What do you do when you watched all the Marvel Netflix series, caught up on Supergirl, and are waiting for The Walking Dead to start up again? I talked to Agent P, our resident photographer and TV junkie and he gave me some good suggestions. After some false starts with On Demand, I decided to check out Designated Survivor with Keifer Sutherland.
The premise of the show is whenever there is a time that all of the government is gathered together, one person in the President’s Cabinet is chosen to sit out just in case there is a catastrophic event. Without too many spoilers, there is in fact a devastating event and the US government is all but wiped out in a horrible terrorist attack. Keifer Sutherland is thrust into the presidency and is completely unprepared for the responsibility. The show follows him as he assumes the mantle of most powerful man in the free world.
The series is four episodes in as of the writing of this article. Right off I want to say my initial expectation was that this would be Jack Bauer as the President, I’m glad to say that is not the case. Not that I don’t enjoy 24, it was a good show even if went on for a little while too long, it was just a single note song. The show proved to have a lot of depth and was played much more like a political drama, rather than an action show. There are certain “post apocalyptic” aspects of the show that I do hope they explore a bit more, but for the most part the show is played out as a hypothetical real world scenario of what would happen if we all of the sudden lost our entire government.
The show explores a lot of the xenophobia we experienced after 9/11. There are some side stories that deal directly with the treatment of the Muslim community after the attack. It is sort of a reflection on the current climate in America, with racial tensions being at a high given the election and other unfortunate events like the many police shootings and domestic bombings. It will be interesting to see how the show deals with this turmoil, will there be something for us to learn further into the series?
The cast is solid, headed up by Keifer Sutherland of course. His First Lady, Natascha McElhone (The Truman Show, Ronin) is a woefully underused star I’m happy to see in the series, she has a very sincere way of delivering her lines that helps you buy into the extreme scenario of the show. Italia Ricci (Supergirl) plays Sutherland’s special advisor, you will recognize her as Silver Banshee from Supergirl. She also happens to be freshly married to Robbie Amell who plays Deathstorm/Firestorm on Arrow. LaMonica Garrett (Transformers, Last Ship) plays Ritter, head of the CIA detail to the President. Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle) rounds out the cast as a speech writer who doesn’t have confidence in the newly appointed president. It is interesting to note that Penn also serves the role of political advisor to the show, which he is very qualified for being the Associate Director of the Obama administration’s White House Office of Public Engagement. All in all the cast is very solid, and does a great job of bringing some realism to the series.
So far I’m really enjoying it, compelling storyline, nice touches of realism, and solid acting makes it something appealing to me. I rarely watch shows as they are played live, I have a horrible time keeping up with so much stuff to watch, but this show seems worth it to try 🙂
all photos: ABC