TV Club: Designated Survivor returns with its usual chaste thrills

There’s a fundamental corniness to Designated Survivor that I find fascinating. It’s not really a good thing; at its worst, the show feels like a script someone wrote in 1992 that’s been dusted off and filmed with only the slightest cosmetic changes. (“And in this scene, the president has a cell phone.” “Oooooo.”) The result is something that’s just a little too hokey to take seriously, that dabbles in conspiracy and malice without ever really getting its hands dirty. But that can be reassuring as well. I’m not sure I ever lose myself in this show, but I do appreciate seeing its plots unfold with stolid competency.

Also, I like the way it treats basic elements of our government like the mythology of some labyrinthian fantasy world. The whole premise rests on a semi-obscure piece of line of succession protocol, and each new episode seems …

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