SOPHIE WATCHES | Designated Survivor (2016), 1.01 ‘Pilot’

The premise: I watch a film (or episode of TV) and text my friend with my reactions.  Sometimes she replies.  My friend’s comments are in blue.  The time-stamps reflect the time at which the messages were sent, not where in the episode’s runtime the scene occurs.

This time I watched the first episode of a new TV show from ABC, Designated Survivor.   Somehow it took me 1hr 50mins to get through a 43 minute episode. Oh also, beware of spoilers.

21:33 There is a new show with its first episode on Netflix, called ‘Designated Survivor’. It has Kiefer Sutherland in it. I’m gonna check it out
21:34 Ok weird
As soon as it starts there is a sign in the top-left corner, warning that the show has product placement in it
I have never seen anything like that before
I wonder if it’s a new legal requirement, or if Netflix decided transparency is the way to go
21:37 Ok so the designated survivor is the US cabinet member who stays in a secure location away from the rest of government during the State of the Union
So if they are attacked, the designated survivor becomes President
21:38 I think we can both see where this pilot episode is going …
21:39 I’m sure The West Wing had some story about this at some point
21:40 Ahhh I’ve missed Kiefer’s gravelly voice
Lol he is so not Jack Bauer in this. Totally different demeanour
21:41 Though just as with the pilot of 24, he is having a phone call with his daughter in which he tells her to go to bed
21:44 He promised his daughter something. Then:
His wife: Tom, you can’t do that. You can’t make promises that you won’t be able to keep.
Him: We’re in Washington. They’re the only promises we’re allowed to make.

[flame emoji]

21:45 Oooooh
Ok so they were watching the live feed of the President’s speech
Then all the screens just filled with static
21:47 Ok that was cool
Secret Service came rushing in saying they were waiting for reports, news channel reporting “some kind of explosion at the Capitol building”, Kiefer slo-mo walks to shuttered windows, pulls the shutters open, sees massive fireball explosion across the city
21:49 Ahhhh the fire is reflected in his glasses. So cool
21:51 Ok I already love Kiefer’s character
He was smooching his wife in bed and their daughter knocked on the door calling for breakfast and he just yelled “go away, you’re not loved!”
Jokingly of course
Then “ok, you’re going to get what you deserve … pancakes for everyone!”
21:53 This is 15 hours before the explosion by the way, hence the cheery mood
21:54 Ahhh they also have a grumpy teenage son. Of course
21:55 Ok I like the dialogue in this. It’s fun

[after some streaming issues]

22:02 Ooooh so he found out he was about to be demoted
Also he wears a three-piece suit
It’s adorable. I’d be amazed if anyone in DC wears a three-piece suit
22:05 His wife’s name is Alex
And she’s played by Natascha McElhone
Which confirms my long-held suspicion that women called Alex are always attractive
22:18 “Mr Secretary, we’re enacting continuity of the government”
This is the thing. Why blow up the government? There will always be somebody to replace the President
Ooohhh … unless it’s a conspiracy
22:20 “Sir … you are now the President of the United States”. The look on his face says ‘oh shit’

“That wasn’t meant to happen.”

22:22 Lol yeah, he was expecting to be demoted
Maggie Q is an FBI agent
22:23 He’s being sworn in whilst he wears a hoody
22:27 This is a really neat shot
22:29 Aaaand same shot but now everyone is scrambling
Action stations
22:31 He really is just thinking “oh crap, I’m not ready for this”
22:36 He thinks he’s alone in the bathroom. Pukes in the toilet
Single stall
Then we find out there’s someone in the stall next to him
Double stall
Cinematography is on point
22:41 Set design for this bombsite is impressive
22:42 FBI lady knows what she’s doing when it comes to catastrophe response
22:44 Kiefer’s character’s birthday is so similar to his own I don’t know why they didn’t just make it the same
Don’t ask me why I know Kiefer Sutherland’s birthday
(I had my suspicions and checked it)

You know too much

22:45 I knew he was December and late 1960s. IMDb told me the rest
I just don’t forget birthdays for some reason
22:49 Now he has been given the nuclear football

Okay …

22:51 It’s the case containing access to all nuclear codes and stuff
Him: Do you need my fingerprints or an eye scan or something?
Military dude: No sir. It’s not like the movies. It doesn’t work like that.
22:54 His son is dealing drugs at an EDM rave. I had hoped TV had gotten over its obsession with these types of characters by now

Yeah … no

22:58 I’m trying to figure out why I recognise this bloody General
There’s something to be said for the President’s speechwriter being an Asian dude. Will see how this pans out …
22:59 Omg I just realised
The main character’s chief of staff. I recognised her
23:00 It’s Italia Ricci. She played Siobhan Smythe in Supergirl
23:02 This shot is proving quite effective
Center frame
23:10 First appearance of the Oval Office, again with the centre framing, which I am loving
Oval Office
23:13 Kiefer looks so smart in his suit and glasses
Reverse shot
23:16 Omg it pulled up into a crane shot. I love it
Crane shot
23:19 So a lot of people aren’t happy that the Housing & Urban Development Secretary is now POTUS
Particularly this General, who seems to be suggesting a military coup be staged
23:21 Omg apparently his glasses aren’t very presidential, so he was told to take them off for his televised address. What the hell
23:22 Well that was pretty enjoyable. Will definitely keep up with it


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