I remember hearing when Kiefer Sutherland was announced as the lead in the new ABC action/drama. Who wouldn’t be super excited that Fox’s Jack Bauer would be returning to TV?! But the actor’s return was just one of the many reasons why I was excited.
Later tonight, ABC will debut Designated Survivor, telling what we hope to be a hypothetical story of when everyone in American government leadership dies in a terrorist attack during a State of the Union address.
As is true in our real government system, one member of the President’s cabinet does not attend the State of the Union in person to become the designated person to become president should he or anyone in the line of succession isn’t able to carry out their duties.
The mere fact that the story revolves around a fact about our government’s workings was exciting enough for me, a person who does take an interest in our government workings. That doesn’t mean that those who aren’t interested in American governance won’t be interested in the show. After all, it’s a TV show created for the sole purpose of entertaining.
Without giving out too much away of the pilot episode, the show quickly passes the specifics of Sutherland’s character’s role as president and lunges into what it means when an unordinary person becomes the most powerful person on Earth.
At the same time, it’s worth nothing that I only saw the pilot and does what pilots do: set things up. We get to see Sutherland as Tom Kirkman (who is the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in parallel America) develop his character after quickly thrust into his new role. It’s a relatable topic of having to be ready when you’re not and something that doesn’t require you to have a political affiliation to understand.
At the same time, the dramatic political environment is the perfect backdrop to Kirkman’s story. Many of the Kirkman’s “allies” seem to really be out there to make him fail and potentially seize power for themselves. If that doesn’t sound like a political drama, I don’t know what does! But the interesting aspects of the show don’t stop there.
The timing of Designated Survivor‘s debut is also something that’s helping hype the show. We’re in the heat of a real political season where we’re about to vote in our new president. The show does a great job to bring believability with it relating so heavily to the workings of the presidency. When a fictional show is able to blue the lines of what’s real and what’s not while you’re watching it, you know it’s probably going to popular with a lot of people.
We’re already seeing that excitement for the series with the other series premiere reviews that have already posted, too. Many of the initial reviews have tied the positive rating for the show to its ability to connect to what’s going on in the world right now.
People love seeing that Kiefer is back on TV after nearly half a decade. People are excited that we’re getting an American political drama that crosses between the ever popular Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and 24. People are excited because a show is coming out that might sway them to vote a certain way in November.
So then you should be excited for Designated Survivor, too, at least for the first few episodes. Hopefully President Sutherland can kick some butt as our president in those episodes. Then I’ll be totally sold.
Designated Survivor is on every Wednesday at 10 PM| 9C on ABC.