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August 31, 2015

My summer television project

by Brad Trechak, posted May 25th 2009 2:19PM

The West Wing, the Complete SeriesWhen the summer rolls around, there is obviously less new programming to watch on television. Oh sure, certain networks run original alternative programming over the summer to garner better ratings, but most people don't really get excited about summer programming. The good stuff returns in the fall. The summer is "time off" from television.

This summer, I have given myself a personal project that relates to television. I wanted to watch a complete series, end to end, that time had never allowed me to watch and was generally considered to be excellent by viewers and critics. In this case, I have chosen Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing. I started last week and I am captivated, having already gotten to Season 2, Episode 5.

I chose The West Wing because it was on my short list of series I had heard a lot about but never followed. Previous projects for myself in this vein have included Babylon 5 and Arrested Development. Given the snappy Sorkin dialogue and interesting political situations of the show, I'm sorry it's taken me this long to discover it. Another series on the list was Farscape.

I know of a few people that used last year's writers' strike as an opportunity to catch up on a missed series. What other series would you have recommended for a project of this sort?

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I did the same thing a while back - I never watched TWW when it was on TV, and one day at best buy they had each season's DVD set on sale for $14.99 each, so I figured what the hell, always meant to watch the show, and bought all 7 DVD sets. The first 4 seasons were amazing, but once Sorkin left (along with some of the major characters, Lowe, etc) the show really sucked. I'd recommend not watching seasons 5-7. They suck. But the first 4 seasons are a prime example of what great television is.

Another show that I never watched when it was on TV was HBO's "The Wire" ... I just got all the seasons of that and am going to start watching it this week. As sick as I am of copshows, i've heard from too many people whose opinions I trust that the Wire is above and beyond all the other copshows on TV and definitely worth watching.

If you've never watched Futurama, that's another show I'd suggest watching from the first episode to the last. If you can find it, The Larry Sanders Show is one more you should completely watch.

May 27 2009 at 12:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This summer, aside from the new programming I'll be watching (Burn Notice, Leverage, Penn & Teller's BS!, Warehouse 13, etc.), I'll be working on:

Finishing up my re-watch of Red Dwarf
Doctor Who Series 4
The Sarah Jane Adventures Series 1
The IT Crowd

I'll probably wedge some short anime series in there as well.

May 26 2009 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Didn't watch The West Wing when it first aired (they had a weird advertising campaign that really turned me off). Happened to catch an episode on Bravo and now I am hooked! Sorkin can write great dialogue and the actors are all brillant!! This is how I start my day now.

I would like to watch Twin Peaks from beginning to end again - have to look for it on DVD.

May 26 2009 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watched the entire West Wing DVDs last summer. Reminded me what a great series it was in every regard.

May 26 2009 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The West Wing was my first tv show dvd buy. A large purchase but well worth it. Use each show to work out in the morning and would not let myself watch any other time. So either get on the elliptical or not watch that day. Now I am on to ER and The Shield. Have not decided if I want the whole ER series when it is available. That will be a chunk of change. The Shield, bought like new on Amazon. So far so good.

May 26 2009 at 9:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carol Hill

I think you are going to love Farscape. :)

I love shows that are character driven and shows that are aware and respect their own history. Farscape is the best for that kind of thing. The character and plot continuity is excellent and the storylines are engrossing. Plus the show is truly beautiful to watch.


May 26 2009 at 8:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason B

First, WOW, I would love to have the time to do this!

Second, don't disparrage about the latter WW seasons - I think they're still very good, despite popular opinion, when compared to other television. We just finished WW a couple months ago - its amazing how the topics are still relevant today.

Third, if you haven't seen it, you MUST put Six Feet Under on your list. It is captivating television.

May 25 2009 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


My sister just got us hooked on this one and I had never seen even a single episode before last month. I'm a huge fan of serieses which connect events and things all the way through. I have never seen a series do it better than NCIS...

And count me in as a HUGE West Wing fan. I have yet to miss a marathon.

May 25 2009 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big John

I'm a couple episodes shy of finishing this 1st season of 'The Mentalist'. I need to wrap up 'Magnum PI' (which I bought on DVD a couple years ago) and 'B5' is also on my list. I may also watch 'Jeremiah' and/or 'The 4400' again just because.

May 25 2009 at 6:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Colour me in with those envious of the first time watcher.

I actually think the West Wing has a dip in quality around mid-season four, but picks up again in the end of season five. When I watched my DVDs of seasons six and seven, I watched them in one go with sleep only when strictly necessary. I had to see what happened.

May 25 2009 at 6:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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