I think it was a really, really, really bad move for NBC to show the first and last episodes of the Wing back to back last night. The contrast between the sharp, speedy, substance laden Sorkin years and the schmaltzy, emotional relationship-driven melodramatic pap that all too often characterized years 5-7 were in full display.
When was the last time an episode featured a 3 minute walk-and-talk? And also note that more time was spent of the characters' love lives in the 7th season than in the first 6 seasons combined. As invested as we were with the characters, this was still jarring because the what made the show different was how little time was spent on 'backstory' items while still developing the individuality needed to make each character compelling.
The kicker is that in a finale devoted to bringing emotional closure to the various character arcs, there was only one (Bartlett-Charlie) that was vaguely satisfying. And that was outweighed by two too-cute-by-way-more-than-half-moments - the return of the "Bartlett for America" napkin (another callback to one of the great episodes) and Santos's use of "What's Next." Compare this finale to that of NYPD Blue, and it's really no contest - one could be the pilot of a show I'd like to watch, the other would never even get picked up.
However, I am massively enthused for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. But I will go on record as saying that I think using Brad Whitford as the fast-talker with funny hair will prove distracting, as he will still be Josh Lyman as long as he's spouting Sorkinesque neo-poetry.