TV Club: Designated Survivor finds modest inspiration in a threatened election

The most obvious way to describe Designated Survivor—a mash-up of The West Wing‘s idealism and fascination with the compromises of our political system, and 24‘s intense, convoluted action plots—is also the best. Putting Sutherland in the lead role gives the game a way a bit, but one of the things that’s keeping the show together, even as it fumbles through less than compelling domestic drama, is seeing where those two forms compliment each other, and watching how the show works to find the ideal balance between the challenges of running a government and pulpy conspiracy thriller theatrics. The two don’t always blend well, but when they do, the energy from one can bleed into the other, encouraging us to root even harder for Kirkman and his team’s efforts to rebuild even as some shadowy force works to undercut them at every term.

But …

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