EDitorial ± 26-Feb-2001

Yes, Mr President

I'm hooked. Not on prohibited substances, you understand, though the caffeine consumption can reach dangerous heights, but on The West Wing, Channel 4's latest top-notch US drama series. If you've not been good enough to yourself to catch it yet, it's about the daily goings-on in the White House. Yawn! Doesn't sound too inspiring, does it? But the characters, the ideas, the machinations, the dialogue are all fantastic.

Over twenty years ago Francis Ford Coppola made a film called Apocalypse Now, starring Martin Sheen as the man ordered to go find Marlon Brando. Since that time Sheen senior has often been eclipsed by his boys, Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez, and not always due to their acting roles. But in the West Wing he's back with a vengeance, playing a very credible President of the United States. Apparently there are a number of American citizens who'd much rather have the wise & compassionate fictional president installed on Pennsylvania Avenue in preference to that scary Dubya guy who (eventually) won the last election.

PotUS and Toby

As with all US telly, you can also test your knowledge of popular American culture by simply trying to understand the quick-fire references in the writing. Last week's episode mentioned trying to buy a copy of the constitution from amazon.com (should be interesting to see how that citation stands the test of time), and one of the aides referred to the president as Knute Rockne. I also learned about the fourteen types of punctuation mark used in standard English. Watch and learn.

So, every Thursday, 10pm (actually 10.30pm this week) on Channel 4. Make a date with your VCR. This week's VideoPlus number is 695642. Now you've no excuse.

Be seeing you!