Did we like it?
It’s like The West Wing with added soap and 24-style national security threats, but with all that complicated yucky jargon washed away. So it’s a little bit melodramatic and cartoonish for us intellectuals, but the opening two episodes had us hooked (although we’re a bit wary about getting too addicted because the show has been through a fair amount of turmoil in the US and may not survive long-term).
What was good about it?
• The premise is daft – female professor at a Maryland university becomes VP then becomes the first independent president – but the writers managed to make it seem plausible and Geena Davis was believable as President Mackenzie Allen.
• Matt Lanter as Mackenzie’s jock son Horace. He’s the best-looking guy you’ll see on TV all week.
• Donald Sutherland as Mackenzie’s nasty old nemesis Nathan Templeton, who thinks he can pull all the strings. The rivalry between the pair looks like being an enjoyable pantomimish theme throughout the series.
• Mackenzie’s staff seem like a good mix – and our favourite is the press secretary Kelly Ludlow who has none of the confidence of The West Wing’s CJ but lots more sweetness.
• The comedy character Nora Woodruff, the snooty social secretary, who showed the family around, pointing out instances of where Hillary Clinton had blatantly ignored protocol: “That didn’t go over very well,” she added every time.
What was bad about it?
• Mackenzie’s husband/the first gentleman Rod (Kyle Secor) is so annoying. Fortunately, Mackenzie realised this . “He knows as the first female President, from an image point of view, I can’t have it seem like my husband is running the country.” So he’s been shunted off to the pink offices and kitchen.
• The gender war gimmick may wear thin after a few weeks. Best reference in the pilot was Mackenzie’s sarcastic remark: “We have that whole once-a-month, will-she-or-won’t-she press the button thing.”
• Mackenzie wears too much lipstick
• The right-wing Sharon Davies-alike teenager daughter Rebecca who would rather see Pat Buchanan as president than her mother
• The cutesy younger daughter Amy (“Will they put your face on the money, mummy?”) who spilt her juice over her mother’s blouse as they were en route to give a speech to Congress