Just weeks after a much-hyped special designed at getting out the vote, The West Wing will bring its entire series to HBO Max on December 25, arriving just in time for Christmas (or just in time to spoil your Christmas, if you only have Netflix, where the currently runs). With The West Wing and The Office, two of the most acclaimed TV series of the last 30 years will say their goodbyes to Netflix by the end of December -- and it's unlikely they will return, since Warner Bros. TV and NBC respectively stand to gain a lot by bringing the shows to streaming services owned by their parent companies.
The West Wing, from Sports Night and The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin, originally aired for seven seasons from September 1999 to May 2006. It starred Martin Sheen as U.S. President Josiah Bartlet, in an alternate universe that shared most of our history but, among other things, had elections that happened on off-cycles versus the real-world Presidential election (Bartlet ran for re-election in 2002 and his successor ran in 2006, whereas in the real world elections happened in 2004 and 2008 for President).
The special that ran on HBO Max recently, titled A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote, re-enacted the episode "Hartsfield's Landing," in which the President is dealing with a number of global political crises on the eve of the U.S. election, and can't get accurate polling data because of a power outage.
The series is regarded as a kind of moder-day fairytale, with politicians serving the nation with dignity and grace, and putting country before party on both sides of the aisle. Between it, and the film The American President, which had similar themes, Sorkin built himself a reputation early in his career as someting of a Polyanna, with obvious Frank Capra influences. Not all of Sorkin's work fits into that mold, but it's pretty clear that he doesn't shy away from that image.
As recently as 2018, there were rumblings of some kind of West Wing revival, and while one has yet to happen on TV, the cast has reunited a number of times over the years, usually to benefit some kind of charity, and often a charity that is election-related. While individual cast members are pretty political, the cast reunions tend to work with nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations with holistically good goals like improving voter turnout and educating voters about impediments to voting.
Are you excited to see The West Wing come to HBO Max? Or are you more bummed that you have to get another streaming service (or -- gasp! -- buy a DVD) to do your rewatch? Sound off below.