Air Dates: September 22, 1999 – May 14, 2006
Stars: Martin Sheen, Stockard Channing, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, John Spencer, Dule Hill, Moira Kelly, Rob Lowe, Janel Maloney, Richard Schiff, Joshua Malina, Kristen Chenoweth, Alan Alda, Jimmy Smits, Mary McCormack
Aaron Sorkin wrote some of the best TV the world has ever seen while high on coke. In 2001, just after the second season of his White House drama The West Wing had wrapped, Sorkin was arrested at the the Burbank Airport for, among other things, possession of crack. Crack.
The writer and creator behind A Few Good Men, The American President, and Sports Night, had long battled with drug addiction, and did some of his most beloved work while writing stupid-stoned in the dead of night. His characters walk and talk with the same bottomless energy. And never have they walked and talked better than on The West Wing, an unabashedly liberal look at American politics.
Martin Sheen played Jed Bartlet, the Democratic president, and the rest of the characters were made up of his senior staff. We're stans here, so it's OK to shout out your favorite now. Were you a Josh person? (He had great hair and a debonair air, so we get it.) A CJ lover? (She was tough as fuck, and when she lost her man at the end of "Posse Comitatus" in the third season, we wept like children.) Have a soft spot for Toby much? (Of course you do.)
For four consecutive years, the show won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama. Those first four seasons, of which Sorkin wrote nearly every episode, is one of the finest runs in TV history, almost peerless. —RS