“OK, what’s next?” The West Wing was a major hit when it first debuted — and has found a new generation of avid fans thanks to the streaming age.
The NBC political drama, created by Aaron Sorkin, originally aired from September 1999 to May 2006. Its impressive ensemble cast featured Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford, Stockard Channing and more who brought President Jed Bartlet and his trusted cabinet to life. After seven seasons, the series earned a number of prestigious accolades and was later named one of the Writers Guild of America’s 101 Best Written TV Series.
Even years after it went off the air, the West Wing‘s messages have hit home for both old and new viewers. The series explored issues like gun control, funding for the arts and efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. Though he didn’t want the world of the West Wing to exactly mirror the real world, Sorkin aimed to echo some of the issues facing Americans at the time.
“Our first season was [Bill] Clinton’s last year, and then the rest of the series was George W. Bush. At times there were episodes inspired by something that had happened in the Bush White House, but I tried hard not to do episodes that were ripped from the headlines,” he told Vanity Fair in September 2019. “I thought those were still disposable. I also wanted our guys stay in their parallel universe.”
The series has made a major cultural impact and many of its cast members still feel honored to have been a part of Sorkin’s universe.
“It is one of the most satisfying experiences I had in my personal and professional life,” Sheen, who played President Bartlet, told St Louis Public Radio in September 2014. “I’m indebted to Aaron Sorkin and everyone who was involved with that show and if I ever got another one, it would be lightning striking twice.”
When it comes to a West Wing reunion or reboot, Sorkin feels the same way. While fans would love to return to this fictional White House, the Oscar winner isn’t sure he can capture the same magic of the original episodes.
“I don’t know what it would look like,” he told Vanity Fair as the show celebrated its 20th anniversary. “Sure, I would love to do it. I love these people, and I’d love to revisit the area, especially nowadays, but I simply don’t have an idea that wouldn’t feel like A Very Brady Reunion.”
Scroll down to see where the cast of the West Wing is today!