NBC's show The West Wing is not for the intellectually or politically immature. It deals with current issues and even uses situations that the real White House has had to deal with. Aaron Sorkin has created characters who reflect the complexity of these issues and who, even in their competent attempts to deal with them, show us that the government is not a faceless object of unfeeling bureaucracy.

The fast paced-dialogue that is Sorkin's trademark evidences the characters' hard-hitting and yet human personalities as they each do their best to "serve at the pleasure of the President." Chief-of-Staff Leo McGarry is played by veteran actor John Spencer, who also played FBI Director Womack in The Rock. His wry humor and fatherly disposition, coupled with an unerring sense of judgment, make him the kind of Chief-of-Staff that other staff members know they can count on in a crisis. President Josiah Bartlett, played by the famed Martin Sheen, depends on Leo and is never disappointed. Bartlett's own keen awareness of the world around him and shrewd ability to assess a situation allow him to lead the free world down a path that any President would be proud of.

Deputy Chief-of-Staff Josh Lyman, played by the talented Bradley Whitford, manages situations with calm competence, despite the occasional flaring of temper or misplaced comment as in the series premiere. His secretary Donnatella Moss (Janel Moloney) assists him in dealing with whatever comes up and serves to create a just plain hilarious side-story to several episodes.

Communications Director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) is serious so much of the time that it's hard to tell when he's joking. But even without his dry wit, his passion and skill allow him to do his job better than anyone else could. Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn (acting star Rob Lowe of Austin Powers) is a talented speechwriter who's also somewhat a geek-- but a likeable, witty, wordmeister of a geek.

Press Secretary Claudia Jean Cregg (Allison Janney of American Beauty and 10 Things I Hate About You) handles the press, taking care of all the administration's PR. With her sarcastic sense of humor and taking-care-of-business demeanor, it's easy to see why POTUS puts his trust in her capable hands.

Also starring are Dulé Hill as Barlett's highly competent and amusing assistant Charlie Young and Stockard Channing of Grease fame as the first lady.