From the amazon.co.uk Season 1 review (and how many times can one review use the word 'brilliant'?):
Aaron Sorkin's American political drama The West Wing is more than mere feel-good viewing for sentimental US patriots. It is among the best-written, sharpest, funniest and most moving American TV series of all time. In its first series, The West Wing established the cast of characters comprising the White House staff. There's Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer), a recovering alcoholic whose efforts to be the cornerstone of the administration contribute to the break-up of his marriage. CJ (Alison Janney) is the formidable Press Spokeswoman embroiled in a tentative on-off relationship with Timothy (Thirtysomething) Busfield's reporter. Brilliant but grumpy communications deputy Toby Ziegler, Rob Lowe's brilliant but faintly nerdy Sam Seaborn and brilliant but smart-alecky Josh Lyman make up the rest of the inner circle. Initially, the series' creators had intended to keep the President off-screen. Wisely, however, they went with Martin Sheen's Jed Bartlet, whose eccentric volatility, caution, humour and strength in a crisis make for such an impressively plausible fictional President that polls once expressed a preference for Bartlet over the genuine incumbent.
+ crack_van Overview by girlfromsouth. This overview, done for the rec community crack_van finishes at Season 4.
+ For really in-depth reviews of every single episode outside of LJ, head over to the Television Without Pity recaps. (Just beware of snark.)
:: General Fandom Resources
+ tww_full_lid: the fandom newsletter. Lists any and all fic, icons and graphics, interesting discussion, news items and other things of interest to the fandom at large which the mod can find. Accepts pimps and self-pimps.
+ west_wing_fans: the most general community for TWW on LJ. People often post with news or questions or just interesting TWW-related squee.
+ sorkinistas: another excellent news comm which posts a couple of times a week with news concerning any and all actors who have appeared in Sorkin shows.
(Okay, these are I guess, all cheating, since they are links outside LJ, but hear me out. A good deal of TWW fandom went on (I think) outside the confines of LJ or happened way back when LJ wasn't so popular. So a tonne of excellent resources which I know I rely on day-to-day as a fan are to be found elsewhere. I've included the best ones here.)
+ The West Wing Continuity Guide: an occasionally very useful, occasionally infuriatingly incomplete site which keeps a short summary of each episode and also aims to answer various questions which might crop up whilst watching the show and be hard to get a quick easy answer for. For example, if whilst watching 'The Crackpots and These Women' you had wondered which version of the 'Ave Maria' Josh was listening to, the Continuity Guide would tell you. The Guide keeps similar pages for each of the characters as well.
+ The West Wing Episode Guide: lists episode information, cast and crew lists and short summaries.
+ Bartlet4America: also has both an episode and character guide as well as a comprehensive News page with links to articles and news items of interest to TWW fen. Bartlet4America also has a wonderful 'Extras' section containing things like a map of the West Wing, sightings of Josh's backpack and lists of the music played in the episodes.
+ The West Wing News Blog: the most comprehensive TWW news site. Updated regularly, it lists virtually everything that a TWW fan could want to know concerning the activities of the actors and spoilers for the upcoming episodes.
+ TWW at Television Without Pity: a great resource, with both extensive recaps of every episode and a huge set of forums. Expect snark though, and lots of it.
+ The West Wing Collection: a complete collection of good-quality screencaps from all seven seasons.
A good deal of these communities get only a small amount of traffic, but I'm listing them anyway in the interest of completeness. Because you never know. Any character or cast member who is unlisted is missing only because no community (yet) exists for them on LJ.
Josh Lyman/Brad Whitford:
CJ Cregg/Allison Janney:
Sam Seaborn/Rob Lowe:
Kate Harper/Mary McCormack:
Donna Moss/Janel Moloney:
Toby Ziegler/Richard Schiff:
Abbey Bartlet/Stockard Channing:
Leo McGarry/John Spencer:
Amy Gardner/Mary Louise Parker
(with Mandy Hampton) mandyamyism
Will Bailey/Joshua Malina
Andrea Wyatt/Bird York
birdyork (Though nb. this is more about Bird's career as a musician.)
Annabeth Schott/Kristin Chenoweth
Mandy Hampton/Moira Kelly
Matthew Santos/Jimmy Smits
Arnold Vinick/Alan Alda
Debbie Fiderer/Lily Tomlin
TWW has a regular slot on crack_van: the memories for TWW recs are here and the sign-up sheet lives here.
There is also the seldom-used community, tww_recs
inthetallgrass (This comm is the one which probably gets the most traffic and has the most members. A good place to start.)
tww100 (Like the other _100 communities, this comm issues weekly prompts which writers respond to with 100-word drabbles.
'Ships and Pairings
Toby/CJ: otp and cj_toby
Josh/Sam: notsosecret and samandjosh
tww_icons (Another community which gets a *lot* of traffic.)
sorkin_quotes: Exactly what it says. Nice way to re-live the great lines.
tww_beta: For the finding of betas for fanfiction or volunteering your own talents as a beta.
wingswing: An annual ficathon for the women of TWW. Excellent for femslash.
tww_minis: A monthly ficathon community which aims to go through all the major and recurring characters of the show and give them their own mini ficathon round.
wwficfind: For the finding of particular stories. Also accepts recs.
UPDATED: 5th October 2006
If there's anything I've missed, please do comment!