Back In The West Wing

CIC 1

Where’s Santos?

The West Wing has finished, and so More4 have decided to replace that most marvellous of series with something very similar in looks if not content.  The first three episodes of Commander-in-Chief tell the story of a Republican president who dies in office and leaves the Vice-President (Geena Davis as Mackenzie Allen) to take control seemingly against almost everyone’s wishes.  President Allen is the first female president and she is the first independant president but she only got on the “VP Ticket” as a token gesture from her deceased boss (hence the reluctance to accept her in many quarters).  The series has previously been shown on UK television tucked away and easily missed in the bowels of ABC1, a channel I’ve barely ever watched, so this is all new to me.  To be honest, there are many ways in which it just doesn’t stack up against Aaron Sorkin’s creation: the plot seems more simplistic, the producer’s felt the need to include a domestic side to the President’s life by giving her three, hackneyed children central roles (sporty, high school heart-throb; stroppy teenage girl; and cute kid) as if just being leader of the free world wouldn’t give enough opportunities for good drama, and the characters just aren’t as engaging and three dimensional as their West Wing counterparts.  On the plus side there is Donald Sutherland, and you kind of wonder whether it would have been better all round if his Templeton character was simply the president to begin with.  The series only runs for 18 episodes (and may be a TV movie) and I’m debating whether to stick with it or not.

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