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Designated Survivor Series Premiere Review

It has been promoted for a long time, and now the premiere of Designated Survivor is finally here. Can it be the next The West Wing? Let's see how good its pilot episode is before we say that.


S1E1 "Pilot"

After establishing its premise, Designated Survivor flashes back, so that it can hook viewers in but then show what life for Tom was like before the attack. In theory, that's important, but I feel that it's largely unnecessary. The only important aspect of it is how it establishes that Tom refuses to be a politician, but does he really need to be that perfect? Also, there is a line where Tom asks what a designated survivor is, like a three year cabinet member wouldn't know.

Tom gets to hear what people think about him being president in a very well-crafted scene. I hope that Tom's wife gets developed more, because right now she is just trying to convince Tom not to do what he's doing (first not being a politician, now not being president). Another problem gets thrown onto Tom's plate, with the west's oil supply being cut off, which is a lot for a pilot episode, but probably realistic.

Tom faces the difficult issue of having to prove himself. There are two choices he can make, blindly do what people tell him to do, or make his own decisions. I have a hard time believing that Tom would really know what to do, but the fact that he is not a typical politician makes it possible that, unlike most other people, he wouldn't simply okay everyone else's ideas. Maggie Q's character seems pointless in the scenes she has appeared in so far.

Tom goes into action, and Kiefer Sutherland's performance in this scene is perfect. Maggie Q's character actually has a purpose finally in one scene, where she says that this attack is likely just the beginning. Conspiracy also begins, as someone who thinks that he can do the job of president better than Tom plans to do that job. The final act really heated everything up, and if the series remains like it, it will be great.


The show still has a lot of work to do, making itself believable despite the premise, and developing the minor characters, but if it builds off of the momentum of the final act of this episode, then I believe that this will be an outstanding series.

Score: 8/10

What did you think of "Pilot"? Leave your thoughts in the comments!