TV's newest celebrations of despotism
I’ve spent almost a decade adamantly refusing to watch TV’s State-worshipping ratings hit The West Wing. My friend Dave adores the show. He never misses it. “It’s written extraordinarily well,” he insists. I don’t care. I can’t get past the fact that its producer once told the L.A. Times he’d created the series to “help rebuild Americans’ confidence in their leaders.” Fortunately, the show’s copycats quickly disappeared, so we’ve been left only with Martin Sheen and his “noble” struggles. But another television season is now launching, and I note at least two new series that, like The West Wing, I’ll be avoiding like liver and onions.
Commander in Chief (on ABC) — To get us prepared for Hillary’s run for the White House in 2008, here comes Geena Davis as Vice President Mackenzie Allen, thrust into the Oval Office when the President dies suddenly. She’s a Nobel-winning university chancellor, mother, former Congresscritter, and, to make things seem really evenhanded, she’s an Independent! Oh, and she’s cute as a button. What a country!
E-Ring (on NBC) — Remember when Dennis Hopper was a Hollywood bad boy and rode a badass bike across the nation’s landscape with Peter Fonda, selling dope and raising hell? Those days are over, kids. Now Hopper’s a colonel, working at the Pentagon’s “E-Ring,” where all the really big decisions are made. And he's mixing it up with a maverick former Green Beret and Army major played by Benjamin Bratt. Shit, I feel another war coming on.-----
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