My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Bad Television

Being a political junkie, I am an unfortunately easy sucker for dramatized politics. It was this propensity that compelled me to tune in to "Commander In Chief"--the new Geena Davis vehicle--tonight.

Let me rephrase that: it was that propensity that UNFORTUNATELY compelled me to tune in tonight.

Before even dealing with the politics--carefully shielded but still evident--behind the show, just from the standpoint of drama this was a bad hour. The dialogue was poorly done, the production quality was lacking, and the characters were only slightly likeable or interesting or. . . well, anything.

Just to give a one scene example: the closing act was the new President addressing a joint session of Congress. In the hallway outside the chamber Davis asks her onscreen hubby something like "Do you hate me?" (the difficulties of the transition was one of the sub-texts (YAWN)), to which he replies "No. Now, go win the country" after which they embrace in a aunt-with-the-mustache-type hug. Davis is announced, and walks into the chamber, past the four or five rows of legislators (small Congress, I guess) into a completely antiseptically-lit room with very little in the way of camera flashes, onto the podium where she delivers a speech during which--GASP--the teleprompters go blank!!!AUGHHGHGHGH. Donald Sutherland, sitting behind her as Speaker of the House, smiles conspiratorially. In all, it was just barely professional.

If this show is attempting to inherit the fading legacy of The West Wing, it falls far short. Regardless of its politics, TWW always LOOKS completely authentic and the dialogue is without a doubt the most intelligent on tv (again, regardless of the politics). CINC. . . not so much.

The politics were too carefully protected--Davis is supposed to be an independent whose role as VPOTUS was lttle more than a political stunt. But you can pick up the subtext: Sutherland is menacing as a conservative Speaker "just to the right of Genghis Khan" and a list of scandals included "Watergate, Iran-Contra Gate, and WMD-gate." And the central conflict of the show is this President's commitment to freeing a Nigerian woman in Nigeria from a death sentence for adultery according to Nigerian law. . .to which she is willing to commit special forces from the central fleet.

Disappointing. I like Geena Davis--she strikes me as a smart and classy woman whose great work as a quirky character actor in such movies as "The Accidental Tourist" and a very credible turn as an action star in "The Long Kiss Goodnight" earned her my respect as an actress. But this is bad, and she also gets credits as associate producer, so . . .

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