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Commander in Chief: Sub Enchanted Evening

by Sarah Gilbert, posted Jan 11th 2006 1:01PM

commander in chief the president with
her new BEST FRIEND!While I'm enjoying this show still, after this episode I had to wonder if I could have just cut-and-pasted my review from the last episode before Christmas and changed a few words. The title: over the top cute (but still far better than "First Act of War" or something). The outfits: better, especially the yummy chocolate silk jammies. The angry teenaged daughter: still angry, still whiny, still want to slap her. Nathan Templeton: no longer evil. Just... not. What's with that?

What did I like? Well, those jammies. The nicely-built cliffhanger. The way Mac answers her phone while wearing aforementioned chocolate-colored jammies. It's soooo Presidential. The developing relationship between Jim Gardner and Rob Calloway - the dynamic works pretty well, sparring but with growing respect for one another. And Gardner with the loyalty? Boy that was a nice (if canned) little speech. I could almost hear the orchestra in the background soaring as he delivered the "I love the Pres" address to the gathered generals and admirals and such. Finally, I am going on record as saying that Ever Carradine's hair was nice this time. It still needs to be shorter but, at long last, it looks like it belongs on an adult. With a job.

This week, the episode goes like this: Nathan Templeton, arch-enemy of the president, saves her butt, the butts of a hundred-odd seamen, and oh yes, the butts of the Whole World. Or, well, he starts to before the cliffhanger ending. Everybody plays kissy face. Templeton gets more platitudes from his wife in an exchange oddly like one I would have with my husband (and her name is Sarah... does Stephen Bochco have a wire in my house?), but our exchanges have fewer of the "oh you're so right!"s from my husband. *sigh*

Becca whines, Kelly giggles, Rob looks serious, and Jayne tries to broke her once-upon-a-time power with her once-upon-a-time lover. All in all a typical day at the Mackenzie White House.

Something's got to be new, though. There's a sexy little exchange between Jayne and Richard (a.k.a. Zack from Saved by the Bell) that I liked way, way better than the Richard Kelly pairing. There's the uncovering of more evildoing on the part of dear departed President Bridges - this week, he's lied to everyone about the spying-on-North-Korea mission. That's how a submarine ends up a little too close to our arch-enemy, which is why they got in the pickle in the first place. And that's also why Gardner does his earnest, loyal, almost-sputtering speech at the end: "No more CYA memos, no more coverups, no more disrespect!" he tells the Admirals-and-such. Snap! Consider yourself served (and consider yourself lucky: just a smidge more drama and I would have been laughing).

I feel that I need to say this final bit again: I don't like Nathan Templeton nice. Sure, he is believable as a nice guy. I can dig that. But it's just so uninteresting. "Templeton will tear me apart!" says Mac when she's discussing the pros and cons of running for re-election. Then he goes and about breaks his face from smiling at her throughout the rest of the episode. She may as well ask him to be her vice president and have it done with. There is just no tension between them any more.

The question at the end, though, the only one that matters: are you dying to see what happens next week? Will this "Act of War" involve your viewership? It will mine, even though it's up against a Scrubs doubleheader. (which I totally plan to catch on reruns) It's dramatic enough to have me - if not on the edge of - at least, in my seat to see what will happen.

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donald campen

rod lurie had great ideas for this show as it was to proceed. his removal has caused a change in future formats and may be reasons show is not keeping it's ratings audiences. rod has community interests thinking in his mind and as a parent was attempting to restore parents support of movies/television through wholesome content in this movie. geena davis had same feelings and still does ,but, may being stymied by new writers content. i hear preachers,educators and people of all walks of life exclaiming their appreciation of the original pilot and few shows rod lurie completed ,before he was promoted from it.abc should get rod back into production .directing to return it to top viewing. i have seen lurie at work. when he sees something written that does not sincerely carry the story, he stops shoot to correct right then. so, it does take lurie's sensible thinking that slows production. let him use his great imagination to perfect strengthening the "COMMANDER IN CHIEF" plots. ROD is a parent,military trained ,disciplined human with good insights and purposes for his productions. keep viewing and urge abc tv moguls to reinstall Lurie into productions.

January 24 2006 at 3:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kathy West

I love this show. I've been watching it from the beginning. Geena Davis does a great job as always -- I loved her in "A League of Our Own" also. Its nice to see a strong woman in a position of authority, and its also nice that the writers don't pander to the tired "sacrificing family for the job" routine. Yes they do show that there are sacrifices for any family in this position, but there is also once-in-a lifetime opportunity. Its about time that Becca gets out of her self-centered funk, but hey, she is an imature teenager (no, I'm not saying that all teens are like her). Since I have lived in DC area all my life, a lot of this show seems very realistic to me.

January 21 2006 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't like this show at all. Gina Davis is not that good of an actress in general; this just showcases it more. It's so fictionalized....

January 21 2006 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I for one have followed this show from its begining. There have been times when I thought the writing was lame, but the story lines are good. The whole nuclear thing I think may have been a bit much, but it was good to see Mac stand up to the Generals and such. I didnt think however that Jayne was going to go back to Templeton, and thought she was going to be more on the the Pres's side but thats Templetons evil drawing her in. I cant wait until the campaining starts, its going to get vicious.

January 20 2006 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I for one will be watching next week and every week. While the show isn't very realistic, it is extremely entertaining. Take it for what it is. I love the show, Geena Davis is great and I hope it will be around for a while to come. I like Nathan Templeton when he is not evil. I think since his girl Friday came back, that aspect will likely return. Anyway, I am glad for the show. It is nice to see something that has nothing to do with crime, cops or forensics. I love those too, but it is nice to see something different for a change.

January 20 2006 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Janice Flaherty

I don't think Geena Davis is even a "good" actress, not to mention a "great" one who deserved the Golden Globe Award. I do appreciate Donald Sutherland's acting in any role and if anything can save this show, it will be him. However, I have stopped wasting my time on watching it, as I strongly believe most viewers will be doing soon.

January 20 2006 at 7:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really liked this episode; although, I agree that Nice Nathan has got to go. Donald Sutherland is so great when he's playing the president's enemy, rather than her cohort. In his defense, though, in a situation such as this, would you not want both sides of the political isle getting along for the better of the men and women who might die? I think it was true to form for both characters.
On the Becca whining: I agree it's annoying, but aren't the writers trying to present what it's like for a teenage girl to deal with her life suddenly being thrust into the public eye? Becca can be annoying when she gets her whole teenage
holier-than-thou petualance up, but that's what makes it so real.
Yes, I will definately be watching next week. It's
a shame viewers haven't been returning to this show, but with tougher competition it should be expected.

January 11 2006 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How sad that Bochco the Great has been reduced to babysitting this drivel. Then again, after his last two groundbreaking endeavors -- "Blind Justice," which was never given a fair shot by a "Desperate Housewives" besotted ABC, or "Over There," which relied too heavily on an untried (polite French for untalented) cast -- tanked, I'm not surprised. It may be a safe berth for a few more seasons, but Geena Davis is a weak sister at best. And so is the writing.

What a damned shame.

January 11 2006 at 6:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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