TV: Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor
ABC Wed 10/9 c
Starring Kiefer Sutherland
Episode: 1:1 Pilot
FA Scorecard: B
Reviewed by: Lori Twichell

Jack Bauer is back on TV! Whoa – wait. Woops. I mean Kiefer Sutherland is back on TV. (But really, isn’t that what a lot of us are thinking? Kiefer can pull off President better than some who are running in this election. C’mon…you were thinking it too!)

Okay, sorry. Back to the review.

Tom Kirkman is one of the lowest level cabinet members possible. He works housing. At one point during the show, someone says “The guy finds free  houses for people!” That pretty much sums it up. And if you’re looking for Jack Bauer, I’m sorry. You won’t find him here. At least not yet. When the show opens they make it very plain and clear that he is the furthest thing from Jack Bauer that you can find. Even when the President basically strips him of any ideas or hope he had for being active in this administration, he remains the peacemaker. In fact, the President even essentially fires him by giving him a job that is so low on the totem pole he makes a comment about someone from IHOP being available for the position. And still he doesn’t fight or argue. He’s calm. Peaceful. And unfortunately, a pushover.

Now you know what happens here. the U.S. Government blows up. Literally and figuratively. So this man who was fired from his job earlier in the day is now President of the United States.

I really enjoyed that the show didn’t deviate into a political tirade. There were a lot of places that it could have gone this direction really easily. I respect and appreciate that they kept it about the human emotions and reactions. What would you do if you were suddenly asked to lead the country? How would you handle it? Are you presidential enough to be on TV?  I loved the idea of examining the presidency in this light.

Now if you are all about the tactics and strategies or whether it is realistic, you might have to stretch your imagination a bit. Or maybe close your eyes. My husband is former military and he spent a lot of the show yelling at the TV. Most often it was “That wouldn’t happen. Oh come on! Seriously?!” (To be fair, he did this with Jack Bauer a lot too.)  So if that’s what type of show you enjoy, you might have to give this one a a lot of grace.

So far, I’m enjoying where they’ve taken it. The show has some humor and enough heart to keep me engaged. I loved looking at how the average family would deal with this crisis.

At this point, I haven’t declared it ‘must watch’ and I have no idea if they can keep the momentum going, but I’m interested. I’ll keep watching. Here’s hoping that they are able to keep things moving forward without too much crazy.

*Designated Survivor airs on ABC, Wednesdays at 10/9 central.

1 thought on “TV: Designated Survivor”

  1. I have high hopes for this show! Watched it with my hubby and we both really enjoyed it. The family dynamic feels a wee bit too similar to “Madame Secretary”, right down to the fly-by conversations they have in their kitchen, but I can let that slide. I appreciate that even though Tom is essentially a peacemaker who comes off as a pushover before the crisis, there are moments after the BOOM when we see his resolve and strength shine through. I just hope we don’t end up discovering he had an affair with his Chief of Staff. There were a few hints at it, and each one of them made me groan. It’s such a cliche, it would be a cheap way of creating drama. So, fingers crossed. I watched Kiefer save the US on nine different days. Now, it’s his turn to be President!

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