Coming Out of Left Field

Monday, January 23, 2006

The West Wing: "Duck and Cover"

"Duck and Cover" was an appropriate title for this episode, since it's what NBC should be doing right now:

NBC canceling 'West Wing' after 7 seasons

This isn't a complete surprise, but it's still sad. I'm going to miss the characters a lot. Oh well, I guess there's always DVD, right?

Anyway, on to the episode, which was extremely intense. The nuclear incident was handled pretty well, both in how it was presented (seriously, but not in an overblown "disaster of the week" style) and how it was managed by the characters. Made me wish that Jed Bartlet -- or even Martin Sheen -- had been in charge of Katrina relief.

It was interesting to see how the two campaigns handled their response to the incident. According to the above link, the writers have been arguing over who's going to win the election, but I can't see how Vinick has a chance. Part of that is because we just haven't seen that much of him lately. I'm not sure, but I don't think he's really been in an episode since the presidential debate. The other part is that, after appearing so intelligent and savvy at the beginning, Vinick has become a less attractive character (rigid, opportunistic, more prone to politics as usual) and in this episode didn't act that smart at all. For once, Santos won not by making a great speech, but by not saying anything at all.

Other comments:

-- The handheld camera took a little getting used to. It helped that there weren't a lot of jump cuts, quick pans or odd framing.
-- How much longer are they going to draw out the China-Kazakhstan conflict? It's almost like CNN Headline News, the way it keeps popping up through the episode ("And now, an update from ...").
-- I missed Leo (who was campaigning somewhere else), Louise (who might have been with him), and Abby (who's on another show altogether, though I've heard cancellation rumors).
-- I just went on NBC's West Wing site to find out when there'll be a new episode, and apparently it won't be until March 12. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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I can't comment on the dramatic qualities of last night's WW episode (that's up to each viewer) but actually, the nuclear accident portrayal was way off base. See for an entertaining look of what such an accident would really be like. There's no cost to readers.

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