Starring Geena Davis, Donald Sutherland
Written By: Rob Lurie
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buy on Amazon.com link
I’ve seen the promos for this show before but never took the time to actually watch it on TV. I thought the idea for the show sounded fresh and intriguing and after watching the first part of Commander In Chief, I was pleasantly surprised with just about ever aspect of the show.
Commander In Chief takes a look at what would happen if a woman was to finally gain the Presidency of the United States and all of the upheaval that a woman in the Oval Office would cause in Washington. When the President dies in office the constitution states that the Vice President will take over in office and carry out the current term. This has happened before on a few occasions in U.S. history so it is realistic that something like this could happen. The difference in Commander In Chief is that the VP is an Independent and oh yeah…she’s a woman. Asked to resign by her cabinet members and the President himself while on his deathbed, Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis) knows that if she resigns she will be handing over the reigns to the most powerful country in the world to the power-hungry Speaker or The House (Sutherland). Knowing that his beliefs and his lack of direction for the country would not be in the best interest of the American people, Allen decides to go against the wishes of the President and her colleagues and make history by becoming the first female President of the United States of America.
What I liked most about CIC would have to be the idealistic fantasy world in which the President of the United States actually cares more about helping the country than trying to get re-elected. Knowing that as an Independent, there would be almost no chance of being elected for a full term, President Allen decides not to campaign and focus more on solving the issues at hand. Like a said, it’s great fantasy. A president with no political ties to any party and no hidden agenda other than what’s best for the country…yeah right…that will be happening this century. The writing was top notch in many aspects. There were heavy political overtones in most episodes but there was also some good old-fashioned family drama and some comedy to boot. President Allen gets so much crap thrown at her that you almost feel sorry for her until you realize that her character can handle just about anything whether its removing a dictator of a small country that is killing American workers in his country or preventing terrorists from bombing elementary schools. Most of the political issues were also dumbed down enough for a regular viewing audience to digest without changing the channel. The family drama seemed out of place at times as just being filler for a few minutes but only on a few occasions. It was an interesting aspect to show how a mother of three would deal with trying to raise a family and juggle being President of the United States. Her oldest daughter disagrees with her mother’s political ideals and with her accepting the Presidency because she felt that the people voted for President Bridges and his agenda and not hers. This shows a rift that is forming between the two that might foreshadow some coming problems. Allen’s son seems to be nothing more that a Dawson’s Creek jock that didn’t seem to play any major role so far. Probably the funniest thing in the show is Allen’s husband trying to deal with being the First Gentleman. Giving White House tours and having meetings with art clubs is a far cry from being the President’s advisor and Chief of Staff that he once was.
Donald Sutherland was the perfect stereotypical foil to Geena Davis’ character. His character of Nathan Templeton was the total polar opposite of Mackenzie Allen. His own agenda was all that mattered and he would do anything to gain the power of the Presidency at any cost. Slowly but surely, his planted seeds in the cabinet begin to resign at crucial moments such as right before a summit meeting with the Russian President or right after a major military move. President Allen always seems to counter whatever it is that Templeton throws at her. This kept the show interesting because at times you never really knew who was on the President’s side and you felt sympathetic if someone deceived her and you felt relief when someone decided to back her instead of Templeton. It almost reminds me of a Superman/Lex Luthor battle between good and evil if I can make that comparison. Lex Luthor became President you know.
If I had any complaints about Commander In Chief, it wouldn’t be about the show itself but it would have to be about the DVD set in general. If there is only going to be one season of the show, why is it split up in two different parts on two different DVD sets and why the hell is a television show in Widescreen? Family-friendly Widescreen as a matter of fact. What that means, I don’t know, but I see nothing family-friendly about Widescreen anything. In fact, when I think of Widescreen, I just want to go beat my wife and kick my cats because I hate it that much. Part 1 of CIC only contains 10 episodes on two discs and they could have easily fit the entire season on those same two discs without splitting everything up. It’s not a big deal but I would much rather have the whole set in one handy collection and be able to watch the entire series.
So if it is true that Commander In Chief is no more, it really is a shame because the series had so much potential. There could have been some great drama leading up to the election year with Allen running against Templeton and his Capitol Hill cronies. It definitely would have made for some interesting stories and plot twists. For now you’ll just have to live with Part One which is good enough on it’s own and will surely hold you over until someone realized the error of their ways and picks up the show for a couple more seasons.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Widescreen (1.78:1) Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Favorite Scenes: Pilot, First Choice, FirstDo No Harm, First Scandal
Running Time: 427 minutes