7 thoughts on “When Did The West Wing Jump the Shark?

  1. I don’t think it ever jumped the shark, because the final season was probably the best it had been since Sorkin left. I agree that there was a prolonged period of transition and some wonky storytelling (I feel especially they did badly by Will, Toby, and Charlie as the show wore on), but the campaign stuff was excellent.

    I’m tempted to say the whole space shuttle/leak storyline was the closest the show came to jumping a shark because of how violently it threw a character under a bus, but to be honest I think the closest it came was the Zoe kidnapping. The show was at its best dealing with “normal” political intrigue and domestic drama, and I think the almost 24-style thriller aspect of the President’s daughter getting kidnapped and him temporarily stepping aside pushed the concept nearly to breaking point. Sorkin’s original ideas for how the story would resolve sound better than what we got, but I still think the whole thing was a mistake.

    I really hate the space shuttle stuff though.

  2. Whichever came first: the focus shifting to Santos/Vinick or Bartlet’s MS returning. Goes without saying the first four seasons were the best, but that is true of most shows.

  3. BTW you might want to fix that first sentence:
    Today, we look at when (or if) you folks believe that the original One Day at a Time “jumped the shark.”

  4. The back half of season 6 and season 7 really did have a return to form; the show just suffered from the writers needing to find their own voice after four years of really never writing a single episode themselves.

  5. The West Wing is tough one; the first few episodes of season 5 aren’t bad, and the Vinick/Santos campaign storyline was actually pretty good. But just about every story from the White House in the last three seasons was, by and large, completely unwatchable. Just awful. (Especially the Toby space shuttle story.)

    Is it possible for only one half of a show to jump the shark? The West Wing was running two separate shows in the end, one of which was good (the campaign), and one of which was well on the other side of the shark.

  6. Will was no Sam, but that was survivable.
    Season 5 started bad but improved a lot.
    Season 6 & 7 if you only look at adminstration episodes it’s rubbish. But the campaign episodes lift it to heights equaling its early years.

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