Madam Secretary: Pilot
September 21, 2014 9:23 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

A look at the personal and professional life of a Secretary of State as she tries to balance her work and family life.

Two American students are falsely imprisoned in Damascus, Syria, for espionage and may be executed. The newly-appointed Madam Secretary (Téa Leoni) must convince President Conrad Dalton (Keith Carradine) to try her way in releasing the prisoners... and she's running out of time.

Show notes:
  • Most Inappropriate Kiss Ever between two work colleagues.
  • You might remember Tim Daly from the TV series, "Wings".
  • Keith Carradine recently played Lou Solverson on FX's "Fargo".
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (14 comments total)
 
Borrowed more than a little from Aaron Sorkin's "The West Wing" (walk-and-talk, even her team seemed like a carbon copy of Bartlet's team), without adding anything new to innovate the by-now-familiar format. I guess the innovation was turning focusing on a not-as-powerful title (like "Veep" does for comedy), and focusing on a woman instead of a man.

Speaking of "Veep", her assistant was very Jonah-like.

And her kid... some obnoxious kid, huh?

We get a double! Scarves! scene early on, when Leoni and her professor husband are still academics (academics wear scarves, that's what being an acadmic IS), and a lot of glasses-acting (removing, looking thoughtful, placing back on).

Oh and there seems to be a lot of dying, I'm surprised one of the horses didn't neigh and fall over.

Would not watch again but let's hear it if you liked it (what did you like???).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:32 PM on September 21, 2014


I thought it was more Scandal Lite than West Wing - Lady Edition. So much melodrama!

I'll probably watch it again at least once or twice; it was a competently-acted way to pass the time until Good Wife. Husband and I agreed we'll give it a couple weeks to decide if we actually care about the characters, or if it's just plot-of-the-week background noise while we wait for the show we actually like.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:53 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was grateful that it wasn't heaving bosoms and clacking heels a la Scandal, so it was more WW-Lite for me, skirting the depths. First episode though, it could get better. Since football is going to push it back all Fall, it will depend what is on Masterpiece Mystery, right now it's a placeholder until The Good Wife starts.

What I liked: I liked Tea Leoni in the role, I've always liked her voice and laconic demeanor. It moved quickly. I'll lose interest if there's always going to be a tidy wrap up; if it's too comforting.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:44 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm with you, Eyebrows McGee- I'm willing to give it a few weeks. From what I've read, though, the pilot is the best of the next few episodes, and if that's true, I'll probably bail soon. I also don't need a RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES show in my life- isn't real life depressing enough?

Pleased to see so many Broadway/stage actors- love it when they get work.

One of the articles I read suggested that the husband is clearly some sort of evil- what do we think about that? I was suspicious of him with all the fawning co-eds, but do we think he's evil beyond typical cheating husband behavior?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:45 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, what's with Madam Secretary conducting her secret business with secret dudes in front of the Capital building? Girl, you're gonna get caught!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:15 AM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was surprised the depth with which I hated this show. There was so much horrible writing, I made a list:

-the president actually found her shoveling horse shit
-constitutional right, not a global one
-she's worried that she has "masculine energy"
-there is a plane crash conspiracy (and now crashed car one as well)
-"Let's take a seat and think our private thoughts" was said in all seriousness
-the melodrama of the "We're American Spies" video

The last point is where I crossed the line over into this show being too tedious to keep watching (and note taking). I did like Operation Stupid Kids as a title.
posted by Margalo Epps at 1:45 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure we saw enough of the staff to start drawing Bartlett parallels, not to mention that my wife who's never watched WW kept saying "Chiefs of Staff are real dicks I guess" and I was all #NotAllChiefsofStaff. Anyways I thought Tea Leoni was pretty good. I thought it went pretty strong on the conspiracy stuff though, and if the show turns out to be her dealing with a conspiracy that all the Washington insiders are in on and she's the bucky outsider who's gonna fix it then I'll drop it pretty quick.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:57 PM on September 22, 2014


:D Seconding everthing Epps says.

If anyone wants to post on it next week, speak up. This was a one-off for me.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2014


*takes masculine energy and leaves thread* :)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2014


I had no plans to watch this, but I got bored so I did. The reason I didn't add it to my large list of shows is it seemed really boring in the promos...and it certainly lived up to that. So boring. I get this style was popular previously but this show doesn't seem very modern despite ripping from the headlines.

I definitely won't be back.
posted by Aranquis at 7:08 PM on September 22, 2014


I'm giving this a shot, but I admit that I'm riiight on the edge of hate-watching/MSTing it. The conspiracy angle has the potential to be amazingly batshit.
posted by Etrigan at 9:14 AM on September 23, 2014


I kinda liked it, but I'm also wary of the CIA conspiracy storyline. More of the diplomacy stuff seems more interesting to me.

-"Let's take a seat and think our private thoughts" was said in all seriousness

I laughed out loud at that, unironically. Just something in the delivery.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:16 AM on September 23, 2014


-"Let's take a seat and think our private thoughts" was said in all seriousness

I don't think that was "serious" at all. The assistant was clearly at the end of his patience with the two staffers and was trying to put them in their place. He practically winked while he was saying it.
posted by Etrigan at 10:22 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not impressed thus far, but I'm hoping it turns out OK so as not to be a waste of the always enjoyable Leoni and Daly. CBS owes Tim huuuuuuuuuuge for shit-canning his splendid series Almost Grown in 1989. I cried when that fucker was cancelled, and it still pains me.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:13 PM on September 23, 2014


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