Designated Survivor

This is my latest binge program on Netflix, and I kind of hate myself for it because it’s such propaganda, but it’s exciting, fast paced, well written and well acted.  So, a couple of comments.
The setup is that a terrorist attack destroys the Capitol building during the State of the Union address, killing the president and almost all of congress and the cabinet.  So, Kiefer Sutherland, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who had been named the ‘Designated Survivor’ and was holed up in a hotel room, suddenly becomes the president.
The thing about all movies with American presidents, they are all totally dedicated people who try to do the right thing.  It’s Mr. Smith goes to Washington, every damn one.  What strikes with this program is that the idea of an honest person becoming president has become so unrealistic, so unbelievable, that it’s only by a magical hypothetical that it could happen.  That’s a bit sad, but not entirely untrue.
On the casting.  Kal Penn as Press Secretary is kind of brilliant, because he did work in the Obama White House, so it lends a bit of authority to the whole production.  I always wondered why he got sacked, though (because who would leave a gig like that voluntarily) and also why they wrote him out of House so thoroughly and vindictively.  Seriously, that was a low point for House.  House never did get to the bottom of it.  Totally out of character.
One that really surprised me was Rob Morrow turning up as an old, alcoholic journalist.  The thing is, after a brilliant run as Fleischer in Northern Exposure, I lost track of him for a while and then he was working on that totally pukeworthy series Numb3rs, where he was a hot shot detective whose brother was a math genius and they solved lots of crimes using statistical analysis and various other math tricks.  Hated that show, and pretty much everybody in it, Morrow especially.  Just sort of an arrogant vibe.
So, seeing him a few years older, with a bit of extra weight, and playing somebody a bit more rumpled and a bit more ethically compromised, is interesting.
I give it 3 and a half stars, 4 if you like that kind of thing.

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