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Commander-In-Chief : The Inaugural Edition; Season 1 (DVD)

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It lasted about as long as Paris Hilton’s film career, but don’t let its short-life put you off watching a genuinely enjoyable series – even if it doesn’t come to a very creative close.


Geena Davis, Donald Sutherland, Harry J.Lennix, Kyle Secor, Natasha Henstridge, Caitlan Wachs, Matt Lanter

It lasted about as long as Paris Hilton’s film career, but don’t let its short-life put you off watching a genuinely enjoyable series – even if it doesn’t come to a very creative close.

Geena Davis, assumingly aggravated with the lack of good roles for forty-something females in films, heads to the box to headline her first series [as producer and star]. “Commander-in-Chief” is exactly what you’d expect from the star of “Thelma & Louise” and “Angie”, too – melodrama, melodrama, melodrama, messages about the importance of family and friends, and, oh, melodrama.

It may be set in the White House, and it may centre around a President (Davis plays the first female president), but there’s a lot more suds here than “The West Wing” ever had. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not completely soapy… but compared to the politically centric ‘Wing’, it’s fluffier than a dried-up sponge.

Despite its soapish elements, there’s still a lot here to enjoy; most of all, the good performances. Davis is the best she’s been in a long time in the role of President Allen, whilst Donald Sutherland relishes his role as her smarmy opponent. In supporting roles, Kyle Secor; Plly Holliday; Caitlan Wachs; Matt Lanter; Peter Coyote; and Natasha Henstridge (Yep, the ‘Species’ babe in serious-territory) are also finely tuned.

The series doesn’t have a lot of ‘power-packed’ moments, and that’s probably why it lost it’s audience very quickly, and consequently, was axed, but it’s still entertaining – and a very easy watch.

Highlight episodes include: one that features TV series vet Adam Arkin (“Chicago Hope”) coming to town as Allen’s choice for the new attorney general. Not as easy to swear him in as one would expect, when it’s revealed that the man once paroled a crook who, a week after he was let out of jail, went and shot an elderly woman in the face. Yep, a media frenzy, and then some, kicks into high gear. There’s also another, centering on President Allen’s (Geena Davis) state of the union address, that’s good. In it, she’s going through the archives and watching the speeches of her predecessors to try and come up with something, whilst trying to block out the opinion of her incessant adversary, sir neak-a-lot, Templeton (Sutherland). Another, which is set completely on Air Force One, is also a doozie.

Extras on the set include: commentaries on quite a few episodes, bloopers, deleted scenes, and interviews- not a bad offering for a series that most folks involved are simply trying to get forget.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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