My Top TV Couples!

I’ve recently been rewatching a few old television favourites and it’s become clear to me that the shows I tend to invest in usually have a strong couple at their heart. Some of these are friendships, some are more than that and others morph over time from one to the other. I’m still considering my list of ultimate TV friendships (watch this space), but in the spirit of it being Valentine’s Day, I’m starting with my favourite television couples.

Of course, everyone’s list will be personal, so I’m sure there will be couples I’ve missed who you would choose, so feel free to let me know your choices in the comments! It also goes without saying that this post will contain spoilers for the shows referenced.

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Fox Mulder & Dana Scully (The X-Files)

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To me, Mulder and Scully will always be the ultimate television couple. It was a relationship that grew from their strong friendship and over the years of the series I loved seeing how much respect and love these two amazing characters had for each other. It bubbled under the surface, but never detracted from the series itself and even 20 years later, the incredible chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson remains as powerful as ever. The magic the two of them share does not come around very often and as yet, has not been beaten. You can read more of my thoughts on these two here.

Harvey Specter & Donna Paulsen (Suits)

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I know some people may argue against the inclusion of Harvey and Donna in a couples list, but their relationship has developed so much recently, that I find it impossible not to see them as meant to be, even if they are not quite there yet! Over the last six seasons we have seen their deeply-rooted friendship grow. Yes, they’ve already been lovers once, but they share so much more than that. Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht have a chemistry that is rare on television and I’m sure their long-standing friendship has added to the fabric of Harvey and Donna’s relationship. These characters wouldn’t be so wonderful on screen were they portrayed by anyone else. As with Mulder and Scully, this is certainly a slow burn, but surely these two have to end up together?!

Josh Lyman & Donna Moss (The West Wing)

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I clearly enjoy the slow burn relationships don’t I, as here is yet another one! From the start of Aaron Sorkin’s political drama I always loved the banter between the Deputy Chief of Staff and his assistant and as the series progressed, their wonderful bond became more apparent. Thanks to Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney’s on screen connection, any other relationships each character had just never seemed quite as special as the one they shared together. Josh may have been the political player, but it became clear how much he relied on Donna and when she left to pursue her own ambitions, it gave him the push to pursue his new path and when they did finally get together it didn’t overshadow the series, as by then it was the logical and natural next step.

Alicia Florrick & Will Gardner (The Good Wife)

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I still feel incredibly sad when I think about this ill-fated pair, but there was no way they wouldn’t feature on my list, as they are probably the hottest and most moving couple on TV. The attraction between Will and Alicia was clear from the very beginning (in no large part down to the chemistry between Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies) and along with many fans of the series, I had my fingers crossed for their future. They clearly loved one another and Alicia should probably have picked Will before she ever married her dreadful husband. The time they were together treated us to some of the steamiest scenes on television (here’s one for the uninitiated) as well as some of the most emotional, but sadly it wasn’t to be, with Will being tragically killed in series five (something I still wish the internet hadn’t ruined for me in advance). It was an event I never expected, which still makes me reach for the tissues. The fact their love was cut short in such an cruel way makes their whole story all the more powerful and is probably the couple that has moved me the most on television.

Temperance Brennan & Seeley Booth (Bones)

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Bones is a series I’ve missed over the last few years and I’m slowly playing catch up, but what was clear from day one was the chemistry between David Boreanaz’s Booth and Emily Deschanel’s Brennan. I have only reached series eight (the final season 12 is airing now), but what I enjoy most about this series is how the writers were able to transition the characters from friends, to lovers, to marriage and children. It has enabled fans to see their relationship grow in a more mature and realistic way, which is something other shows could learn from.

The Doctor & Rose Tyler (Doctor Who)

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Since it’s return in 2005 Doctor Who has seen some wonderful partnerships on board the TARDIS. However, there is one that touched the hearts of many fans of the series and that was the love between David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler. Yes, nothing ever happened between them, but their bond was never in doubt and their heartbreaking farewell on Bad Wolf Bay was a classic moment that certainly made me shed some tears.

Kevin Walker & Scotty Wandell (Brothers & Sisters)

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There were many relationships within Brothers & Sisters, but for me the most heartfelt and believable one was that between Kevin and Scotty (played brilliantly by Matthew Rhys and Luke MacFarlane). Through all the Walker family turmoil, they were a breath of fresh air with their loving relationship. They weren’t free from problems (most notably Scotty’s affair), but loved each other enough not to throw their relationship away.

Buffy Summers & Spike (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

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Some may be surprised that the relationship on my list from Buffy is not the one between Buffy and Angel! Yes, theirs was one of the core elements of the series in the early years, but Buffy and Spike’s short-lived relationship was the one that has always interested me the most. When you think about it (and leave aside the undead aspect!), they were a far better match for each other. Perhaps it was the fact Buffy was older than the teenager who fell for Angel, but her connection with Spike came across as a more mature one. They knew each other’s faults and accepted them anyway and some of the scenes between James Marsters and Sarah Michelle Geller in those later episodes remain some of my favourites.

Doug Ross & Carol Hathaway (E.R)

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E.R remains my favourite medical series (more on that here) and although it had some lovely relationships during its 15 years, one always stood above the rest and that was the love affair between Doug and Carol. The fact it became so iconic in the 90s (and was the first big break for each of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies) is more impressive when you think that Carol wasn’t even meant to survive the pilot episode. They went through ups and downs, split up and got back together more than once, but you couldn’t help but root for them and the icing on the cake was Clooney’s surprise return for the last few moments of the episode which saw Carol leave Chicago behind for the love of her life.

Chuck Bass & Blaire Waldorf (Gossip Girl)

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Chuck and Blaire were the best schemers in Gossip Girl, manipulating situations and characters to their advantage and there were many times when I really couldn’t stand them! However, the writers created something very clever in their relationship. Despite their underhanded behaviour, they seemed to bring out the best in each other, which in turn changed my perception of them and thanks to the acting talents of Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester they became my favourite characters in the show. Had they not ended up together I’d have been thoroughly disappointed.

Carrie Bradshaw & Mr. Big (Sex And The City)

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The Mr.Big debate was a big one during Sex And The City’s run, with fans divided as to whether Carrie should end up with him or not. He may have been an idiot for the majority of the show, but I was always of the view that deep down they were soul mates. Despite all the pain and hurt, they always seemed to come back to one another and he would do anything for her. I also loved the fun they seemed to have and Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker sparkled in their scenes together.

Sydney Bristow & Michael Vaughn (Alias)

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J.J Abrams’s spy drama was a highlight of American television at the time of its original run and the will they won’t they dynamic of Sydney and Vaughn captured the hearts of its fans (including me). Yes, there were some utterly bonkers plot developments along the way, including Vaughn’s faked death, but Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan always ensured the relationship between Sydney and Vaughn was genuinely lovely to watch right until the end.

Ross Poldark & Demelza (Poldark)

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Yes, Aidan Turner’s torso has generated a great deal of attention since Poldark was brought back to our screens in 2015, but the best character in my view is the fiery Demelza, superbly played by Eleanor Tomlinson and their romance is what keeps me tuning in each week. They may be from different backgrounds, but they are undoubtably stronger together and do truly belong together. I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead in series three after the ups and downs of the last series.

Lizzie Bennet & Mr Darcy (BBC, Pride & Prejudice)

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Colin Firth may be a successful Oscar-winning actor, but he’ll always be best known for his iconic portrayal of Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. The British public fell under his spell and that of his counterpart Jennifer Ehle. In my opinion, they created the definitive Lizzie and Darcy and every scene they had together sparkled, making them one of the TV couples of the 90s in Britain.

Ianto Jones and Captain Jack Harkness (Torchwood)

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The relationship between Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) in Torchwood was hugely important for British television and remains one of my favourites of recent years. What was lovely about the pairing was that they may have been very different personalities, but were in fact perfectly suited. They were playful, affectionate and stood by each other through all the crazy happenings in their lives and Ianto’s emotional death in Children Of Earth was heartbreaking for fans of the show. We felt his loss as much as Captain Jack. Heck, does any other fictional character have a shrine like Ianto’s in Cardiff?!

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So, those are my top fifteen television couples. I look forward to hearing about who you would choose!

My Top Television Christmas episodes

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Photo from: electricsistahood.com

So to mark the start of December, I selected my favourite festive films, those that it wouldn’t feel quite the same without. Following on from that, it also occurred to me how many of my favourite television shows have featured some lovely episodes set at Christmas. This certainly seems to be something US shows do far more than UK ones (well except soaps) and although they can be overly sugary, there are some which are perfect entertainment for this time of year.

So, here are my favourite ten Christmas episodes of some of the television shows I return to again and again.

1. In Excelsis Deo – The West Wing (series 1, 1999)

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This series one episode remains one of my favourites of the whole series (you can read my full list here) and it’s certainly, for me, the best festive episode of The West Wing as well. There is the comedy of President Bartlett wanting to go Christmas shopping, the sweet scenes between Josh and Donna as she hints at gifts and then receives one from him that is an early demonstration of just how much they care for each other. Then there is Toby, who becomes determined to honour a deceased veteran who received his donated winter coat. It’s writing of the finest kind and full of all the elements Christmas should be.

2. The Runaway Bride – Doctor Who (Christmas Day 2006)

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The Doctor Who Christmas Special is now a staple of Christmas Day television and although more recent ones have been lacking for me, there are earlier ones that I return to again and again no matter the time of year. Above all the others, my favourite is The Runaway Bride, in which we first meet Donna Noble and a wonderfully comedic partnership is born, although back then I never expected she’d be back! It’s a bonkers story but this is Doctor Who after all, but more than that the acting of David Tennant and Catherine Tate is superb as their chemistry is so clear. Also, it’s more than a comedic hour, as David so beautifully conveys the Doctor’s very immediate grief at losing Rose. Whether it’s his heartbroken look at watching a blonde woman dance and the truly sad ending as he is finally able to say that her name was Rose, as he chokes back a sob. It’ll take a lot for a TARDIS Christmas to beat this for me.

3. A Scandal In Belgravia – Sherlock (New Year’s Day 2012)

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I accept that not all of this Sherlock episode is set at Christmas, with the story spanning a far greater period of time. However some of the most memorable moments for me are the Christmas scenes and as a result I always think of it as a Christmas episode. As my favourite Sherlock story to date, there is so much I could say about it (maybe that’s for another post!), but the writing is Steven Moffat at his finest, weaving an intricate plot that ultimately all makes sense and reaches a satisfying end. We also get to see 221b at Christmas and how hurtful Sherlock can be when showing off. Louise Brealey is wonderful as Molly in the scene in which she comes for Christmas drinks with her gifts. It’s also a brilliant moment as we see something unheard of – Sherlock genuinely sorry for hurting someone. I do still wonder what her gift was!

4. Noel – The West Wing (series 2, 2000)

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Another festive trip to the White House, although there is little cheer here, as we see just how dark a place Josh is in following the Rosslyn shooting. It’s a phenomenal performance by Bradley Whitford (which earned him an Emmy) as Josh is forced to admit how much his near fatal experience is continuing to affect him. It also contains one of my favourite scenes from any television series, as Leo recounts the story of the man in the hole whose friend comes to his aid. If anything emphasises what friendship should be about, then this is it.

5. The Christmas Invasion – Doctor Who (Christmas Day 2005)

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It’s incredible to think now how much of a novelty and possible risk for BBC bosses giving Doctor Who a Christmas special was and Christmas Day 2005 saw not only the start of a tradition, but also the proper introduction of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. I still think Russell T Davies is better at capturing the balance of fun, emotion and action for a Christmas episode and this was a brilliant start. By having the Doctor unconscious for most of the story, we see the events from Rose’s perspective and see how she has grown over series one to be a strong force in her own right and it’s only when there is no hope left that the Doctor can return to save the day – and in his pyjamas too! The moment Tennant appears in the TARDIS doorway, confident, cocky and full of joyous exuberance is a highlight of New Who and I knew he’d be brilliant. Not only is this a fun family story for Christmas, but it also manages to move the Doctor and Rose’s relationship forward for a new series.

6. Blue Christmas – Ally McBeal (series 3, 1999)

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Ally McBeal could always be relied upon to honour the festive season, but series three’s Blue Christmas will always be the highlight for me. The usually carefree Elaine discovers a baby in a manger and falls in love, determined to keep him. Seeing her interaction with the baby is delightful and helps us to see a different side of her. Then there is the usual shenanigans in the bar, this time seeing Ally don her Santa outfit to sing a sexy Santa Baby to a stunned Richard, Billy and co! For more nostalgia about Ally McBeal, you can read my favourite episodes here.

7. How The Ghosts Stole Christmas – The X-Files (series 6, 1998)

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Probably not a series you’d expect to do a festive story, this episode of Chris Carter’s brilliant show (I’ve already selected my favourite episodes of it here) is a fun addition to this list. Fox Mulder can think of nothing more festive than dragging his partner to a haunted house in the middle of nowhere, at which pairs of lovers are rumoured to have killed themselves over the years, following the death of the original occupants of the house centuries before. What follows is a gothic, yet darkly fun story, which sees the two ghosts (played by the brilliant duo of Edward Asner and Lily Tomlin) have their annual fun, trying to convince a couple to kill each other. David Duchovny revels is playing this more crazed side of Mulder and Gillian Anderson is fantastic as Scully becomes genuinely frightened of her partner. Fun and not your usual festive television, I still love this one.

8. Nine-One-One – Ally McBeal (series 5, 2001)

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Christmas 2001 was always going to be difficult following the recent terrorist attacks and Ally McBeal’s festive offering that year managed to do its part to honour the sacrifices made in reality through the story of a town banning Christmas due to a recent accident resulting in a number of deaths in the community, including its firemen. John Cage’s speech about the need to share the love of Christmas this year clearly had a deeper meaning not lost on its audience. The episode also saw the return of Josh Groban (whose beautiful voice I only discovered through Ally McBeal) and I never fail to be moved by the final scenes as his character sings To Where You Are in church in memory of his lost mother.

9. The Office U.K Christmas Special finale (2003)

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I wasn’t a regular watcher of The Office at the time but even I remember sitting down to watch its Christmas finale. Yes David Brent is his amusing and entertaining self, but the heart of this story is whether Tim (Martin Freemen) will finally get the girl of his dreams Dawn. After so much speculation, I started to think maybe a happy ending wasn’t to be, but the lovely scene in which she opens his heartfelt gift in the taxi and then returns to the party to kiss him is one of the most heartwarming moments of television I’ve seen. We’d all love to experience a moment like this in our lives (go on, you know you would)!

10. The Christmas Show – Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip (2006)

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It may have only lasted one series, but I grew quite fond of Aaron Sorkin’s post West Wing series and although some episodes were a bit nuts, The Christmas Show is one of the highlights for me. Matthew Perry’s Matt Albie is determined to pull off a festive spectacular, despite the efforts of his writing staff to debunk all things Christmas, while Bradley Whitford’s Danny Tripp fights to deny his growing feelings for Jordan. The scene in which he finally declares he is falling for her is perfect for his character, as he tells her he is coming for her. It shouldn’t be romantic but for these two it just works. There is also the lovely tribute to the people of New Orleans, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, as the musicians of that city take to Studio 60’s stage to play O Holy Night. It’s not a conventional festive episode, but I still find myself smiling by the end of it.

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There are others I could have selected, including festive offerings from E.R, Brothers & Sisters, more from Ally McBeal (special mention to series 2’s Making Spirits Bright), Doctor Who (The Snowmen is pretty good) and The West Wing (particularly Holy Night and Impact Winter).

Are any of your favourites included? Feel free to share in the comments.

Television Nostalgia – The West Wing – The finest television drama ever created?

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Of all the television shows I have watched over the years few have impressed me quite as much as The West Wing and it has become one of my top two favourite television programmes of all time (the other being The X-Files, which I grew up watching and therefore will always love). In case you haven’t  yet watched it (and I would say why on earth not?!), The West Wing centres on the lives (personal but mainly professional) of the key staffers in The West Wing of the White House, who over the course of seven seasons we grow to know so well and love. The main characters are Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, his deputy Josh Lyman, communications director Toby Ziegler, his deputy Sam Seaborn and press secretary CJ Cregg. Surrounding them are their assistants (especially Margaret and Donna) and the President’s staff, in particular his secretary and also his personal aide Charlie Young.

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The series was conceived as one that would focus on the individuals who work in the most powerful building in the Western world with the President rarely seen. However the casting of the supremely talented Martin Sheen changed this very early on. President Bartlett became as important a character as every other and he played the part to perfection – witty, dry-humoured, intelligent, compassionate, firm, comedic and serious. He is very much a President but also a husband, father and human being. There are so many superb dynamics within the show, whether it’s Leo and Bartlet, Josh and Donna, CJ and Toby, MR and Mrs Bartlet, Sam and Josh and many many more.

The West Wing’s success was not just down to its cast, who as an ensemble remain one of the most interesting and memorable in television history, but also because of the quality of the writing (led by creator and executive producer for the first four years, Aaron Sorkin), which was not only intelligent, but brought a style of drama to television that had not been seen often. The walk and talk tracking shots became one of the show’s calling cards and up until then had only been something I remembered seeing in the long-running medical drama E.R (whose executive producer John Wells was also part of The West Wing from start to finish).

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The West Wing doesn’t dumb down the plot , issues or dialogue for its audience and instead challenges you to pay attention, yet the political world in which it lives became one of the most exciting and interesting worlds on television (and, as the high ranking of President Bartlet in polls proves, better than the real thing for many viewers)! I concede that season five was weaker overall than those that had gone before, but I personally enjoyed the change of direction that followed, where time was split between the Bartlet White House and the campaign trail for the upcoming election. It introduced fresh characters (the brilliant Kristen Chenoweth as Annabeth Schott, Jimmy Smits as Santos and Alan Alda and Vinick in particular) and allowed established characters to move forward and develop.

Add to that one of the best couples on television in the form of Josh Lyman and his assistant Donna Moss, whose flirtatious friendship had audiences wondering for years whether they would ever realise how in love they actually were. It was also fantastic to have so many strong female characters in a political series – CJ Cregg is fantastic (strong, funny and  a little bit barmy), Donna sharp in wit and mind and an equal to her boss, Mrs Bartlet (played to perfection by the superb Stockard Channing) who was the one person to put the President in his place, to name but a few. Not to mention the incredible range of guest stars who cropped up over the years including John Goodman, Glenn Close, and Matthew Perry as examples.

The series also covered topics that were current or have happened since. During the shutdown of the US government in 20**, I couldn’t help but wonder whether anyone had suggested that President Obama stride up the road to the Capitol! The election campaign from the final season also saw an elder statesman against a younger Democrat from a minority group (admittedly in this case Latino) before Obama’s name became known worldwide.Image

For me, The West Wing has everything you could ever want in a television series – strong characters, interesting plots, intelligent dialogue and a mix of humour, tragedy, tension, romance and excitement. I was truly sad when I reached the final episode and it is one of the few series I can rewatch from beginning to end with as much pleasure as I did the first time (and I have many friends who do the same)! In fact it seems common for fans of the series to regularly return to it and start at season one!

So, in line with other posts of mine, here are my favourite episodes of this truly exceptional series:

1. In The Shadow of Two Gunmen (season 2)

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The opening two parter of season two is without a doubt my favourite story of the series. Kicking off from where the season one finale ended we see the staff dealing with the shock of the shooting and learn that both the President and Josh have been injured (the latter severely). As medical staff work to save Josh, we are taken through flashbacks to see where it all began and how CJ, Sam, Toby, Josh and Donna all came to work for Leo on Jed Bartlet’s campaign. It also has some of my favourite scenes, particularly when Josh arrives at Sam’s law office after seeing “the real thing” in New Hampshire.

2. Two Cathedrals (season 2)

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From the season opener to its finale, Two Cathedrals is another favourite and one that regularly tops most fans’s lists of favourite episodes. It gives us a greater insight into President Bartlet’s adolescence as he prepares for an incredibly difficult time in his life and Presidency, facing the loss of a friend and an unknown future following the revelation to the world of his illness. It also has two of the best sequences in television, the first being Jed’s angry outburst within the cathedral as he rages at God in Latin and the second as the President heads to the press conference, flanked by his loyal staff while the song Brothers in Arms plays. Wonderful, powerful and rarely beaten on television.

3. The Crackpots and these Women (season 1)

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An early episode that sees Josh having a crisis of conscience when he realises he is the only senior staffer to have been given a card, which in the event of a nuclear attack gives him a spot in the President’s bunker. It also introduced Leo’s hilarious Big Block of Cheese Day as we see a series of quirky characters present their cases for government attention. Plus who doesn’t love the moment Jed uses all the power of his office to force his staff to come round for chilli!

4. Tomorrow (season 7)

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A bittersweet episode, as it marked the end of the series, as President Bartlet makes way for a new President. I will always be sad that Toby wasn’t in it but at least his character was given a happy ending, as Bartlet’s last official act as President is to sign his pardon. Plus the emotional reference to Leo was wonderful and brought a tear to my eye.

5. 2162 Votes (season 6)

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The sixth season finale saw us find out which Democrat would go on to face Arnold Vinick in the following year’s election campaign as Josh and the Santos campaign went head to head with Will and Donna’s campaign for the Vice President. I found this episode to be truly exciting when I first watched it and wished my own political system could generate in me the same sense of interest as this fictitious race did! Plus Santos’s speech is brilliant.

6. 20 Hours In America (season 4)

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This two part season opener was a nice change of pace for the show, as Josh, Toby and Donna miss the motorcade and have a ridiculous journey across rural America back to Washington DC. In true West Wing style however the humour is also interspersed with an added level of emotion as a tragedy at a high school sees Bartlet give one of his most moving speeches (one which Sam has to write for him in the car to the event).

7. Shutdown (season 5)

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This episode stands out in season five. Josh has been cast out of favour and the government has been forced in to shutdown. It takes Mrs Bartlet to ask where Josh is and once back, it’s his superb idea to walk to the Republicans on the Hill. The moment the opposition appear to see him and realise the President has been and gone is one of the best moments of the entire series. Nice work Josh!

8. Gaza / Memorial Day / NSF Thurmont (season 5/6)

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This set of episodes are on my list for the simple reason that they contain some of the best Josh and Donna moments of the series.  The peace talks storyline feels rather unrealistic but the shock of Donna’s accident in Gaza and seeing how much it affects Josh is fantastic for anyone like me who was rooting for this couple. The man flies across the globe to be by her bedside for goodness sake!

9. In Excelsis Deo (season 1)

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I think all the Christmas episodes of this series are wonderful in different ways but this one sneaks ahead of the others. It perfectly blends comedic moments (as we see the President attempting to go Christmas shopping), sweet moments (as Josh chooses Donna’s gift) and moving moments, through Toby’s involvement with a deceased homeless man, whom he discovers was a veteran and whom he feels the need to help honour.

10. The Stackhouse Filibuster (season 2)

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This episode taught me something new about American politics (I now know what a filibuster is!) as well as giving us a glimpse in to the personal lives of CJ and Josh as they write to their parents during a never-ending night at the White House. I also love that it is Donna who saves the day by realising why amending the Bill in question is so important to Senator Stackhouse.

11. 17 People (season 2)

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17 people begins the build up to the emotional end of season two, as Toby is the 17th person to learn of the President’s secret illness. Watching him ponder what is going on as he bounces his rubber ball over and over builds the tension brilliantly. This more serious strand of the episode is also lightened by Josh, Donna, Sam and Ainsley trying to make a speech funnier, plus Donna and Josh’s lovely traffic lights scene.

12. Noel (season 2)

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The second season Christmas episode focussed on Josh’s inability to cope with the trauma of being shot and this delicate story concerning his PTSD and therapy was sensitively written and acted. We also see again the bond between Leo and Josh as Leo tells him the story of a man down a hole. It brings a lump to my throat.

13. Election Day (season 7)

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The election day two part story from the final season was a wonderful mix of humour, tension, excitement and unexpected sadness. We see how far Josh and Donna have come since their time at the White House, together with some lovely moments between Santos and his wife. Josh’s final words of thanks to his boss are also so very poignant. Plus for Josh and Donna fans the teaser sequence is utterly brilliant. I think I cheered the first time!

14. Transition (season 7)

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Otherwise known as the long overdue return of Sam Seaborn! I was very irritated not to see Sam in the previous episode Requiem, as it just seemed unrealistic that he would be absent. However I see that his absence meant that the wonderful scene towards the beginning of Transition allows Josh to repeat his actions from when they first joined the Bartlet campaign – barging in to Sam’s office saying he needs him. Sam was the only person who could have made Josh see sense at this point, as he starts to unravel and I longed to have more episodes with Rob Lowe back. It reminded me just how great the early years were!

15. Debate Camp (season 4)

This episode contains yet more flashbacks from the early days of the team’s time in the White House, in between practice at Camp David for the upcoming Presidential debate. It’s nice to see the team prepping Bartlet for this key event, but the flashbacks are also a joy, as we see CJ memorising the press room’s seating plan and Donna thinking there are missiles under the Rose Garden!

Episodes that I almost added include Bartlett For America, Pilot, Let Bartlet Be Bartlet, Hartfield’s Landing, King Corn, Requiem, Impact Winter and Faith Based Initiative. You see this is the problem with The West Wing. It’s so fantastic that almost every episodes calls out to be included!

SO if you haven’t ever given it a try I urge you to do so. You won’t regret it and you’re guaranteed to be adding another show to your list of favourites. Oh and for those like me who long for new episodes, here is the 2012 ad campaign for Briget Mary McCormack featuring a few familiar faces! http://youtu.be/v52FLMOPSig

Plus here’s a couple of my favourite clips:

Admit it, you’re reaching for your DVD box set right now aren’t you?! I’d love to hear some of your favourite episodes so feel free to comment.