ENTERTAINMENT

West Wing Special 2020: when is the reunion on HBO Max and what we can expect?

President Bartlet and the gang are back after almost 20 years for a stage performance to remind us just how much we miss Aaron Sorkin's sensational series.

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West Wing Special 2020: when is the reunion on HBO Max and what we can expect?
Jim Ruymen REUTERS

On 15 October 2020 the cast of hit TV series The West Wing returns to our screens for a one-off special. If you, like me, were (still are) a massive fan of Aaron Sorkin’s fast-paced political drama then you’ll not want to miss out on what he’s bringing back. Let’s have a look at what he has in store for us…

West Wing reunion: what can we expect?

First things first: don’t expect the flowing sequences through the vast rooms and halls of the White House as the characters trade verbal blows. This reunion is being shot on stage at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles and the interactions take account of certain guidelines put in place for coronavirus protection.

For those very familiar with the original series, this performance is a modern version of the ‘Hartsfield Landing’ episode from season three. And that means that many of those faces you came to know, and possibly love, are back.

Josiah "Jed" Bartlet (Martin Sheen), Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), Charlie Young (Dulé Hill), C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) and Donna Moss (Janel Moloney) will all be in the sharp-talking shoes of their old characters. And with the passing of John Spencer - the president’s right-hand man for so long in the series as Leo McGarry - Sterling K. Brown will play his role for this powerful special.

"Just trying to get pizza in an uncivilised world"

Josh Lyman always has an answer

With the show being used to promote When We All Vote (more about that later) there will be cameo roles from its co-chairs, Michelle Obama and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Add to that appearance from President Bill Clinton, Samuel L. Jackson and Elisabeth Moss and you just know you are in for an unmissable experience.

West Wing reunion: what time does it start?

The one-off performance is added to HBO Max at 12:01am ET on Thursday 15 October.

West Wing reunion: how can I watch it?

For those people who already have an HBO Max account, you’ll likely not even have needed to access this guide as you’ll have been enjoying the previews and promotions over recent weeks. For others keen to see the show there’s an option to sign up for a 7-day free trial for the service. It’s possible that you’ll want to remain on afterwards and pay the $14.99 per month, but if not, cancel and you’ll not be charged a cent.

Devices that support HBO Max include Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Android and Android TV, Chromecast, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, as well as modern Samsung TVs, although it is not accessible via Roku or Fire TV. As you’d expect, the service is available online.

If you need your appetite whetted, here's the trailer...

West Wing reunion: what’s behind this?

The show is raising funds for When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.

Not Bartlet | It will be interesting to get some feedback on the performance from TV's other president, Donald J. Trump.

Launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, When We All Vote is changing the culture around voting using a data-driven and multifaceted approach to increase participation in elections.

Chances are that if you’re a fan of The West Wing, you already know the importance of your vote and in the political process. As President Bartlet said when quoting anthropologist Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful individuals can change the world." Let’s make that group larger…