Monday, August 5, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Political Animals - Complete Series

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: A few moments are entertaining
Cons: Characters are hateful
The Bottom Line:
Political show
With no characters to love
No reason to watch

"They Only Love Us When They're Not Busy Hating Us."

As much as I am a USA Network addict, they do have a couple shows I don’t love.  But it was this last summer that they released the first show I actually hated.  That show?  Political Animals.  If it had lasted longer than six episodes, I would have given up, but after I gave it my standard two or three episode trial, I was almost done, so I stuck it out.

The show revolves around Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver).  She was First Lady back in the 90’s to a President (Ciaran Hinds) from a southern state.  After he left office, she divorced him since he continually cheated on her.  Now, after an unsuccessful bid to get the Democratic party nomination, she is working for her rival, President Garcetti (Adrian Pasdar), as Secretary of State.  One son is her chief of staff Douglas (James Wolk).  The other?  T.J. (Sebastian Stan) is still a drug addicted screw up who came out of the closet as a teen – while the family was still in the white house.  Rounding out the cast is Elaine’s mother (Ellen Burstyn) and Susan Berg (Carla Gugino), the reporter who made a name for herself by attacking Elaine during the time she was First Lady.

First of all, can we say Clinton clone?  While the creators denied it, anyone can see that, aside from a few superficial changes, they were obviously modeling the character on Hillary.  The only thing that really bothered me here is that they denied it.

The story was moderately interesting.  Basically, we spend these six weeks on a crisis and watching as Elaine deals with a vice-president she can not stand and considers challenging her boss for the nomination during the next Presidential election.

As an aside, as a Heroes fan I did enjoy seeing Adrian Pasdar as the President.  His character on Heroes also had political aspirations, including one day being President.  It was a brilliant bit of casting.

The entire acting was fine.  I bought the performances every week.  The cast is strong and brings their characters to life brilliantly.

Here’s my issue with the show.  I don’t like any of the characters.  Well, the younger son was sympathetic, but the rest went from hateful to despicable and back again.  You actually felt like rooting for all of them to fail and fail spectacularly.  And that’s why I wouldn’t have been back.

Then there’s the fact that this was supposed to be a limited run series.  And yet, they left us at the end of the sixth and final episode (which was filmed long before the series aired) with a major cliffhanger.  Seriously?  You can call it whatever you want, but they planned to come back for season 2, which is lie number two.  The ratings weren’t good enough, however, and the show was canceled.  But nothing was wrapped up or settled.  Honestly, I’m wondering what the point of these six episodes by themselves is.  There’s none I can see unless they are setting up for the next season.

The six episodes are preserved on two DVD's.  Picture is widescreen and sound is full surround.  Looking for extras?  You'll find some deleted scenes on the discs, but that's it.

But really, there’s no reason to buy or watch Political Animals.  Let us let this show quickly fade into the forgotten trash bin where it belongs.

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