Geena Davis is the Vice-President who was chosen as running mate by the Republican President because she would balance out the ticket (she’s an Independent) and help him with the female voters. When he is felled by a stroke, the possibility that she might become President fills the powers that be with dread, and her resignation is demanded so that the hard-right Speaker of the House (Donald Sutherland) can step in instead. Davis refuses, and the series follows her struggles as the first woma… to be President of the US.
The series hits the ground running, with the principle conflicts set up with the first five minutes. The effect is to sink hooks deep into the viewer in a matter of seconds. The stakes are high, the drama propulsive, the performances strong. The script is both pointed and poignant: even as it acknowledges the dirty realities of politics, it allows itself to engage in an almost utopian wishful thinking, creating a world impossibly far removed from the real one.
The sound is in 5.1, which is nice, but hardly necessary. Dialogue-driven as this drama is, the sound design is frequently so spare that much of the time, one would hardly notice the difference between 5.1 and mono. That said, when there are sound effects, they are dealt with in an effective, if low-key manner. The environmental effects, when they happen, are thus good, with more going on the rear speakers than simply the score.
The format is 1.78:1 anamorphic, something the case calls “Family-Friendly Widescreen” (can’t you just feel your contempt at that nomenclature rise?). Anyway, the picture looks gorgeous, with sumptuous colours, wonderful blacks, no grain, and an extremely sharp image. Head and shoulders above many a TV release out there.
Really good show. But the package is only part one of the season, and there are no extras. Wouldn’t you think a beefed up box set is in the future?