Commander-in-Chief: the WB meets The West Wing?

So, I’m going through my normal Tuesday night routine. Well, normal except for the fact that the baseball playoffs began today and my usual routine of reading and writing with the television on became more difficult as the evening wore on.

Seeking relief, I flipped channels for less distracting background noise. And then, I came across ABC’s new political drama “Commander-in-Chief.” Geena Davis playing America’s first woman president, elevated to the office after the death of her running mate.

Now, I love politics. And I love political drama (I am an avid "West Wing" fan). And while Rod Lurie’s The Contender wasn’t quite a masterpiece, I found it interesting. So, I decided to sit and watch and episode of Lurie’s newest entry into gender-based national politics.

So how was it? In a word … disappointing. The show seems to clash between wanting to be a snappy West Wing-type drama and a folksy "Jack and Bobby"-type family drama. And the two moods do not seem to mesh easily. Add to this the lackluster performances across the board …

Davis seems even more woody than normal. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by "The West Wing," but I just can’t buy her as the president. Or perhaps I simply don’t care to.

The filming is a bit cheesy, and there were several times in tonight’s episode in which the music rose to a majestic crescendo as a dramatic speech was delivered, but each and every one of these moment was too over-the-top. The great thing about this technique in shows like "The West Wing" is that the viewer DOESN’T notice the music building behind the words.

Finally, the episode story was interesting but really shallow. The plot centered on the political reality of power, for all the talk of sticking to the issues, none were discussed in any depth.

All that having been said, the story arc is laudable, and I think the series could improve over time. Unfortunately, I will simply have to look in later on. There’s little to hook me at this point.

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