“Designated Survivor” premiered on ABC last September to big ratings and huge buzz. Jack Bauer as the President? People had to tune in (at least for one night) and see how that would go. Millions stayed with the political action drama throughout the season, with the show averaging 12 million viewers an episode (in Live +7-Day DVR ratings), ranking 17th for the year – #10 for scripted programming and the third most-watched new show of the TV season, behind “Bull” and “This is Us”.
The Complete First Season is now available on DVD. I instantly became hooked after episode 1, and by the season finale (No. 21), I couldn’t wait for more. If you haven’t watched “DS” yet, you’ve got about a month to catch-up before the Season 2 premiere on Sept. 27, but that’s plenty of time to invest in the White House chaos of Kiefer Sutherland’s President Kirkman, his staff, family, friends, colleagues and [many] foes.
Highlights of Season 1 include Kal Penn as WH Press Secretary Seth Wright, Maggie Q’s fierce FBI agent Hannah Wells, and Sutherland just being a total bada**. The show balances quiet, tense and intense moments in surprising and unexpected ways.
Kirkman’s relationship with Congresswoman Kimble Hookstraten was also terrific. It’s too bad that actress Virginia Madsen, who appeared throughout much of the season (and thought to likely become a regular in Season 2), won’t be returning to the show. And apparently, it wasn’t Madsen who decided she/Hookstraten was done.
In June, Madsen responded to some fan tweets on Twitter, writing: “Sorry I won’t be back. I really enjoyed it. It was a great role. I was loving it.”
There are some big plans for Season 2 (without Madsen). Sutherland explained at the ABC Upfronts in May that “no less than three principal characters [will be brought in] to round out the complexities of running the White House”. There will also be “a midseason event that I believe will knock the socks off our audience.” Hope he’s right!