As I was watching The West Wing last night on TV, I thought to myself, "this show will be cancelled at the end of this season". Lo and behold, it was announced that indeed The West Wing will end on May 14th with the inauguration of the new president, still to be determined.
Now I don't think I really became a dedicated watcher of the West Wing until its third season. Fortunately through the miracle of DVD, I've watched straight through the first 3 seasons to catch up on everything I never saw. Unfortunately, my DVD viewing habits are sketchy, and I still haven't completely finished the 3rd season shows... with the complete 4th and 5th seasons sitting on my shelf vastly untouched except to be removed from their Amazon.com packing box. Though I must say, they are excellent for long flights when you need to kill time with some quality DVD viewing. That's how I made it through so much of Season 3.
Why am I not surprised the show was cancelled? While I think the writing was not so good after Aaron Sorkin quit writing the show at the end of Season 4, it seems to have improved vastly this season, especially in the plots surrounding the election of the new president. Perhaps that's just because they found something to write about. But the show itself had one necessary flaw, a president can only serve 8 years... and once that's done, you're out of luck. Could the show survive with an almost completely new cast? Could ANY show survive with a completely new cast? Perhaps, but doubtful. The only way to stay true to a show that prides itself on keeping true to the reality of American politics, is for the show to end and the characters fade off into their post-White House lives where nobody even remembers their names.
Certainly it didn't help that NBC decided to move West Wing out of it's traditional 9pm Wednesday time slot for a cursed 8pm Sunday time slot. The last show I think I ever remember watching on Sunday at 8pm was Murder, She Wrote. It still baffles me why TV executives haven't figured out that moving shows out of their well-established time slots always signals the show's demise. Maybe they know this, and move them to help speed along the process.
Whatever the reasons, at least I'll have my 7-seasons of West Wing DVDs to watch whenever there are terrible new shows on TV that aren't worth watching.
In related television news, a few interesting lineup changes will be coming too:
For the past 14 seasons, Law and Order (the original, not SVU, CI, or the ill-fated Trial by Jury) has been in the Wednesday 10pm timeslot on NBC. But no more... NBC shakes things up by moving it an hour earlier to 9pm. I think this one will be able to survive the minor shift, but I'm no expert. It goes up against Mythbusters, which is the same problem I had when West Wing was on Wednesdays at 9, but fortunately I have a DVR now. Problem averted. :)
Las Vegas continues it's tour of the NBC schedule, after being moved from Sunday to Monday it makes its way down to the Friday night time slot. Might work, since there's nothing else good on Friday nights, but also who watches TV on a Friday night unless you want to see Dateline (which is moving to Saturday) or 20/20?
Las Vegas' move to Friday clears the way for that epic sensation Deal or No Deal to have a permanent spot on the Monday at 8pm timeslot followed by the Donald. I've said my thoughts on Deal or No Deal before... I give the show 10-weeks before it gets the axe and is buried in the gameshow graveyard along with the short-lived revived classic "21" with Maury Povich, and the Weakest Link (which was only entertaining to hear Anne Robinson verbally berating the contestants).
In the meantime, Food Network probably has plenty of episodes of Emeril Live, Good Eats, and Paula Deen stocked up to satisfy your TV viewing needs... with extra butter.