tek's rating:

Commander in Chief, on ABC
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This came out in 2005. Geena Davis plays Mackenzie Allen, who, as Vice President, becomes the first female, and more importantly, the first independent President of the United States when President Teddy Bridges dies. Since the show mentions members of our current (at the time the series aired) administration in a recent historical context, it's obviously set in the not too distant future, possibly around 2011, though the series hasn't mentioned an exact year, that I know of. In any event, Allen has previously served in Congress, but is more commonly thought of as a university administrator. Her qualifications to serve as President are somewhat called into question, primarily by Speaker of the House Nathan Templeton (Donald Sutherland), who expected her to step down upon Bridges's death, so that he might assume the Presidency. This was also what Bridges wanted her to do. There may be some consideration of her being a woman, but the main problem is her being an independent, while Bridges was, and Templeton is, a Republican. While Allen respected Bridges, despite their differences, she thinks Templeton is far too extremist, and would not be good for the country if he became President, so she refuses to step down. He, meanwhile, will do whatever he can to undermine her, every chance he gets. However, President Allen enjoys a fairly high public approval rating, for now, so he has to be careful.

President Allen's husband, Rod Calloway, served as her Vice Presidential Chief of Staff, but when she became President, she chose to keep President Bridges's Chief of Staff, Jim Gardner, in his position, in spite of the fact that he was loyal to Bridges over her, and also seems to favor Templeton. Allen seems to like to surround herself with people who disagree with her, as long as she feels she can trust them, or at least admire them. This is why she also chose General Wayne Keaton, who formerly ran for Vice President on the Democratic ticket, against Bridges and Allen, to be her Vice President. He also disagrees with her on a lot of stuff, but she thinks he's an honest man who doesn't play games. Unlike Templeton, who tried to get a former Republican governor named Tucker Baynes to be Vice President, by leaking his name to the press without consulting Allen. He lost at that game, but he'll continue to have many political battles with President Allen, throughout the series.

President Allen seems to have relatively few people firmly on her side, in government. She made one of her speechwriters, Kelly Ludlow, her White House press secretary. Ludlow, while loyal to Allen, was a bit daunted by this at first, but she quickly got the hang of it. It should also be noted that while Rod is somewhat frustrated by his sudden lack of an official position, he remains his wife's greatest supporter. They also have three children. Their daughter Rebecca is more conservative than her parents, and therefore was against her mom assuming the Presidency, but she is still essentially on her side. Their son Horace is more supportive of his mom, and daughter Amy is too young to really have any political views, and, you know, just basically thinks of Mommy as Mommy.

Anyway. Well, I like the show. I consider myself an independent, so it's nice to see one in office, even if only on TV. Of course, not having a party affiliation means I'm most interested in seeing whichever candidate I think is best for the country be in power, regardless of party. And Mackanzie Allen seems like someone I'd be happy to vote for. The subject of gender is of no interest to me at all, it's utterly inconsequential, in my opinion. Obviously the show has to deal with it, and that's okay, as long as they don't overdo it. What interests me most is the political struggle between Allen's camp and Templeton's. ...But I should also mention that the show has suffered in its inaugural season (yes, pun intended), because they've changed producers a couple times, had some lengthy hiatuses, and so forth. There's been lot of talk about how the nature of the show itself has changed a few times, though I never actually noticed that. Still, it failed to get a second season, which I think is a shame. (The show would likely have a higher rating if it had lasted longer.)

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