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Designated Survivor does not live up to potential, melodramatic plot

‘Designated Survivor’ – starring Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto
6 out of 10
By Michael Taszarek ’18

“Designated Survivor” is one of those “it could have been” television shows; it is good, but it could have been a whole lot better.

I love politics, so I was accordingly enthralled when I saw the first trailers for “Designated Survivor.”

A television series that imagines the worst attack on U.S. soil, the bombing of the U.S. Capitol during the president’s State of the Union Address.

The Designated Survivor, the one cabinet appointee that stays in a secure location in case of such a horrific attack, must become president.

This kind of idea has a ton of potential, but ABC has again left me, and many others, very disappointed.

Tom Kirkman, an urban planner by trade and and current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is next in line to be president after terrorists attack the U.S. Capitol building.

This is not the Secretary of State, the President Pro-Tempore, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  

This is the HUD secretary, not the guy who would ideally take the helm of the U.S. after such an attack. After the attack, Washington D.C.,as one would expect, is in chaos.

This is where the plot and acting really could have taken off but where I believe it actually begins to take a dive.

The acting is poor.  Characters are melodramatic, and it seems like the producers of the show are trying to get as much “shock and awe” as they can into the show.

After Kirkman becomes president, he visits the Capitol building in order to see the devastation and encourage Americans to believe that America is still strong.  

Gunshots ring out, President Kirkman is rushed into his armored vehicle and is escorted off.

A couple of episodes later, shots ring off again, this time during a governor’s dinner hosted by President Kirkman.

More gunshots, and this time President Kirkman is hit.  He miraculously survives, bullet barely missing his vital organs, and he continues on.  

There end up being two other survivors: one of which is another designated survivor that the opposition party chose, and a congressman who “miraculously survives.”

The other designated survivor seems to always get her nose into everything, seemingly trying to destroy Kirkman, while the mysterious congressman turns out to be one of the masterminds of this entire attack.

He survived on purpose, in a bunker, just barely escaping the House chamber.  

This melodramatic plot goes on, and on and on.  Watch the series if this is your kind of thing. You will get plenty of it.

The show is entertaining, but again, it lacks the sophisticated plot and really good acting that would have made the show great.  

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