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The West Wing: Season Seven (2005-06)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Past, President and Future

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy The West Wing: Season Seven on DVD

According to legend, when screenwriter Aaron Sorkin was working on his 1995 feature film The American President, he was granted unprecedented access to the White House and its inner workings. That was a pretty terrific movie, but Sorkin took his experience and his skill and created an even more memorable TV series, including a fictitious president that outranked real presidents in his approval ratings.

Warner Home Video has released the final season, "The Complete Seventh Season" (2005-2006) in a new six-disc box set. By the time the seventh season rolled around, the show's high quality had attracted a stellar cast, but the mainstays include President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen), C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney), Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), Donna Moss (Janel Moloney), Leo McGarry (John Spencer), Charlie Young (Dulé Hill), Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) and First Lady Abbey Bartlet (Stockard Channing).

The main events in Season Seven revolve around the upcoming election, between the Democratic candidate, Congressman Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits) and the Republican candidate, Senator Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda). The season's high point was a one-hour debate between the two men, filmed and shown live, that was far more spirited than any actual debate.

The other major turning point in this season was the death of John Spencer in December of 2005. The writers managed to use his completed footage and a few clever techniques to make Leo McGarry's death equally potent.

DVD Details: Extras on the new box set include "Live from the Director's Chair: A Multiangle View from the Truck as the Director Calls the Live Debate Episode" and "Countdown to West Wing Live."

Starring: Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Janel Moloney, John Spencer, Dulé Hill, Rob Lowe, Stockard Channing, Alan Alda, Jimmy Smits, Mary McCormack, Lily Tomlin, Timothy Busfield, Kristin Chenoweth, Mary-Louise Parker, Anna Deavere Smith, Tim Matheson, Ron Silver, Teri Polo, Marlee Matlin, Janeane Garofalo, Emily Procter, Stephen Root, Annabeth Gish
Written by: Debora Cahn, Lauren Schmidt, Josh Singer, Eli Attie, Lawrence O'Donnell, John Wells, Peter Noah, Bradley Whitford
Directed by: Chris Misiano, Alex Graves, Andrew Bernstein, Nelson McCormick
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 957 minutes
Date: November 22, 2006

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