FTTV Reviews...Political Animals 1.01 "Pilot"


Not since Geena Davis in Commander in Chief has the world seen such a strong woman ascend to power the way Sigourney Weaver is doing it on the all-new political drama Political Animals from USA. The show may very well step on more than a few toes but I'm glad it's around. It's time that America sees what a strong woman can do at the Oval Office. Even if it's just on TV. For now that is.

Weaver shines as her portrayal of the no nonsense, tough as nails Secretary of State under the presidency of President Paul Garcetti (the man who beat her when she ran for president two years prior) played by Adrian Pasdar. Is it just me or was this man born to play the President of the United States? His politics differ from hers and it will be interesting to see the two go head to head throughout the season.

Weaver and Pasdar are joined by a stellar cast including Dylan Baker, Ciaran Hinds, Ellen Burstyn, Carla Gugino and fresh faces like James Wolk ("You Again") and Sebastian Stan ("Kings") while introducing up and new comer Brittany Ishibashi ("Supernatural").

The series will seemingly follow what is to be marketed as America's Favorite First Family. The Hammonds are no strangers to scandal. Bud Hammond (Hinds) was president for two years and during those presidencies he was caught having multiple affairs (much to the nation's amusement and entertainment) and had his youngest son become the first openly gay child of a president. That's a whole lot of gossip for one family.

The pilot episode dives into just that. From Thomas' (aka TJ to his family) suicide attempt a year earlier to Bud's very young, very floozy actress girlfriend. It seems like the only two sane ones who have survived this family are Elaine and Doug. But I really doubt that. There's got to be some skeletons in those closets somewhere.

Elaine's mother is not far behind. A hard drinker who is as blunt as a murder weapon to the head is just as tough as her daughter. Her scene with journalist Susan Berg (played by Gugino) will have you laughing out loud before you realize just how mean that really was. It's like having Betty White at the White House and she's constantly making inappropriate comments and jokes. Burstyn really lets loose on this show.

I'm really enjoying Susan Berg on this series though. She's a bulldog on a pant leg. She's basically the Lois Lane of the series. I can really see myself rooting for her and Elaine to become really good friends and take over the world together. At first I wasn't sure about her but then it is clear that she values her journalistic integrity above everything. And that's something I can respect. Especially when we live in a world where a gossip magazine sells more than a newspaper.

Is Political Animals the newest addiction for TV viewers on a Sunday night? The series opened with less than stellar numbers but I think that's mostly because of the premise. People just don't respond well to a female leader on television. I think this show will thrive on word of mouth. It's intriguing but more than anything it's fun. It's a prime time soap and the moment that's accepted by audiences the show will find its dedicated following. I personally hope it dominates. I want it to succeed in doing what Commander in Chief never got the chance to. And that's to show the American public that maybe it isn't so bad to have a woman in charge. Because if it can work on television people might actually become receptive to it in real life.

What do you think of the mini-series' premiere? Let us know either in the comments below, or tweet us @FilmThrasher on Twitter!