10. THE WEST WING
Created by Aaron Sorkin
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Aired: NBC, 1999-2006
“The people who get angry at us on one Wednesday night will be standing up and cheering the next Wednesday night,” Aaron Sorkin wrote in Written By before The West Wing premiered. Sorkin’s White House will forever be associated with the Clinton presidency, both because it debuted during the end of Bill Clinton’s two terms and addressed a certain Camelot magnetism that Clinton evoked (former Senate staffer Lawrence O’Donnell and former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers wrote and contributed to the show). Sorkin’s President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) was different from Clinton in significant ways, including the fact that he was a Catholic from New Hampshire. The world crises the show sampled were believable, while the fanciful beats came via the president’s staff, who comprised a winning band of hyper-smart, quick-witted but fallible planners and semanticists, harmonizing the sardonic tones of Sorkin’s dialogue like a gospel choir.
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