Sympathetic Stupid

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The End Of Civilisation As We Know It

Big mistake.

They gone and cancelled The West Wing.

OK, yeah, they were up against it. Eventually Bartlett hit his two term limit and was forced to leave office; for some reason the producers didn't take to my suggestion of "Despot Bartlett". So the choice was between Alan Alda (seemingly a John McCain-type reasonable Republican) and Jimmy Smits (a Catholic Democrat with military background) for the next one up - but losing Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing could only hurt, not to mention any other characters who needed to follow (is it even possible to choose between Donna, Charlie and Will, let alone also Josh, Toby and CJ?).

And John Spencer (Leo McGarry) died in December at only 58. Ex-chief of staff, Leo was now running for VP under Santos (Smits), and Spencer was an imposing actor as they all are. Assuming a Santos victory, he was a very important plank of the show, now sadly gone.

Of course, inevitably, the ratings were suffering. As the linked article says, it "remains the most upscale series on prime-time broadcast TV". Which I think means it's the best show not made by HBO. It had recently moved timeslots - always dangerous - and lost a third of its viewers. (Down to about 8m a week, like, more than a third of the population of Australia...)

So, as K Rogers once drawled, you've got to know when to fold 'em. Though I'm still smarting from the cancellation of This Life - which, goddamn, was almost nine years ago! - one thing that taught us was how to go out on top. The West Wing's gone after the inauguration, a fairly natural end.

But it will be missed.

(PS: This Life on DVD released on the 26th of Feb in Britain - Amazon are preordering now. So some of my grief will be assuaged in early March...)