West Wing Light.
Poker Face | Toronto, Canada | 09/08/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, this is basically West Wing light,with good enough acting overall,though I still think Geena Davis(first female President of the United States) only truly shines in the very first episode of the series(which is also on this Part 2 DVD,but this time with the choice of listening to show creator Rod Lurie's commentary or not).It could perhaps be because that happens to be my favorite episode.She's fine in the other episodes but I enjoy watching the rest of the First Family much more.Geena Davis' character is under so much pressure as the President of the United States,that she rarely gets a chance to flash her great smile and showcase her friendly nature.
I like all of the First Family actors,and also like the way this series mostly focuses on their relationships with each other rather than getting too deep into political issues.Both the eldest daughter,played by Caitlin Wachs, and the the youngest daughter,played by Jasmine Anthony, are top-notch and greatly add to the show.Matt Lanter(son) and Kyle Secor(husband) are both solid as well.Later on in the series,the grandmother is added to help keep the family more secure.
Both Ever Carradine(Robert Carradine's daughter),who plays press secretary Kelly Ludlow and Harry J. Lennix who plays Chief of Staff Jim Gardner are both great additions to an already stellar cast.
Any political issues discussed in this 18 episode series(only episode #1 and episodes #11-18 are on these 2 discs from Part 2) are very basic and most have been done in much more detail on the far superior West Wing(this is also what creator Rod Lurie says on his commmentary track;so we agree).
-Luckily,the final episode doesn't end in a cliff-hanger,but rather sets up the upcoming battle for re-election against a worthy opponent.
-There will also be an upcoming Commander In Chief Tv movie that I heard Geena Davis mention,when she was being interviewed on The View Tv show,fairly recently.
-The President's son played by Matt Lanter was actually CGI'd (his face was placed over the other actor's face using Computer Generated Imagery),into some scenes from the pilot episode because he replaced the initial actor they hired(since they later decided he didn't look good enough-as I learned from Rod Lurie's good audio commentary).
-In episode #17 @ 18:38 point in the episode,the Chief of Staff wryly says,"I'm betting this President can handle a bow and arrow",obviously referring to Geena Davis placing 24th out of 28 semi-finalists for the Olympic Archery team in 1999.
-Geena Davis can speak Swedish and is a member of Mensa (her IQ is 140). My IQ is very near 45 on a good day.
-A Conversation with Madame President: An OK interview with Geena Davis,featuring her nice smile and friendly nature along with some insight;as well as some clips from the show interspersed between her comments (5 minutes and 53 seconds in length).
-Deleted Scenes: 20 deleted scenes(21minutes and 38 seconds in length) taken from some of the 18 episodes of the entire series.Most are short but sweet,with only a few perhaps that shouldn't have been deleted from the actual episodes.Thankfully, there is a 'Play All' deleted scenes choice.
-White House Humor,Bloopers and Outtakes:You get to see Geena Davis clown around and make faces before she starts her scenes,as well as seeing many other cast regulars make mistakes.Nothing hilarious,but still funny and enjoyable.I'm sure you'll at least chuckle from time to time and wish there was more than just the 3 minutes and 35 seconds of it.
GRADE: B MINUS
-Audio Commentary for Episode #1-commentary by show creator Rod Lurie: As mentioned before, they included episode #1(the pilot) on this Part 2 DVD set(you can only access it from the Special Features:Commentary section),so they could add Rod Lurie's fine and informative commentary.You learn some behind the scenes secrets(such as Matt Lanter replacing the initial actor chosen for role), roughly what goes into getting a pilot ready for Tv and get to hear some very opinionated comments by Rod Lurie as well.He did however mention that he didn't want to get into any scandalous issues about the show,but still I learned enough from his commentary to recommend it.
-Audio Commentary for Episode #16:Elephant in the Room-commentary by writer/producer Dee Johnson: Informative enough but still dull at times.
I enjoyed the entire 18 episode series(only episode #1 and episodes #11-18 are on this DVD Season 1 Part 2 set)of Commander In Chief,with episode #1 being my favorite.I also enjoyed all the episodes that focused on the President's children.
Unfortunately,having seen the far superior West Wing Tv series as well,Commander In Chief pales in comparison.However,the lighter nature of Commander In Chief makes it a more relaxing and less cerebral minded show that focuses more on family values,as well as how a close-knit family deals with being in the spotlight 24 hours a day,without completely falling apart.It has a strong heart and enough solid acting to keep you rooting for this First Family and all those they care about.God Bless America (and Canada too).
OVERALL GRADE(WITHOUT Dvd Extras): B
OVERALL GRADE(WITH Dvd Extras): B+"
Gone too soon
Gerald A. Caravelli | Chicago, IL USA | 01/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A great new series completely mishandled by the network that should have been a winner for years to come. Superb cast and compelling writing."
Mostly as good as the DVD
J. W. Hickey | Manhattan area | 03/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Back during its original hopscotch run all over primetime, there was so much gossipy scuffle about ABC's incompetent handling of C-IN-C that I inferred the quality of the episodes suffered after Bochco took over control from its initiator Rod Lurie. But all of the episodes except the last retain the quality of the contents of the first DVD set.
My problems with the final episode mainly involve a forming plot line that was as improbable when WEST WING also adopted it. When Nixon lost Agnew, can one really imagine his party not looking for a VP candidate in a state that would bring delegate votes, but instead deciding on making Ehrlichman or Halderman the new VP?
That BOTH presidency TV series selected the sitting president's internal employee as a VP candidate always seemed lazy and far-fetched. On the surface, both men bring qualities that presume America is brighter, more liberal, and less assaultive than the realities of our history suggest. (In the era of torture in war, how does one account for America's embrace of HOSTEL and the SAW franchise?) On WW the VP candidate is an alcoholic with a serious heart condition; on C-IN-C he's a Black mensch who abandoned his own party to graft onto a woman Independent. We in the audience appreciate the sensitivity, loyalty, and complexity of both VP choices, but would political parties really not insist on a more pragmatic (and probably less sterling) candidate from a section of the country that is more lucrative to electoral college concerns, and someone the American public already knows from (probably) "his" record as a governor or member of Congress?
Late C-IN-C showed other signs of WING weariness. The teen daughter's budding romance with someone in the political opposition was another WEST WING echo, and the OTHER candidates for VP included a Jimmy Smits clone. So, my enthusiasm for the second DVD flagged a bit as President Allen's decision-making began to look flaky for the convenience of the writers and as situations began to plow territory similar to WING.
If memory serves, Allen defends reintroducing ERA legislation by citing a sage homily: Once your hands are on the plow, don't let go until you've reached the end of the row. Given the VP and other situations budding in the last episode here, the series ended at the end of its row.
Okay, so now our appetites have been whetted by an excellent (but cancelled) politics series, how about DVD-ing Rob Lowe's LYON'S DEN?"
Great Series... bring it back!!!
S. Davis | Georgia, USA | 01/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bought this for my boyfriend for Christmas; he hasn't stopped watching it (even though we saw them all when they were on the air). This was SUCH a great show with smart plot lines and a talented cast. I wish things like this could stay on the air and the vapid "Dancing with the Stars" would get ditched!"