Tuesday, October 10, 2006
PRESIDENTIAL! Commander in Chief, More4, 9.00pm
This one makes for an interesting case study: as one of the new series on the ABC network last year (i.e. 2005-06 season), this show leapt out of the gate with strong viewing figures and a generally friendly critical reception. Then, at the end of the season - it got cancelled. We don't know the full details, but apparently there were production issues, and bits of the show were retooled, and the audience started dropping off, and...yeah. It's a little bit scary how fleeting success can be sometimes in Tellyworldland. (Although we feel honour-bound at this point to draw your attention to the fact that although it got canned as a series, ABC have plans to resurrect it for a two-hour TV movie and possibly other spinoff-type things if that's successful.)
So, the lovely Geena Davis (who appears to be suffering from the same terrible affliction as Marcia Cross, where your forehead just utterly refuses to wrinkle no matter how much you're emoting - perhaps it's genetic in redheads?) plays Vice-President Mackenzie Allen, who is thrown into turmoil when the President suffers an aneurysm and is rushed into emergency surgery. She's then asked by various official types to resign so that the Speaker of the House can assume the presidency, a request which is repeated by the President, who admits he only chose her as a running mate to get more votes. She considers doing as she's bid, but since it would be an extremely short show if she complied, the Speaker of the House turns out to be an enormous ass and she becomes the first female President of the United States. Woo, and indeed, hoo.
There were reports a while back that the networks were having trouble selling this over here, since it was deemed too US-centric and jingoistic to appeal to British audiences, but it premiered on ABC1 and has now been snapped up by More4. From what we've seen of it, it's actually pretty good, if not outstanding. Geena Davis is great, obviously. Donald Sutherland chows down on the scenery as is only right. And Mark-Paul Gosselaar from Saved By The Bell appears as a political whizzkid in later episodes. What's not to love?