Chances of a TV movie? Excellent. Chances of the show coming back as a regular series? I'd say slightly less than zero.
ABC is pulling the show for May sweeps, and when a network does that it's never a good sign. On top of that, they haven't announced when the show will return to the schedule.
For now, Primetime will take the show's place. Oh well. If they don't show the rest of the episodes they'll probably be on the first season DVD set.
I've never watched Commander-In-Chief. After many years of The West Wing, the show has a lot to live up to, and I can't bring myself to watch it (unfair, I know).
It really is getting to the point where you don't even need a TiVo if you miss something, doesn't it? Just go online and watch it on your computer. Not a bad second option, despite the ads (and smaller screen)...
This week, watching Commander in Chief, I felt as if I was in the middle of a lovable Steve Martin movie, one where the children were full of hi-jinks, the sexual escapades were many, the adults were in charge of Very Important Things and, at the end, everyone met over the breakfast table to giggle and eat homemade pancakes. In other words: schmaltz. In other words: saccharine. Gah! And just when we thought Nathan Templeton was going to be evil again.
Speaking of Donald Sutherland's evilness, I was happy to see just a glimpse of it, but it was prefaced by such a terrifically (I almost wrote, monumentally) obvious and overplayed line from Jim. I'll get to that in a minute. But first:
Isn't this show supposed to be award-winning? Oh, right, it was Geena Davis. Well, congratulations sweetie, I think you deserve it. But with dialogue like this, you may not keep the honor for long.
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.
It seems like every year at about this time, when everyone is making their big "tech" predictions for next year, someone always says that next year is going to be the year for TV on the internet. While it may not yet be a perfect system, or exactly as we all had expected it to be, whoever predicted that statement last December would be right on the money; 2005 will definitely go down as the year that TV came to the internet. The networks seemed to realize, throughout the year, that this internet thing wasn't going to go away anytime soon, and they ought to go ahead and embrace it. Tie-ins ranging from recaps and commentaries, to downloadable specials and entire episodes, to live tie-ins with game shows started popping up all over the web. And let me tell you, if you think that 2005 was big, wait 'til 2006 -- you ain't seen nothing yet. (Yes I know that's grammatically incorrect, it's from a song people!) On with the show!
Hail to the Chief! Geena Davis (that's Ms. President to you) is coming to an iPod near you. ABC added hit series Commander in Chief to the lineup of shows - including The Office, Desperate Housewives, and Lost, available through Apple's iTunes Music store for a buck-ninety-nine per ad-free episode. Of course, you could DVR or TIVO them for free if you have that capability at your house, and skip the ads that way, but hey - this way you can pop them on your iPod and watch them on the subway -- once that pesky transit strike is over.
Steven Bochco's presence is writ large all over the new (and improved?) Commander in Chief. All in all, I think the changes are good - the dialogue is a little snappier and doesn't talk down to the American viewing public so much, the wardrobe is better, and the story just seemed to flow well. But I'm having a problem with some of the characters. I can't stand the new guy. He's not believable and just looks like a teen heartthrob (Mark-Paul Gosselaar will always be Saved by the Bell too me), not a polling nerd. Bochco is turning Templeton into a sympathetic character, and Jayne is nothing like her old evil self, appearing now as the nervous schoolgirl in her first lobbying job. I like the new her. It just doesn't fit - at all.
Big changes this week in Commander in Chief make me wonder: is someone at ABC reading TV Squad? If so, welcome, guys! And thank you so much for (a) giving us an interesting title (even though I'm not entirely sure what it means) and (b) updating Geena Davis' wardrobe. THANK YOU. When I saw her in the yummiest-of-all-possible-yummy navy blue oversized glen check pantsuit with a delicious ivory silk shirt, I thought, this is a woman president's suit.
Despite these lovely changes, the writers saw fit to make an even bigger deal of Vince's HIV status. Evidently, despite my beliefs to the contrary, HIV-positive is not over as a political scandal. To whit, a question by a fictionalized member of the press corp: "does the presence of an HIV-positive man on her staff put the president in any danger?" hahahahahahaha! You're kidding, right? Is this a satire?
This episode was a significant uptick from the previous several; the "scandal" was both juicy and mysterious. Who's the leak? Is it Jim Gardner, Chief of Staff and former loyalist to the dead president? Or is it that shifty Vince? He of the questionable drug test? And thank you for keeping the family drama to a minimum - and giving Rob Calloway a chance to shine. But the shammy blackmail, oh, that's a low stoop.
And oh, just one more thing. Please kill the stupid "First [blank]" titles already! That might be cute. If it was absolutely nothing like that. But, uggh! If you can't even be creative enough to title an episode, why would we TV wonks have any faith in the underlying show? Anyway...
The writers have been listening with one ear, evidently, to the viewer's complaints: we want less 7th Heaven-style drama, more political intrigue; and enough with the international disputes already. In last night's show, we did get a domestic problem ("First Disaster") - a leaking oil tanker off the coast of Florida. But we got lots of family drama, dumbed-down for the refugees from the WB.
Dumbest of all, and what may have been the lowest moment of the entire series: when Geena Davis does the scorned woman look after finding out that her press secretary knew her husband was interviewing to be baseball commissioner before she did. She does the look well, I'll give her that, but the scenario is SO not befitting the President of the United States. Could this be an argument that my husband and I might get into? Yes, but we're sufficiently immature and - oh yeah - Not Elected Officials. What, are they setting up a First Gentleman - Press Secretary affair? If they hint towards that any more, there will be a new Lowest Moment to look forward to.
Oh. My. God. Couldn't they have at least come up with some funny First Gentlemen putdowns for the fake late-night talk show? Pricked his finger on a rose thorn? Secretary of Making Breakfast? Oh, come on. That's not the tiniest bit funny. And certainly not worth fighting over in the school yard. It's major cliché time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this week. And I'm sorry to say the only part I liked about this episode were the firings. Oh, the firings, and the excellent shot of Geena Davis in that black pantsuit as she watches her husband and daughter drive off for trick-or-treating fun. It's the best outfit she's worn (and that grey flannel thing? who are these costume people? that suit looked like pajamas. ick).
We had two excellent firings today, both rather predictable, both for behavior so sorry, so ludicrously insubordinate, well - it was a little insulting to women in general.
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