". . . brilliant drama set at the heart of American politics, with more than a dash of ER excitement. Must watch. . . ."
- [28th November, 2000; Jonathan Green, The Age]
- ". . . Thank you God for creating The West Wing and all those who dwell within her. . . "
- [30th December, 2000; Ben Doherty, Newcastle Herald]
- ". . . there is nothing worth watching outside The West Wing and E.R. . . ."
- [6th March, 2001; Jonathan Green, The Age]
- ". . . Could this be the best show on TV? Yes, I think it could.
". . . one of the few dramas around that actually makes you think at the same time you're enjoying it.
- [17th April, 2001; Glen Humphries, Illawarra Mercury]
- "Aaron Sorkin's White House drama manages to be smart, wickedly funny and popular. . . .
"The West Wing is an idealised vision of liberal politics, a plea for a tolerant, socially conscious America.
- [2nd July, 2001; Sydney Morning Herald]
- "We devotees of The West Wing are wondering how we will get by without our weekly fix of White House politicking.
- [29th September, 2001: Comments from Mike Carlton at the conclusion of season two, with full knowledge that West Wing would not return to Australian screens until February, 2002; Sydney Morning Herald]
- ". . . there's something a little oddly fantastic about the Bartlet White House as it conducts its business in the long shadow of September 11, 2001."
- [9th February, 2002; Jonathan Green, The Age]
- "Intelligent, well-written drama that occasionally descends into treacly patriotism."
- [18th February, 2002; Greg Hassall, Sydney Morning Herald]
What the Australian Press said about the first episode:
Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Headline: Show Of The Week
Author: Robin Oliver
The West Wing Nine, 8.30pm
Mightily impressed with the frenetic energy of the opening episode of E.R. , I have watched very few others unless duty has called. All those medics gossiping about the piddling problems of their colleagues tend to make one reach for the sick bag, but as an exercise in crowd control the opener was magnificent. Overworked doctors, surgery on the run, severed hands, plus a society dame willing to pay $180 to have a hangnail treated by a handsome doctor. A building had collapsed.
The hospital was jammed with the injured, but the indelible image is of a ruffian in a black and red uniform striding past an open surgery door and scowling inside. One blip and a great TV moment was gone. The West Wing has similar energy but is very different. The title refers to the business end of the White House, though the heavily drilled passing parade soon irritates. But here are good stories and they offer a towering performance by Martin Sheen as President Josiah
Bartlet. So, Bartlet's a Democrat from New Hampshire (where all the presidential hopefuls trek in the February snows), but judged by the delicious first two hours, this series strives to be apolitical. The Oval Office is too small and too accessible, while according to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, a White House correspondent for seven years, the lobby is made to look huge it is not and the Roosevelt Room has no glass on the doors. But Blitzer gave the nod to PROTUS, the acronym for the President of the United States. Just wait for the injured PROTUS to
appear and rejoice in his dressing-down of a delegation of do-gooders. Is it really like this? The West Wing is the creation of Aaron Sorkin, who covered the same territory in The American President but obviously has more to say. The cast wavers between the sensational John Spencer as Leo McGarry, Chief of Staff; just watch him give the Vice-President a serve to Allison Janney, superbly cool as C.J. Cregg, the press secretary, down to the Rob Lowe, wretchedly miscast as Sam Seaborn, the deputy communications director, who seems to be politically agile but personally stupid. Niggles aside, this is a satisfying start to the
most intelligent series from America since The Sopranos. Why has it taken 16 months to get here?
Publication: The Age
Headline: The Silly Season's Little Gem
Author: Jonathan Green
THE truth about the American presidency is no doubt stranger than this fiction.
Well, we know that's true, don't we ... we have the DNA testing to prove it.
At no stage in the multi-Emmy winning West Wing (Nine, 8.30pm) do we see the
leader of the free world come within metres of either a White House intern or
a cigar. Combinations involving the two are never attempted. By the end of this
two hour first episode the president has held no key briefings while simultaneously
evacuating his bowels.
Nor does he arrange for surreptitious meetings with famous actresses for brisk
sex. He does not appear to record phone calls, or authorise any activity that
could remotely be described as criminal. The words ``evil empire'' never pass
his lips. Josiah Bartlett, the President of the United States inhabited by Martin
Sheen, is clearly a work of the imagination. Yet when he first walks in the
room, when he sorts as issue, when he cuts to the quick of a building crisis
and offers the tough course to a humane solution, we sense the character combination
of kings: massive political intelligence coupled with overwhelming charisma.
President Bartlett has both in spades. He's got it goin' on. Thus we have something
a little special at the core of Nine's new statesman soap - a drama that takes
as its basic text the heated, frenzied and desperate working, and private lives
of the handful of people entrusted with the stewardship of the US. West Wing
builds on those strengths with a televisual technique schooled in E.R. and Hill
Street Blues - a theatre of near chaos in which the riveting bones of the obvious
action are given muscle through convincing, complex characterisation. And, so,
as deputy communications director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) tangles with both policy
and a pot-smoking call girl, as chief of staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer) bites
the knees off the vice president and schmoozes the religious right, as near
hysterical political consultant Mandy Hampton (Moira Kelly) totals the suspension
in her BMW, we are slowly drawn in, then hooked. This is probably the best thing
that's been on telly all year, but such is the Nine network's high opinion of
its audience's capacity to discriminate, it has held this little gem for an
out of ratings silly season tryout. Program executives were no doubt bemused
by West Wing's lack of gardening and recipe segments but we, the audience, need
not be deterred. It's riveting, addictive stuff. In the closing minutes of tonight's
episode, the Pres must chose how to respond to an act of deadly terrorism. He
is determined to act: ``I'm going to blow them off the face of the Earth, with
the fury of God's own thunder,'' but we must wait until next week for the result
- the security of the planet just grist to our cliffhanger. How could you not
come back? The great joy of television is its capacity for accidental but inspired
Tuesdays (Channel 9, 10.30pm)
- Upcoming Episodes
- July 30, 02: The Documentary
- Previous Episodes
- July 23, 02: "Posse Comitatus"
- July 16, 02: "We Killed Yamamoto"
- July 9, 02: "The Black Vera Wang"
- June 4, 02: Enemies Foreign & Domestic
- May 28, 02: Stirred
- May 21, 02: The U.S. Poet Laureate
- May 14, 02: Dead Irish Writers
- May 7, 02: Hartsfields Landing
- Apr. 30, 02: Night Five
- Apr. 23, 02: The Two Bartlets
- Apr. 16, 02: 100,000 Airplanes
- Apr. 9, 02: H.Con 172
- JApr. 2, 02: Bartlet For America
- Mar. 26, 02: The Women of Qumar
- Mar. 19, 02: The Indians in the Lobby
- Mar. 12, 02: Gone Quiet
- Mar. 5, 02: War Crimes
- Feb. 26, 02: On the Day Before
- Feb. 19, 02: Ways and Means
- Feb. 12, 02: Manchester II
- Feb. 5, 02: Manchester I
- Oct. 16, 01: Isaac & Ishmael
- Sept. 23, 01: Two Cathedrals
- Sept. 11, 01: 18th & Potomac
- Sept. 4, 01: The Fall's Gonna Kill You
- Aug. 28, 01: Bad Moon Rising
- Aug. 21, 01: 17 People
- Aug. 14, 01: The Stackhouse Filibuster
- Aug. 7, 01: Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail
- July 31, 01: Ellie
- July 24, 01: The War At Home
- July 17, 01: Bartlet's Third State of the Union
- July 10, 01: The Drop In
- June 19, 01: The Leadership Breakfast
- June 12, 01: Noel
- June 5, 01: Galileo
- May 29, 01: Shibboleth
- May 15, 01: The Portland Trip
- May 8, 01: The Lame Duck Congress
- May 1, 01: And It's Surely to their Credit
- Apr. 24, 01: In this White House
- Apr. 17, 01: The Midterms
- Apr. 10, 01: In the Shadow of Two Gunmen II
- Apr. 3, 01: In the Shadow of Two Gunmen I
- Mar. 27, 01: What Kind of Day Has it Been
- Mar. 20, 01: Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics
- Mar. 20, 01: Mandatory Minimums
- Mar. 13, 01: Let Bartlet Be Bartlet
- Mar. 6, 01: Six Meetings Before Lunch
- Feb. 27, 01: White House Pro-Am
- Feb. 20, 01: 20 Hours in LA
- Feb. 13, 01: Celestial Navigation
- Feb. 13, 01: Take This Sabbath Day
- Feb. 6, 01: Take Out The Trash Day
- Jan. 30, 01: He Shall From Time To Time
- Jan. 16, 01: Lord John Marbury
- Jan. 2, 01: Lord John Marbury
- Dec. 26, 00: The Short List
- Dec. 19, 00: Enemies
- Dec. 19, 00: The State Dinner
- Dec. 12, 00: Mr Willis of Ohio
- Dec. 12, 00: Crackpots and these Women
- Dec. 5, 00: Five Votes Down
- Dec. 5, 00: A Proportional Response
- Nov. 28, 00: Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
- Nov. 28, 00: pilot
See what the press
printed when some
of the above episodes
were broadcast in Australia.