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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

Tom Kirkman never asked to be president.

No one voted for him. No one encouraged him to run. He's far more comfortable behind a desk than in front of a teleprompter, a hard-working bureaucrat with an eye for policy details, not political intrigue. He was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, after all. It's a job that earned him a spot at the big boy's table in Washington. But it's not exactly a launching pad to political stardom.

"At the end of the day, I'm not President of the United States," Kirkman reminds Emily Rhodes, his loyal chief of staff, one fateful day. "You should remember that."

But ironically, and tragically, he's wrong. That evening, a massive explosion rips apart the Capital building, where the President was giving his State of the Union address to Congress. All the country's high-level senators and congressmen were there, as were most members of the President's administration. Only Kirkman—singled out as the emergency "designated survivor" in the case of just such a cataclysm—wasn't on the Hill.

So at the end of the day, he is President of the United States. And it's up to this bespectacled policy wonk to shepherd the country through the greatest crisis it's ever known.

Hail to the Chief

Designated Survivor marks the return of 24's Kiefer Sutherland to the small screen in a much different role. And the show that first aired on ABC for two seasons has now been picked up by Netflix for its third season. No longer Sutherland he being asked to torture the truth out of dastardly spies and race across busy metropoli before the next commercial break. No, President Kirkman has a much different skill set.

But Kirman's job is no less stressful, really. Many a nation would love to take advantage of this apparent moment of American weakness. Many a politician and general would like to bring this inexperienced POTUS to heel and have him do their bidding.

Kirkman's leadership abilities are questioned by the world and even by his own staff. Especially in Season 3 as Kirkland’s term comes to an end and he prepares to run for office from scratch—something he’s never done before.

Mr. Bauer Goes to Washington?

While some of Kirkman's new staff may be less-than-impressed with their head honcho, television critics showered Designated Survivor with praise when it originally aired on ABC.

Variety said the pilot episode was "annoyingly good." TV Insider's Matt Roush name-dropped a handful of critically acclaimed, Emmy-bait shows by way of comparison, saying that "fall's niftiest new drama has West Wing idealism, Homeland suspense and House of Cards political intrigue in its robust and compelling DNA. Jack Bauer would die for this guy."

High praise from a secular critic to be sure. But discerning viewers might note that at least two of those shows—Homeland and House of Cards—often pair seriously problematic content with their dramatic storylines. Does Designated Survivor follow in those programs' explicit, bloody footsteps?

The original two seasons on ABC were largely free of content conundrums. But now that Designated Survivorhas moved to Netflix for its third season (with another reportedly in the works), problematic content flows freely from the Oval Office.

Not Politics as Usual

Now, it’s not all problematic content. The drama in the West Wing still involves more backbiting than bone-breaking. This is, after all, a political drama. And Kirkman is, at his core, a family man. He was a devoted husband to his wife until her tragic death; and he’s a caring father to his son, Leo, and young daughter, Penny.

But this show definitely has more problems in Season 3. Sexual content now includes prostitution, heterosexual couples shedding clothes and climbing into bed together and a prominently featured gay male couple who share a kiss or two. The language we hear inside the White House now includes f-words and other harsh profanities. And, of course, there's a great deal of lying and subterfuge going on in and around the Oval Office.

In its early stages, Designated Survivor was a rare beast indeed—a good, gritty show that kept its nose relatively clean. But with its migration to the free-range realm of Netflix, it has fully morphed into something much more explicit, almost as if the showrunners wanted to run its formerly clean nose deep in the new iteration's TV-MA rating.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Designated Survivor: Sept. 21, 2016 "Pilot"

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Drama

Author

Cast

Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman; Natascha McElhone as Alex Kirkman; Adan Canto as Aaron Shore; Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes; LaMonica Garrett as Mike Ritter; Kal Penn as Seth Wright; Maggie Q as Agent Hannah Wells; McKenna Grace as Penny Kirkman; Geoff Pierson as Cornelius Moss; Anthony Edwards as Mars Harper; Julie White as Lorraine Zimmer; Aunjanue Ellis as Eleanor Darby

Director

Distributor

Network

Netflix

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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