Hercules Has Seen USA's New Miniseries POLITICAL ANIMALS, The Latest From JACK & BOBBY/NO ORDINARY FAMILY Mastermind Greg Berlanti!!
The latest political drama from Greg Berlanti (“Jack & Bobby,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “No Ordinary Family”), “Political Animals” follows a female U.S. secretary of state (Sigourney Weaver) who was also the the wife of the 42nd president of the United States and once ran for POTUS against the guy who gave her her current job.
But her name is not Hilary Rodham Clinton. Her name is Elaine Barrish Hammond.
Weaver is supported by a host of great actors, including Carlo Gugino (“Karen Sisco”), Ciaran Hinds (“Rome”), and Ellen Burnstyn (“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”) -- all struggling under the Berlanti’s lazy, trite, undercooked teleplay.
If you’re expecting “The West Wing,” only written by the longtime showrunner of “Dawson’s Creek” (rather than “West Wing” mastermind Aaron Sorkin, the guy who wrote the excellent political dramedies “An American President” and "Charlie Wilson's War"), you expected right.
The “Political Animals” pilot is abominable. It’s packed solid with wretched dialogue, absurd behavior and predictable plotting. A series sequel to this miniseries could run on USA for decades.
Oh, and don’t watch “Political Animals” while playing a drinking game tied to the word “bitch.” You will die.
... what Animals is trying to do is take The West Wing and turn it into Dallas. And if you don’t like Dallas, that can be a real letdown.…
... initially more preoccupied with what transpires between the sheets than within the halls of power. As such, the super-sized opener contains promise, but primarily feels like someone's idea of an edgy concept -- not so much wild as the hollow product of a skilled taxidermist. …
... Because "Political Animals" is still being assembled, I've only seen that first two installments so far. The second one is more interested in family squabbles and other soap operatics than the first one is, and it's possible that this is the direction Berlanti wants to take things in for the rest of the run. But with a cast this good, and with so many potentially juicy conflicts already in play, I'm going to take a more optimistic point of view than Elaine Barrish might.
... both mildly subversive and very enjoyable …
... This half-comic, half-serious soap opera à clef could be awful, but instead it is surprisingly fun …
... more "Dallas" than "The West Wing," a high-class, relatively naturalistic, behind-closed-doors soap opera that plays in fairly obvious yet also fairly affecting ways with the space between public face and private pain and is made highly watchable by an excellent cast that finds the human among the hokum. …
... The problem is not the concept, it's the execution. … ignores the sound advice given to all writers: show, don't tell. …
... an unsavory and silly miniseries … The basic story line could have been workable, if only it had been handled with thought and creativity. … Berlanti isn't interested in depth. Wanting soap and dirt - a lot of dirt - he has fashioned something that's watchable only if you completely divorce it from the realm of credibility. Real-life politics may be a soap opera, but at least it's better written.
... verges right up to the edge of ludicrous with the right combination of salty-sweet and silly-smart. In just two episodes, it exhibits better writing, stronger acting, cleaner momentum and more confidence than most new shows ever find. If the secretary of state’s dysfunctional family and bizzaro politics become too much to bear, then, happily, it’s over after six episodes. ...
... boorish … Here’s a series begging to be impeached from prime time. Vote with your remote.
... flawed but addictive … soaps are almost by definition built on types, right? What distinguishes the good ones are colorful performances, scandalous twists, and the age-old reminder that money and power can’t buy love – all of which “Political Animals” has. …
... an inconsistent, sometimes ludicrous, but also juicily fun political soap .…
... seems designed to call the Clintons to mind. Which would be fine if the pair were as interesting as their real-life counterparts … goes down relatively painlessly but that is nowhere near as sharp or as on-point as it needs to be. …
10 p.m. Sunday. USA.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
+ Expand All
July 15, 2012, 6:15 a.m. CST
I expected nothing less than a dumbed down West Wing from USA, a network renowned for dumbed down bullshit...
by American Mythos
... From the very promo where they try to cast the Clinton-esque family as American political royalty, I knew this was going to be garbage. The Clintons are not political royalty, same with the Bushes. While I'm fond of former President Clinton and Secretary Clinton, both the Clinton and Bush families are more akin to backwater reality show train wrecks, not royalty. Greg Berlanti seems a capable enough guy, but it's clear he knows next to nothing beyond the surface of this country's political dynamics. He should avoid such complex subject matter.
July 15, 2012, 8:52 a.m. CST
by Bass Ackwards
Given how much traveling the person in tht position does.
July 15, 2012, 11:37 a.m. CST
I did enjoy Monk, though.
July 15, 2012, 1:34 p.m. CST
Watch TV shows and movies made ever since the 2008 Democratic Primaries and try to pick out all the passive-aggressive attempts to acknowledge Clinton. Its Fem-Tastic!
July 15, 2012, 5:45 p.m. CST
July 16, 2012, 7:23 p.m. CST
The West Wing was interesting because we saw the fictionalized goings on and political back room deals even if they are purely dramatic and only slightly based on the actual White House West Wing. The romantic stuff was kept to a minimum. Political Animals had too much family silliness... sort of like Dallas in DC. Weaver was good as always, I liked Ciarán Hinds' weird Clintoneque ex president and Ellen Burstyn is always fun. But Adrian Pasdar is a poor choice as POTUS – he just seemed like a kid in the Oval Office set. I will give the mini another try next week, because Carla Gugino is still one of the most amazing looking women to ever walk the Earth. but after that I think I'll take a pass if the series does not hook me.
July 16, 2012, 7:43 p.m. CST
by Kyle DeMattio
July 16, 2012, 8:16 p.m. CST
Looks like I should have read the body of this article before posting... My Dallas comment does not seem nearly as witty after reading the quote from the Hollywood Reporter. Hrumf.
July 17, 2012, 9:08 a.m. CST
- HERCULES ON THE RADIO!! Learn What Ain’t It Cool’s TV Critic Thinks Of INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, OUT OF THE FURNACE, FROZEN, NEBRASKA And The Latest WALKING DEAD And RETURNED, The First Big-Screen Wonder Woman and More!! Listen And Call In LIVE Saturday 10pm PT / Sunday 1am ET!! -- 491 total posts 344 posts
- Disney can now make new Indiana Jones Movies!!! But what about Paramount? -- 461 total posts 92 posts
- The Annual Official Fake BUTT-NUMB-A-THON 15 List!!! Plus other things like STANDBY news! -- 183 total posts 69 posts
- Big SPOILERS for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and APOCALYPSE as new rumors suggest a familiar face will be playing the role of APOCALYPSE!! -- 419 total posts 68 posts
- Jerry Bruckheimer has returned to Paramount and Brett Ratner's BEVERLY HILLS COP IV is now on the way (again)! -- 207 total posts 31 posts
- Penultimate HOMELAND!! New BURGERS, SIMPSONS, GUY, DAD, MENTALIST, ONCE, REVENGE, BETRAYAL, TREME & SEX!! Mandela On 60 MINUTES!! AMAZING RACE Finale!! Last MENTALIST Of 2013!! BONNIE & CLYDE Premiere!! Herc's Sunday TV Talkback!! -- 24 total posts 24 posts
- The Friday Docback Rounds Up This Week's DOCTOR WHO News!! 50th Celebration, 'Time of the Doctor,' HornOrSilk Reviews 'The Assassination Games' Big Finish Audio, And More!! -- 65 total posts 18 posts
- Fox To Dabble In Shared X-MEN / FF Movieverse!?!? -- 215 total posts 17 posts
- SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES Writers Developing New TERMINATOR TV Series!! -- 93 total posts 15 posts
- Two More NYMPHOMANIAC Posters... -- 89 total posts 8 posts