I suppose it may be apparent to people that have followed my writing(s) over the years that I am still and have long-since been influenced by The West Wing. To be a fan of a show, to find that it resonates with your life enough to merit re-watch after re-watch is both a blessing and a curse. I am currently on my thirteenth complete watch through of the West Wing, and due to the lockdown situation we are all living through I am far further along than I usually am in May. I have nearly finished the seventh and final season; Leo has been committed to the ground, Josh and Donna have taken their Sam Seaborn mandated vacation and in a few short episodes Toby will cook a chicken and find a typo in the Bill of Rights, and then it will all be over and I will once again be left wondering, "What's next?"
What was next for Aaron Sorkin was the criminally under-valued Studio60 (on the Sunset Strip) which was a fantastic tour de force of social politics in the US, mixed with personal drama and quite a lot of great humour. Matthew Perry proved that he definitely had a far wider range than Chandler Bing (though that is also proven by a couple of indie movies he did after FRIENDS imho), and Sarah Paulin stole the show week after week after week. It would be a couple of great movie screenplays and almost ten years later that he would bring us The Newsroom on HBO and once again provide the one clarion voice for reasoned, sober liberalism without the fence-sitting in a Real World where the rise of populism and the death of nuance were both the terrifying orders of the day.
So, what is going to be next? We can't expect Aaron Sorkin to storm the gates of the television industry yet again to bring us drama with a conscience, and anyway I have some issues with lionising a white, middle-aged, straight guy as the guardian of progressive mass entertainment, if I can quote one of his creations;
"Yeah, make all the jokes you want but let me tell you something they claim to speak for the underprivileged but here in the blackest city in America, I'm looking at a room with no black faces. No Asians, No Hispanics. Where the hell's the Third World they claim to represent?"
Where is the film and television that speaks to my politics, that forwards the notion of a just society where all people are genuinely equal, along gender lines, along racial lines, regardless of sexuality or physical or neurological ablement? That believes that the rich should pay more tax, should welcome shouldering the burden of creating a society wherein no one suffers and all have dignity?
I am serious, please, please, please tell me where this show or movie (or both) is, so that I can watch something other than Aaron Sorkin dramas when I want to feel as though someone in the World agrees with me.
Or should we just get started on writing it? I mean if you wanted to start right now.