Parents' Guide to

Commander in Chief

By Marjorie Kase, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Life and politics mix in this important drama.

TV ABC Drama 2005
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Rarely does a program feature a woman in power, let alone president of the United States, and the writers deserve much credit for the show's appropriate balance of drama and humor. Any more drama would appear too heavy-handed and any more humor would detract from the show's position that a woman president is plausible and possible in the near future. Geena Davis displays the perfect mix of poise and professionalism -- she is intelligent and sensitive, yet she keeps her emotions in check (one of the key arguments some possess against having a woman in power). Donald Sutherland is outstanding, as is Harry J. Lennix as Mac's new chief of staff.

The show's only downfall is its constant references to previous presidents, their wives, and offspring, which often comes off as gimmicky. For example, Hillary Clinton (who owes the show a big thank you) is the number one target of ridicule by White House staffers for her less than domestic approach to being a first lady. But despite these minor flaws, the show could become this fall's biggest hit; many have compared Commander in Chief to The West Wing, a comparison that, based on the first show's subplot, has merit, although creator Rod Lurie (The Contender) hints that unlike President Bartlett's liberal stance, Mac will hold a more conservative position on issues such as teaching abstinence in schools. Parents might want to watch Commander in Chief with their children to explain the political references and discuss the overall ramifications of having a female in the White House.

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