'Commander in Chief - Inaugural Edition, Part 2'
(Geena Davis, Donald Sutherland, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG / (2005) 2006 / BVHE)
Overview: MacKenzie Allen becomes the first woman American president after she ascends to the job following the death of president Teddy Bridges.
DVD Verdict: "Commander in Chief," ABC's 2005-06 series starring Geena Davis as Mackenzie Allen, the first woman president of the United States, started off like a sure fire hit and then went slowly but steadily down in the ratings. The show had three different producers, starting with creator Rob Lurie, who helmed the first three episodes, followed by Stephen Bochco, and finally Dee Johnson. However, the vision of the show remained the same, which was to put a woman in the Oval Office and stack the deck against her at each and every opportunity. Obviously the show was compared to "The West Wing," which also offered a look at politics from the perspective of the White House, and provides an interesting perspective for today's post mortem. The flaw in "The West Wing" was the office of the Vice President. In these modern times no President is going to take a Senator from a state like Texas, who was his party's presumptive nominee, and ignore him the way Jed Bartlet did John Hoynes. Then, adding insult to injury, the show had the Republican Speaker of the House force Bartlet to nominee Bob Russell, basically a joke candidate from Congress, so that there would not be a strong Veep positioned to replace Bartlet. The real Congress deal with having a qualified vice president who would not run for re-election when they picked Nelson Rockerfeller and the idea the Republicans would push for and consent to a qualified Vice President a heartbeat away from a President with MS is despicable. But that it nothing compared to what Republicans do on "Commander in Chief." Davis did not deserve to have an opportunity like this ruined because the people who put together this show keep deciding that having a villain like Templeton, whose primary object each week as Speaker of the House was to damage the President in any way possible. In Episode 13, "State of the Unions," somebody supporting Templeton's side slips the "First Gentleman" a mickey so that they can publicly embarrass him and the president. Apparently there are no limits to what Republicans will do and because the title character is not a Democrat but an Independent, the show thinks it has insulated itself from attacks for being liberal apologists. However, Allen revives the Equal Rights Amendment in the final episode, which in some circles would get the whole duck comparison thingy going. The funny part, such as it is, would be that the Washington Press Corp never notices anything that Templeton and his cronies are doing, let along calling them on it. They just role over and play dead for Templeton, but challenge everything and anything Allen does. I know this is just another indication of how far over the rainbow this show ended up going, but if you whole thesis is that a woman can be president, then it would be nice if the United States she was being president of bared more than a passing resemblance to our own. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Commentary by: Writer/Producer Dee Johnson ("The Elephant in the Room")
Episodes 11-18 from 2005-2006 season on two discs
"A conversation with Madame President" - One-on-one with Geena Davis
"White House Umor" - Bloopers and Outtakes