If you're like us, it's sometimes tempting to tune out of the daily insanity that is the current political climate in favor of binging The West Wing on Netflix for the first (or fiftieth) time. NBC's seven-year political drama hosted the kind of characters we wish populated our nation's capital; people who were honest, generous, hard-working patriots.
This attitude isn't a new one — it's been around since the show went off the air, and the cast is more than aware of the effect The West Wing has had on its viewers and how they view the highest office in the nation.
"Every election cycle, The West Wing comes back around in a whole new generation," Richard Schiff told TV Guide at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, where he was promoting his new show, The Good Doctor. "It's a phenomenon that I find just insane in a good way."
Encouraging political activism — especially in young voters — is a good thing, no matter what side of the aisle you find yourself on.
Schiff did recognize though that portraying a democratic president and focusing mostly on liberal issues did fire up support for democrats more than republicans, in one election in particular.
"In '08, I think it affected the election of Obama. Going around the campaign trail, which I did, and I was campaigning with and for Joe Biden," Schiff says. "All the Obama people would come up to me, in every city, and go, 'You're the reason we're here. You're the reason I got into politics. You're the reason why I'm a foot-soldier for Obama.' We had an effect on history in a way."
Now that the show is readily available on streaming platforms, it's been able to reach a whole new generation of voters, so if The West Wing cast expects the frenzy surrounding Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his auspicious senior staff to eventually wear off, they've got another thing coming.
The Good Doctor premieres Monday, Sept. 25 at 10/9c
Additional reporting by Sadie Gennis
Richard Schiff, The West Wing
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