Logline: A lower level US Cabinet member is suddenly appointed President after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession.
Cast: Kal Penn, Maggie Q, Natascha McElhone, Italia Ricci, Kiefer Sutherland, Adan Canto
Creators: David Guggenheim (Writer / EP), Simon Kinberg (EP), Susan Bymel (EP), Kiefer Sutherland (EP), Paul McGuigan (D)
Studios: ABC Studios TV, The Mark Gordon Company, Genre Films
This one’s direct to series, so I didn’t spend too much time on it. It’s 70 pages, so there’s either a 90 minute premiere or someone’s going to have to do some serious cutting.
This show has a lot going for it. Guggenheim was a very hot features writer a few years ago, which explains why this feels like a movie. It’s got Kiefer Sutherland. It’s got huge inciting incident, which we know from Lost and Revolution can make (Lost) or break (Revolution) a show. It’s got the underdog to root for. It’s got a central mystery be solved.
Love the writing style of Guggenheim. You turn page after page, effortlessly. We show the incident at the Pentagon. Then we flash back to 15 hours before. Then by the End of Act One we catch back up to the opening. The newly installed President (Sutherland) has to first contend with a ship at sea which was previously in Sudan. Was it somehow tied to the catastrophe at The Pentagon? We see President Kirkland get his nuclear codes and away we go.
The pilot is relentless. It’s most like… well, Sutherland’s last series, 24. In this age of having to make a lot of noise to get ratings, I think this will do just fine. And as long as they don’t go crazy on subsequent episodes, this might not shed too many viewers in subsequent episodes.