A 'West Wing' Reunion Is Officially Happening At The ATX Festival & Here's The Best Way For Fans To Prepare
Big things are happening at the ATX Television Festival this June. And by that, of course, I mean your favorite off-air shows are having a (sort of) renaissance. Alongside iconic shows like Friday Night Lights and The O.C. , the cast of Aaron Sorkin's critically acclaimed drama — The West Wing — will reunite for a panel discussion. The name of the panel is properly titled “The West Wing Administration” and, as 2016 marks 10 years since the show's series finale, it could not be coming at a better time.
So, who will be at the ATX Festival West Wing reunion? Oh, only the greats. Sorkin (of course), executive producer Thomas Schlamme, cast members Bradley Whitford, Dule Hill, Joshua Malina, Richard Schiff, Janel Moloney, and possibly more that haven't been yet announced. (Holding out hopes for Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, and Rob Lowe!) Though it's not the whole cast, for diehard fans of Sorkin's fast-paced political drama, this is a big deal.
After its debut in September of 1999, The West Wing ran for seven years, and was both critically-acclaimed (the show won a total of 26 Emmys) and loved by fans alike. Since it went off-air, it's been remembered for its impressive cast, lauded for its quick dialogue, and ultimately, very missed. Regardless of who makes an appearance, just having Sorkin in a room with Whitford, Malina, Schiff, and Moloney is enough to get my adrenaline pumping.
But, until the panel happens, you might want to consider watching these defining West Wing episodes in preparation.
1. Pilot (Episode 1, Season 1)
No surprises here, but the best place to start a rekindled love affair with The West Wing is at the beginning. Though pilots can often be shaky, The West Wing found its pace almost instantly.
2. "The Crackpots And These Women" (Episode 5, Season 1)
From that iconic Bartlet speech to the metaphorical presidency basketball game to the "Big Block of Cheese"... it doesn't get better than this.
3. "Six Meetings Before Lunch" (Episode 18, Season 1)
C.J. Cregg lip-syncing "The Jackal" will go down as one of the most wonderful moments in TV history. I dare you to challenge me on that statement.
4. "The Stackhouse Filibuster" (Episode 17, Season 2)
In this experimental episode, three separate characters explain what a filibuster is to their loved ones. It's a nearly flawless illustration of Sorkin's ability to take public policy not only something you want to pay attention to, but also something that's undeniably compelling.
5. "Two Cathedrals" (Season 2, Episode 22)
"Two Cathedrals" exhibits the nuances of Sheen's President Bartlet. As his character oscillates between a broken version of himself and the put-together leader of the free the world, “Two Cathedrals” gives us a view into the psyche of a tormented, but powerful man.
6. "Bartlet For America" (Episode 9, Season 3)
The flashbacks in “Bartlet For America,” give us insight into Bartlet and Leo's origin story — including Leo's relapse and the president's MS.
7. "Election Night" (Episode 7, Season 4)
As one of the most defining episodes of the entire series, Bartlet's bittersweet triumph, and all the emotional turmoil that follows, continued to inform the rest of the series.
In the words of Bartlet, I have a question for you. "What's next?" (The answer, FYI, is watching all the above mentioned episodes, and then tuning into the panel.)
Images: Warner Bros. Television