Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama, McCain... Bartlet? Roslin?

Entertainment Weekly in the States was asking for your vote on who should be the next President of the United States: Jed Bartlet, Laura Roslin, David Palmer or Mackenzie Allen.

I say was because I thought I was pointing this out to you while there was still time to vote: maybe there is but now I go back to their page, I get neither a voting form nor a table of results. Hopefully your mileage will vary.

If not, let me tell you that when I looked earlier today, The West Wing's Jed Bartlet was winning, I think he had 42% of the vote compared to 32% for his nearest rival. Can't remember who that was. But running third at the time was Battlestar Galactica's Laura Roslin and I voted for her.

I'm wondering if I did that because she's a woman. I think it's cringingly embarrassing that America has never had a woman President and that the UK's only had one woman Prime Minister. But then I completely ignored Commander in Chief's Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis). So maybe it's that I never watched C-in-C, that David Palmer was President on 24 so long ago that I couldn't remember his first name without looking him up. And that Roslin hasn't let me down by being written by someone else after four seasons.

But C-in-C was an interesting example of what I think is quite a new phenomenon in US TV drama: the dizzying height and the dizzying fall, all done at speed. You're used to shows dying, even especially being yanked off the air within a few episodes. But Commander in Chief came out like an instant hit - and then by the end of the first season, it was dying. Joan of Arcadia boomed into life and looked set for a long run which maybe it deserved but somehow nobody bothered tuning in for the second season.

I know that's only two examples but I did have a third until this paragraph. Can't fathom where my head was going. But is it too early to ask if long-running series have had their day?


Okay, well, I only asked. You can be quite cutting sometimes.

I think Jed Bartlet is going to win and it was a joy to read Aaron Sorkin's account of a fictitious conversation between Bartlet and Obama. (You're going to have to explain to me why I used the word fictitious there: when only one character in a conversation is real, it's either fictitious or time to phone for help.) If you missed that, it was in The New York Times.

I write to you with a new monitor on my Mac. Just wanted to share that.



William Gallagher said...

Just remembered the third example: Heroes.

Who'd have thought it'd be struggling after such a start?


Fenny said...

The reason that CiC failed was it never lived up to its promise. An awful lot of the storylines seemed to be directly lifted from TWW, down to the Evil Speaker having to take over as POTUS due to a lack of Veep.

I kept watching in the vain hope that it might get better and because of Mr Sutherland Sr's excellent portrayal of the pantomime baddie. And at one point, it was on directly after Sports Night, so I was still on a Sorkin high.