The West Wing is the single greatest television series ever and I’m prepared to fight anyone who says otherwise.
The cast of the West Wing recently reunited for a one-off special episode designed to encourage voters in the US to, well, vote, which was available on the US streaming service HBO Max. Alas, that service isn’t available to those without a registered address in the US, but HBO Max has subsequently made The West Wing reunion free-to-view… to anyone in the US.
Fortunately, this is less of a barrier than having to actually live in the US, so here’s how West Wing fans in the UK can watch the stage production of Hartsfield’s Landing, which is so brilliantly done there was a little something in my eye by the end of it. And I have a heart of pure asphalt.
How to watch the West Wing reunion episode in the UK
The West Wing special is available to stream from this link on the HBO Max website. However, if you click on that link from an ordinary browser in the UK, you will likely see:
There are a couple of ways around this obstacle. If you have a VPN service running on your computer, set it to make it look as if your connection is coming from the US and you should be let through the gates.
If you don’t already have a VPN, the easiest way around this problem is to download the Opera browser.
This browser has a VPN (that’s not technically a VPN, but let’s not get dragged into that now) built in, allowing you to fool HBO Max that you’re viewing from Texas instead of Telford.
When you’ve downloaded and installed Opera, click on the little blue VPN label in the address bar and select Americas from the drop-down menu of virtual locations, as shown below:
Now, click on the HBO Max link above once more and you should, should, be able to watch the episode. If it doesn’t work first time, try again.
The downside of watching via free VPNs such as Opera’s is that bandwidth is often limited. There was a fair bit of stuttering in the stream I watched, but it didn’t mar the viewing experience too badly. And, believe me, the production is an absolute treat. Enjoy.
By the way, if you’ve never watched The West Wing, do not start here. All seven series of the show has recently been added to Channel 4’s streaming service, All 4, so plough through those first and thank me later. I take all major credit cards.