Who is the New President? – Designated Survivor Pilot Review

On Sep. 21, ABC’s new TV show Designated Survivor dragged onto the couch the American nation for one of the most awaited pilot premiere in recent years.

According to Forbes magazine, the show’s first episode gathered around ten million viewers and displayed a 2.3 demo rating among the 18 to 49 population.

ABC’s best results in the last five years in terms of viewers, the show stars Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, Maggie Q as Hannah Wells, Natascha McElhone as Alex Kirkman, Kal Penn as Seth Wright, and Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes.

The plot of the story starts off with a bang; the opening scene displays the Capitol Building in ruins after an explosion during a State of the Union address, leaving the president, most of his cabinet and Congress dead.

Tom Kirkman is the Secretary of Urban and Housing Development, and twelfth in line of presidential succession. Of course, Hollywood being Hollywood, Kirkman does indeed become the “designated survivor” following the attack during the address. Suddenly he becomes president, as he and his family are rushed over to the White House by the Secret Service. It is at this point that we are introduced to some major characters, including his lovely and supportive wife Alex Kirkman (Natascha McElhone), his adorable little girl Penny (McKenna Grace), and his drug dealing son Leo (Tanner Buchanan).

Meanwhile, the FBI enters the chaotic site of the attack, hoping to find any clues as to who committed the crime. One of the agents, Hannah Wells (Maggie Q), suspects that the attacks are not over yet, since no one has yet to claim responsibility.

However, the pilot does focus on Kirkman and his transition into the presidency. As the end of the first episode approaches, he prepares to deliver his first speech to the American public. The public is also exposed to the first attempts of conspiracy against the new president by generals.

Overall, the first episode of Designated Survivor proved itself by skipping all sorts of introductory scenes and directly jumping into action. The constant tension that existed among the characters and in the plot kept the audience on the edge of their seats, as they experienced the attack simultaneously as the people in the story. The plot itself remained realistic, allowing the viewers to connect on a personal level with the situation described on the show.

Designated Survivor was rated a 36% “Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes, and the audience shared a same mindset.

The show is expected to air every Wednesday at 9 p.m. central time.     

Rating: 5 out of 5


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