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We return from the summer with a new batch of autumn pilots. Our first show is the explosive political thriller Designated Survivor, starring Kal PennNatascha McElhoneMaggie QLaMonica Garrett, and Kiefer Sutherland. It is hard to not look at Kiefer Sutherland as anything but Jack Bauer from 24, and this show is a mashup of 24 meets Homeland meets House of Cards. So much so you can hear the little familiar House of Card trills and horns in the Designated Survivor theme. The script and show have a great premise to work with, and definitely deliver an action packed hour of television. The show does an excellent job establishing the characters, the world, and what is at stake – which for a show centered on the annihilation of the United States government – is a heck of a lot.

David Guggenheim’s script is a well written piece with some fairly sentimental and even silly moments – for example, when Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) finds out from his daughter that the word on the street in her preschool is that the president doesn’t like her dad, right down to the very sweet but totally unreal speech given at the end. Thankfully the final product makes stronger choices with the show ending right where it needs to.

Designated Survivor starts off really strong with an incredible premise and it will be interesting to see where it can go since it starts off with blowing up Capitol Hill and the President of the United States of America.

Check out Designated Survivor Wednesday’s at 10pm on ABC.

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Script vs. Screen Grading:

Jason:  Script A- / Screen B+

Alex: Script B /  Screen B+

Pop Culture Notes: 

10 Famous Movies Altered by the Government – Screen Rant

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