Kiefer Sutherland, accidental president in "Designated Survivor"

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by Nick, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Northern...
    I do wince at errors and continuity problems. When I said "I've even held my nose and used it myself" about "suspend [dis]belief" at those times I did so because the term does communicate the source of irritation. "They" should do a better job. (I use "they" to be fully inclusive of all the people involved in the production.)

    With that said, I was feeling the need to defend watching shows that sometimes err but do pull from me memories, feelings, and/or emotions because of what is being presented on the screen.

    In this case, I fully expected to not watch this show. Indeed it is frequently inaccurate, but for some reason I find the Tom Kirkman character played by Kiefer Sutherland somehow "relatable" because of the situation in which he supposedly finds himself. So I have continued to watch it.

    Unfortunately it took me over 1000 words to explain why I watch this show where, irritatingly, "they" failed to give any thought about filming shots of normal DC traffic after such an attack - among other problems. Sorry about being so verbose.
     
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  2. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Why am I singing "Grammar got ran over by a reindeer..." ;)

    Meanwhile... suspension of disbelief is a tricky thing. To me, it often gets used when it doesn't apply. For example... To enjoy Supergirl, you have to suspend disbelief in aliens, people who can fly, people who can shoot lasers from their eyes, and so forth. IF you can't suspend that disbelief, then you can't enjoy the show. You have to accept the core premise in order to enjoy the narrative.

    BUT

    If you have a show like Dukes of Hazzard, since James brought it up... you can suspend disbelief in people not getting MAJOR injuries from those car crashes... as long as they NEVER show you an episode that centers the plot around someone getting hurt in a car crash! That wouldn't be suspension of disbelief anymore... that would be a show violating the rules of its own universe.

    You establish that people can jump over canyons and the car and people are ok... and can have high-speed collisions without injury... then you can't suddenly do a story and someone being hurt in a crash. You've established a world and asked the viewer to accept that car crashes don't hurt people, you can't walk that back.

    Nitpicking Supergirl... you establish that outside of her being alien and having super powers, that the rest of the laws of physics seem to apply... then you have to be careful having her pick up a car by its bumper and supporting the entire weight of the car without the bumper basically ripping off! This is a nitpick they often get wrong in shows... then say "you have to suspend disbelief" as an excuse for poor writing.

    So, back to this show... The early episodes have to setup the world the show is set within... what the "rules" are and how it might differ from reality... but if they establish that it is mostly the real-world but with some fictional changes like the killing of the President and congress, etc... they have to keep the rest of the show realistic within that world. Suspension of disbelief is not meant to cover plotholes.
     
  3. Huuge Hefner

    Huuge Hefner New Member

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    There. I edited your post for you. You are entirely welcome. (said the guy who just posted 800 words on a show he hates)

    FIrst, this is not fantasy. Nor is it comedy or science fiction. A drama like this is supposed to be realistic. It is supposed to be believable, to work on any level. It's not. BuffyTVS was a fantasy. It was easy to suspend disbelief there, and they knocked it right out of the park for many seasons.

    Second, artistic license is malleable. What I mean by that is that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen rarely got called for fouls, because they were so good at playing the game. If you give me a compelling story and execute it brilliantly, you get a whole lot more artistic license. Give me drek, and 'Traveling--number forty-two! Raise your hand up!'

    Third, Webster's has very simple clear definitions of what 'suspend' means, and what 'disbelief' means. It is not too hard to put those together to create an easily understandable concept. We suspend disbelief every time we look at the light from pixels and see characters, people, stories, instead of pixels.

    I write fiction. But one of the hard and fast rules I have is to make the story believable. It has to be a story that could have happened, to be any good.

    Suspending belief is something different than suspending disbelief. The ability to suspend disbelief to a certain level only enhances the story. The inability takes you out of the story. Once I can't suspend my disbelief, I begin to suspend my belief that I will be tuning in for the next episode.
     
  4. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Stewart, I like the way you put that ... setting the rules for the universe then sticking to those rules (instead of violating them for no good reason).

    I suppose the terror of 9-11 is still too fresh in my mind. The irrational fear that I felt on that day that they were coming after me even though I was nowhere near a major city. As my mind settled down to thinking rationally the "next city" to be targeted kept getting bigger. I stopped worrying about the small major city near me and worried more about the bigger major city of Chicago, where people were trying to get out of town as fast as they could (including commuter rail running "load and go" services to get people out of the city and back to their homes). 9-11 had too big of an influence on me ... it is hard to suspend that reality.

    There is just too much of a "life goes on" feel about this show. With the level of destruction shown the reaction should be more than what we are seeing in this show.

    The show is handling the political and interpersonal relationships ... so once I get past the errors in disaster recovery and reaction I'll watch to see how Jack saves the day again. Oops. It isn't Jack this time. Gotta overlook the typecasting too.
     
  5. Huuge Hefner

    Huuge Hefner New Member

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    Jack, er, Kiefer is not typecast. George Reeves was typecast. And a thousand SAG card holders could do either role better, including George Reeves (and he's dead).
     
  6. Huuge Hefner

    Huuge Hefner New Member

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    Hmmm. Is that meant sarcastically? Where's the smiley?

    I'm gonna assume not, since that makes perfect sense to me. I never make the rules. I just follow them.





    (sometimes)
     
  7. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I wasn't talking about you (or even to you, specifically). I was talking about the show.
     
  8. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Northern...
    Now I understand your problem with the show. You've identified a troubling aspect of the initial episodes of the show that I didn't realize was bothering me.

    Today we're not Londoner's in the Blitz, head down getting through intensive nightly bombings. We have become more like Londoner's during The Troubles. We've learned that if a criminal terrorist act isn't at the shocking 9-11 level but somewhere towards the individual shooter level, we pause but don't let "them" win by stopping our society.

    Fundamentally, the show's story is that someone used a bomb in the Capitol Building to kill the President, almost all members of Congress, all but one member of the Cabinet, all members of the Supreme Court, the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, etc.

    The truth of the matter is that the state governments would not be impacted and that outside D.C. the routines of the federal bureaucracy and the military would go on. Nonetheless...

    Personal shock and grief notwithstanding, the D.C. government and the States of Virginia and Maryland would shut down everything inside the beltway, only slowly restoring freedom of movement in phases. Folks employed by the Smithsonian edifices might not be allowed to go back to work for weeks while FBI employees at the J. Edgar Hoover Building might be allowed back to work the next day. There would be no reason for lobbyists and many other workers in D.C. to go back to work any time soon.

    Instead many shots look like the center of D.C. at 10 am today.

    You are right, it is troublesome and they could have had some interesting stories about how to restore "normal" not just some random cop hassling the guy of Middle Eastern descent.

    The show runners deserve negative judgements about this. And I've had problems with some lessor story arcs. I guess, in the end, the characters and maybe the actors have pulled me into a show I might have otherwise rejected. It's weird because I am now aware consciously of all these criticisms and yet I haven't "suspended" anything other than choosing to change the channel.

    Now I'm wondering what this show has to offer as drama. Do I need to reevaluate?
     
  9. Huuge Hefner

    Huuge Hefner New Member

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    Well, you started with the word 'Stewart', so I'm not sure how anyone could have even dreamed that you might be talking to me.

    But I am in this conversation. Whether you like it or not. That's how this works.

    I'm glad you are talking about the show. That is also how this is supposed to work.
     
  10. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    James hit one aspect of the weirdness... the only character on the show that seems to be thinking about other things is that one FBI agent... can't remember her name... but she's the one questioning their findings and asking "what if there is more to come" and it seems like if she was in charge, maybe they would be doing more sensible things... As it is, it kind of seems like they are trying to get back to business-as-usual really quickly and not even considering that other attacks might be coming... which is what you should be wondering about. There's no way someone would hit us THAT hard and then say and do nothing else... the whole point of that attack would be to weaken us for the next things. Those next things would have to come soon, while we were still scrambling.
     
  11. Huuge Hefner

    Huuge Hefner New Member

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    OK, so maybe that is a clever comment by them on female empowerment (you go, girl) and possibly a dig at the thoughtless mentality of how the machine is supposed to work. Tryina see the glass half full here.
     
  12. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    After binge watching the first five episodes it became obvious the writers got the idea from Tom Clancy's "Debt of Honor". In that novel the character Jack Ryan becomes President of the United States under similar conditions.
     
  13. Huuge Hefner

    Huuge Hefner New Member

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    Yeah. Tom Clancy is the showrunner here.









    Not.
     

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