Designated Survivor (Pilot)

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhonne, Kal Penn, Adan Canto, LaMonica Garrett, Italia Ricci, Maggie Q, Tanner Buchanan, McKenna Grace, Kevin McNally, Michael Gaston

This is an excellent year for new TV shows. I’m already in love with This Is Us, and I’m on board for Pitch, and The Good Life. Designated Survivor is one of the rare shows that I immediately would have watched another episode. It’s not without faults, but damn if that wasn’t an action packed pilot.

I’m not sure what Designated Survivor plans to be, long term. I’m guessing that at some point, America will return to normal by Season 3 or 4, and it’ll start looking a little more like West Wing. That’s problematic for Maggie Q, unless her character arc carries her to the white house at some point. Also, Kiefer Sutherland is almost too sheepish here. I appreciate him trying to show some range, but I need my intense Kiefer to break out.

The supporting cast is good. Hopefully Kal Penn gets more to do, and Adan Canto finds a soul. It’s not quite on the level of 24 or West Wing, but it has a ton of potential. I’m not sure how many times I’ll watch it live. It’s up against South Park AND American Horror Story. Really competitive slot.

FINAL GRADE: A-

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