West Wing Season Premier 9/25/05 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been very critical of the WW PQ in the past, so I thought I'd say I thought it was fantastic last night. Probably the best PQ of what I've seen of this new season, but I haven't watched that many shows yet. I especially liked the detail for blacks and shadows. And no more graininess!

Oh, and the story line was okay for a premier. Much less awkward than Desperate Housewives was transitioning.
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post #2 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 06:50 AM
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Unfortunately, during both West Wing and Crossing Jordan our local was asleep at the switch on format changeover so I only got to watch the first and third acts in HD but I agree that it was a very clean production. The audio wandered a bit level-wise, but that might have been my local too. The Santos offices are much better lit than the west wing offices were, so that might have helped the black level, we'll have to see next time we have a situation room scene or more time in the ww.
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post #3 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 07:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karyk
I've been very critical of the WW PQ in the past, so I thought I'd say I thought it was fantastic last night. Probably the best PQ of what I've seen of this new season, but I haven't watched that many shows yet. I especially liked the detail for blacks and shadows. And no more graininess!

Oh, and the story line was okay for a premier. Much less awkward than Desperate Housewives was transitioning.
I also thought the PQ was excellent. And I really liked the story line. Can't wait for next weeks episode.
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post #4 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 07:52 AM
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The PQ and the writing seem to have greatly improved over the past year or so.

Sadly, in the new time slot, it might not matter.
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post #5 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 09:28 AM
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Are some of you confusing bad picture quality in the past with a realistic depiction of the White House? From what I've read, it's very poorly lit in real life, and that seems to be one of the main complaints. Of course over the past year, the plot has taken place outside of there frequently, so I can understand people might be saying it looks better now.
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post #6 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimalx
Are some of you confusing bad picture quality in the past with a realistic depiction of the White House? From what I've read, it's very poorly lit in real life, and that seems to be one of the main complaints. Of course over the past year, the plot has taken place outside of there frequently, so I can understand people might be saying it looks better now.
I once took a tour of the WH and did notice that everything there was very grainy looking :).


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post #7 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimalx
Are some of you confusing bad picture quality in the past with a realistic depiction of the White House? From what I've read, it's very poorly lit in real life...
That's only because Bush doesn't want to see the truth. :D
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post #8 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
The PQ and the writing seem to have greatly improved over the past year or so.

Sadly, in the new time slot, it might not matter.
I agree about the timeslot probably being the kiss of death. I was just lucky to be surfing around and caught it. I didn't relaize it was moved to Sunday
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post #9 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 10:35 AM
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Isn't this the last year anyway? I thought I'd heard that, but maybe it's not official, just widely believed. I think regardless of the ratings hit the timeslot move makes, the history of this show will force NBC to end the run with a full season.
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post #10 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 11:09 AM
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They could end it a lot sooner -- just wait until the election results.

(Or, this being TV, they could just shut it down before the votes are cast.)

But I believe election night is about seven episodes into this season.

Nonetheless, West Wing is far from NBC's biggest problem this season. Just about every time slot is down from last year's numbers.
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post #11 of 50 Old 09-26-2005, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimalx
Are some of you confusing bad picture quality in the past with a realistic depiction of the White House? From what I've read, it's very poorly lit in real life, and that seems to be one of the main complaints. Of course over the past year, the plot has taken place outside of there frequently, so I can understand people might be saying it looks better now.
No, it was not about the lighting level, it was about a level of graininess that made it look hardly better than SD.

There were some very nice shots last night that were very dark.
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post #12 of 50 Old 10-06-2005, 12:09 PM
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You know I really think (based on the episodes so far) that NBC and the writers of the West Wing are missing a huge opportunity. I half expected there to be more of a split in the episodes, showing insights of the Democratic and Republican campaigns.

Why not leverage the fine actor that Alan Alda is and flesh out a campaign and staff around him as well as Jimmy Smits thus leaving us wondering who will win. To this point it seems as if they are simply setting Smits up to follow Sheen. Either that or they are simply going to shut it all down at the end of the season.

Anyway I thought the Vittick charachter represented a chance at a fresh start for the show or at least a way to shake up the status quo that has been established.

Mark...
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post #13 of 50 Old 10-06-2005, 01:02 PM
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I still assume they will do that. If they don't, I wonder if it will be because of a lack of desire to do so, or if Alda may not have been available enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkW
You know I really think (based on the episodes so far) that NBC and the writers of the West Wing are missing a huge opportunity. I half expected there to be more of a split in the episodes, showing insights of the Democratic and Republican campaigns.

Why not leverage the fine actor that Alan Alda is and flesh out a campaign and staff around him as well as Jimmy Smits thus leaving us wondering who will win. To this point it seems as if they are simply setting Smits up to follow Sheen. Either that or they are simply going to shut it all down at the end of the season.

Anyway I thought the Vittick charachter represented a chance at a fresh start for the show or at least a way to shake up the status quo that has been established.
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post #14 of 50 Old 10-06-2005, 01:16 PM
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The debate episode with Smits and Alda will be presented "live" in mid November. NBC had tried one live drama program in the past, an episode of ER. This will be worth tuning in to.
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post #15 of 50 Old 10-06-2005, 01:20 PM
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Actually, it will be Nov. 6

Live “West Wing†Scheduled for Nov. 6th
PRESIDENTIAL CHALLENGERS SQUARE OFF IN DEBATE

(NBC Press release Published: October 6, 2005)

BURBANK, Calif. -- October 6, 2005 -- In a first for NBC's "The West Wing" (Sundays, 8-9 p.m. ET/PT), the Emmy Award-winning series will broadcast a live episode featuring a debate between presidential candidates Congressman Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Senator Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) on Sunday, Nov. 6 (8-9 p.m. ET).

Very few contemporary drama series have attempted live episodes. NBC's "ER" -- also from executive producer John Wells -- produced a live episode for its fourth season premiere in September 1997.

The format of the episode will allow for a tension-packed debate between Democrat Santos and his Republican opponent Vinick. Two live versions will be telecast, one for the East Coast and another for the West Coast. This episode will be written by Lawrence O'Donnell, and directed by Alex Graves, both executive producers of the series.

http://nbcumv.com/release_detail.nbc...ggoeslive.html
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/editp...post&p=6312330
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post #16 of 50 Old 10-06-2005, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimalx
I still assume they will do that. If they don't, I wonder if it will be because of a lack of desire to do so, or if Alda may not have been available enough?
I thought Alan Alda has been and will be busy all season with a play on Broadway. I know he was busy with Glengarry Glenross, but my impression was that he had moved to a different play for the 2005-2006 season
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post #17 of 50 Old 10-06-2005, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dweebe
I thought Alan Alda has been and will be busy all season with a play on Broadway. I know he was busy with Glengarry Glenross, but my impression was that he had moved to a different play for the 2005-2006 season

Actually, he has been shooting "West Wing" episodes and getting ready for the live "debate" on Nov. 6. As I understand it, producers of "The West Wing" have options on both Alda and Jimmy Smits.

As of now they apparently still haven't decided who will "win" the election.

And, sadly, the way the ratings are headed south, it may not matter.
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post #18 of 50 Old 10-10-2005, 11:10 AM
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(From Marc Berman’s Programming Insider column of Monday, October 10, 2005 at Mediaweek.com)

“…At 8 p.m., CBS’ Cold Case remains head-and-shoulders above NBC’s relocated The West Wing. Take a look:

[b][color=red][Sunday 8 p.m.
Cold Case (CBS)
Overnights: 10.8/16 (#1)
Viewers: 15.81 million (#1)
A18-49: 4.0/10 (#2)

The West Wing (NBC)
Overnights: 6.5/ 9 (#4)
Viewers: 8.07 million (#4)
A18-49: 2.5/ 6 (#4)
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post #19 of 50 Old 10-10-2005, 02:24 PM
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That ratings slide surprises me. If any show on TV could take its loyal audience with it to a new time slot (and whose viewers would be bright enough to find it), I would have thought TWW would be the one.
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post #20 of 50 Old 10-10-2005, 02:28 PM
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TWW was suffering a ratings slide 2 or 3 years prior to the schedule change, wasn't it?

Or maybe you're overestimating the intelligence of TWW viewers. ;)
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post #21 of 50 Old 10-10-2005, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95
TWW was suffering a ratings slide 2 or 3 years prior to the schedule change, wasn't it?

Or maybe you're overestimating the intelligence of TWW viewers. ;)
Maybe... ;) But one thing that wasn't in doubt was the purchasing power of its viewers - supposedly the best in that demographic and the reason why NBC loved the show in spite of less-than-stellar overall ratings numbers. This is looking like the last year so I hope they go out on a high note.

Someone else pointed out that with the performance of the show that NBC threw into TWW's old Wednesday slot, it appears that TWW was sacrificed for nothing. :(
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post #22 of 50 Old 10-10-2005, 02:53 PM
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Martha Stewart or E-Ring? (either would support your point)
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post #23 of 50 Old 10-10-2005, 04:37 PM
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THE 2005-2006 TV SEASON: SUNDAY
“West Wing†is at its very best
But NBC is killing the series by airing it on Sunday evenings


By Scott D. Pierce Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News
(Note: All times are Mountain.)

At the risk of piling on with still more criticism of NBC — which is all too easy to criticize these days — what the network has done to "The West Wing" is really ticking me off.

Essentially, the show has been exiled to Sunday nights and left there to die. And, make no mistake about it, it's dying.

On Sundays at 7 p.m., "The West Wing" is finishing third in total viewers and fourth in the 18-to-49 demo that's so important to advertisers and, thus, networks. This past Sunday, "West Wing" attracted 7.6 million viewers to 16.3 million for CBS's "Cold Case," 14.2 million for ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Fox's "The Simpsons" attracted 10.2 million from 7-7:30 p.m. and "The War at Home" was seen by 8.3 million from 7:30-8 p.m.

And this at a time when "The West Wing" is as good as it ever was. Yes, I'd go so far as to say that it's as good as that spectacular first season — just no longer new and different.

Following the campaign for President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) successor has injected excitement, suspense and enthusiasm into the series. Yes, we've seen more of the Democratic candidate, Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits), than we've seen of the GOP hopeful, Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda). But Vinick plays a bigger part in this week's episode (Sunday, 7 p.m., Ch. 5), when he puts Santos on the defensive over immigration.

The writers have done a great job of weaving the current administration into the storylines —the issue of the White House security leak comes to a head on Sunday.

It's riveting stuff. Too bad so few people are watching.

NBC shoved "West Wing" from its Wednesday-at-8 p.m. time slot after six years to make room for "E-Ring," a show whose pilot was so poorly written and directed that it was nothing short of laughable. And "E-Ring" is doing much worse on Wednesdays than "West Wing" was — it was getting killed so badly that, earlier this week, NBC flopped it with "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," the show that was getting killed in the ratings on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

In other words, "West Wing" has been sacrificed for nothing.
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post #24 of 50 Old 10-10-2005, 05:36 PM
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Well, leaving TWW at 9:00 on Wednesdays up against the ratings juggernaut Lost wouldn't have been exactly a powder puff slot either. Had Lost not been at 8:00 last season, TWW would have "slipped" even worse than it did last year. Perhaps they were actually trying to save it a little by moving it....


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post #25 of 50 Old 10-11-2005, 10:04 PM
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if that critic guy above thinks that this season's TWW is as good as season 1, he is on some serious crack. i would say that it's a pretty sure bet that this will be the last season. if not, they will have to move it again.
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post #26 of 50 Old 10-12-2005, 01:48 PM
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The show used to be about events in the "West Wing" now it is about who might be in the WW. I think the race is OK but shouldn't be the focus of all the episodes.
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post #27 of 50 Old 10-15-2005, 11:26 AM
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Note: The lead in the following column does not fall into the category of “Spoilerâ€. There has been no official word on who will win the election in â€The West Wingâ€. But it is the considered opinion of Ms. De Moraes (and she explains her reasons) that the Jimmy Smith character will emerge victorious.

(Personally, I disagree and, for a number of reasons, believe Alda’s character will “winâ€.)

The TV Column
'West Wing' Candidates To Face Off in Live Debate

By Lisa de Moraes The Washington Post Saturday, October 15, 2005; C01

This time around, the Republican will win the presidential debate, but the Democrat will win the election.

NBC will air a live debate during the November ratings race between faux candidates Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda on its struggling political drama series "The West Wing," which since moving to Sunday this season has seen its audience plunge from more than 11 million viewers to fewer than 8 million.

Alda plays Republican Sen. Arnold Vinick; Smits plays Democratic Rep. Matt Santos.

Executive Producer John Wells says that they'll have a "general sense of where they're going," are "definitely rehearsing a script" and are giving the two actors "substantial briefing materials" for the episode, noting that these days real presidential candidates are usually well rehearsed and almost never surprised by a question.

But there will be improvisation and spontaneity -- more than in the real thing, Wells said -- and they plan to solicit some questions over the Internet from viewers.

"To even call our current presidential debates 'debates' is stretching the term," he said, noting that virtually all elements, including the types of questions and the format, are "so pre-negotiated."

"In many ways what they've done is created a world for real presidential debates in which the candidates have an opportunity, to a larger audience, not to engage each other, but to give another version of their stump speech," Wells said.

"The whole idea about doing a [live 'West Wing'] debate was to try to do a debate in which the characters actually debated. . . . We will try to set up a world in which the candidates can have a real exchange," he said, adding that his goal is to get viewers to question why they don't get that in real life.

If yesterday's unscripted, spontaneous phone news conference is any indication, Alda will win the debate hands down -- though it's widely presumed that NBC has Smits in mind to play the next president of the United States if "West Wing" goes to another season -- if only because, at 69, Alda has nearly 20 years on Smits and is even further out of the 18-49 age bracket NBC chases than current "West Wing" faux president Martin Sheen, who's 65.

Alda is a very good public speaker. His early training, he notes, was in improv, whereas, Smits explained, "Jimmy is not a good talker," and his character is "much more verbal than Jimmy is or could ever be." Yes, it appears Smits sometimes talks about himself in the third person. Why is that so creepy?

Consider their answers to a simple question: "Is it important to you guys . . . that your character wins the debate or . . . the election?"

"What's important to me," Smits replied, "is that we do good storytelling. I think we've been doing that and keep the audience on their toes, keep it topical. And, just to reinforce what Alan said before, is that both points of view are strong and I think since last season we've been doing that and will continue doing that."

Alda also began with the same evasive blah, blah, blah, but then recovered with a great save: "But specifically, to answer your question . . . I have to tell you that it's hard to play any character and not want that character to get what he wants. I wanted to destroy Howard Hughes when I was in 'The Aviator' and I saw every good reason to do it, so that I could be the guy convincingly.

"Of course I want to win the debate, some part of me does, anyway, but . . . you do have to go along with what the story is. If the story doesn't actually have Richard III winning the battle, no matter how much he wants to win, he doesn't win. But you still have to want it. In a debate like this, where . . . you're the one live on camera, if you don't win, it's like something's wrong with you. So it gets even more personal. Some part of me of course wants to win. Even in our imagination I would love to rule the world."

To which Smits added: "Alan wants to cream me out there."

See what we mean?

Even Smits acknowledged he's no Alan Alda when one critic asked if he was worried about the live debate, given that "Alda is slick of tongue" and has been "talking for decades" -- which somehow sounded like it was meant to be an insult.

"Jimmy is not a good talker," Smits said, adding bravely that will force him to "prepare doubly hard."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...401982_pf.html
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post #28 of 50 Old 10-15-2005, 11:39 AM
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This should be fun, TWW is one of my top favorites.
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post #29 of 50 Old 10-15-2005, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
(Personally, I disagree and, for a number of reasons, believe Alda’s character will “winâ€.)
Not to be rude fredfa, but if you really believe that's how it'll unfold, then you must be hitting the same pipe as the earlier reviewer that believes this season is as good as Season 1. :) Here's how certain I am it'll be Smits - If Alda wins, I'll vote Hillary in 2008. And yes archi, you can hold me to it.

I am enjoying this season, but then again, I'm a guy that'll watch even the worst WW reruns on Bravo. My wife told me I was a "Wing Nut" and then tried to convince me that there actually is a group of WW devotees out there that call themselves that. I was afraid to check. I love the show, but nothing they've done since has topped Season 1.
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post #30 of 50 Old 10-15-2005, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeeJay1952
The show used to be about events in the "West Wing" now it is about who might be in the WW. I think the race is OK but shouldn't be the focus of all the episodes.
The show used to be about's the creator's incredible dialouge writing skills. Once he left, the West Wing started looking pretty mundane, particularly as events in the real world made it seem much less relevant.

The campaign storyline was a necessary change in the focus of the show, even if it won't be enough to save it.
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