This week in TV: Political Animals Pilot Episode

If you’re still on the lookout for some great summer TV, you may just be in luck. Political Animals is a 6 part mini- series that just aired its pilot episode on Sunday over on USA, and here on Bravo in Canada. Now just as the title of the series obviously states, this is a political drama. In all honestly I’m trying to think of other political dramas that I have been a fan of but am coming up blank, this isn’t typically a genre a gravitate towards. Mostly, I guess, due to my lack of interest in American politics (which should be understandable considering I’m not an American 😉 ).

Political Animals has a stellar cast, I kind of watched this on a whim and was immediately stunned by all the heavy hitters on the screen. Sigourney Weaver, Ciarán Hinds, Adrian Pasdar, Carla Gugino heck even Dylan Baker made a cameo!  Now mind you there has only been 1 aired episode but nonetheless I don’t want to give too much of the plot away.

In the pilot episode we meet Elaine Barrisch (Sigourney Weaver), a once presidential candidate who is trying to make a name for herself in politics away from her promiscuous husband Bud Hammond (Ciarán Hinds). Bud just so happens to be a former president himself (Hilary and Bill Clinton anyone?). After losing the election Elaine accepts the position of Secretary of State which is where we meet her now. We also meet their two sons Doug (James Wolk), a seemingly political golden boy and Elaine’s chief of staff. He has an impending wedding and it is referenced multiple times in the episode that Elaine must be too busy planning the event  than to uphold her political duties (a false assumption mind you). Then there is Doug’s twin brother TJ (Sebastian Stan) an outwardly gay man who can’t seem to keep up with the pressures of being a member of the Hammond family. Rounding out the main cast is Susan Berg (Carla Gugino), a news reporter who has spent much of her career trying to undermine Elaine’s political attempts and whose biggest news story to date has been her coverage on Bud’s numerous affairs.

Although I feel that the writing could have been sharper, the pilot delivered some great zingers such as:

Never call a bitch a bitch, us bitches hate that.

He’s not your floor manager at Chili’s; he’s the President of the United States!

 I feel that this miniseries has some great potential, I like that all of the characters are likable but seem to have that hidden bag of bones buried in their closet.  I’m hoping this gets turned into a full fledged series but for now I’ll have to settle for 5 more episodes. However with a cast of such established actors I know that this project must NOT have come cheap.

For those of you unable to find the pilot episode in your local listings, the official Political Animals youtube page has uploaded the pilot episode (in its entirely) here. I’ve noticed quite a few shows using this practice and all I can say is 2 thumbs up! It’s a great way to give people a taste for your show while gaining some extra publicity. Below is a promo (shot mock-interview style!) where you meet many of the main cast. Overall I would say to give this series a shot, while not the most original concept I’m very intrigued how far the writers will be able to develop the story in such a limited amount of time.

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