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S01.E01: Pilot

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Episode Synopsis:

Newly-appointed Secretary Of State Elizabeth McCord is immediately faced with a maelstrom of complex political challenges, and an international hostage situation is her top priority. Meanwhile at home, Elizabeth questions whether she did the right thing by taking this job, as her children are finding it difficult to adjust to their new schools

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WHAT???? Bebe is in that thing ..... WHY is she not playing the lead? I'd totally buy her as a SoS ...Tea Leonie, not so much. I haven't seen her in much, but what I've seen of her suggests that she might not be the best actress in the business. Neuwirth's little finger can probably upstage her without even trying!

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I'll be trying this because I'd happily watch Bebe Neuwirth read the phonebook but I'm not too hopeful, and my background in international public policy makes me get particularly rage-y when dramas get the fine detail of international relations wrong.

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I missed when the football game ended--could any kind soul out there let me know how late CBS is now running?

It's on now on the East Coast. Looks like it just started. There will be an encore airing after The Good Wife.

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Tried to watch but Leoni mumbles her way through the lines and looks like she's sleeping through most of it. I recall Barbara Hall(the creator/writer) fondly from Joan of Arcadia and wanted to give this a shot but Leoni is unbearable...plus, I hate smart ass kids....so I am out...I'll watch West Wing on Netflix instead...

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I think Bebe Neuwirth would be an interesting SoS but she can be so steely (Lileth-like.)  I like that Tea can be sort of steely or gives it her best shot and very casual. 

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It wasn't so bad.  The last half was more exciting than the first.

 

If you follow Madam Secretary and The Good Wife on Facebook, they will always post every Sunday evening exactly what time the show will air.  The show never airs as planned because of football.   It's always delayed.  Annoying I know, but unfortunately, this is the reality us TGW fans have been dealing with for seasons.  

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I liked the last half too.  I have so many questions:

 

Where did they move from?  What school did her hub originally teach at?  Who is George?  I know he came to her house and they know each other well and now he's dead.   

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I watched rolling my eyes throughout. This show is so CBS and I do not mean that in a good way. The Syrian government kidnaps these two Americans teens and accepts $1.5 million in food and medical supplies for their release. Really? It was like watching one of those trite NCIS episodes.

 

I think that Leoni is okay, but she is not the strongest actress. 

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The Chief of Staff and son are extremely obnoxious, Carradine is totally unbelievable as President, and Neuwirth is totally wasted; I won't be back.

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Guest Accused Dingo

That was better then I expected. I mean yes it is a CBS show but at least it is a GOOD CBS show. I can see myself watching this at least for awhile. i like the main character and her family and most of the others don't annoy so...yeah better then I expected. Plus the overall season long mystery(who killed CIA guy and former Secretary of State) could be interesting

Edited by Accused Dingo
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I can imagine the producers dismay that the pilot suffered the dreaded footballnoverrun delay that plagued my beloved TAR for years. Way to build an audienceN by putting the premiere date as one certain to have an overrun and this one by an hour no less!

Edited by North of Eden

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Tia Leoni?  Never heard of her...but all I can see when she is on my screen is a young Meridith Baxter-Birney.  I swear they are dead ringers for each other.  Anyone else think that or is it just me?  Show was so-so.....I'll give it another couple of episodes and decide.

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They replaced the amazing race with this?

The first half was boring luckily the second half was better. Hated the two kids!

I don't watch much of cbs...are all the procedurals like this?

And who the hell is George and why do I care that he's dead?

The only reason I watched this was because nothing else was on.

Good thing about this: it made me miss scandal! Can't wait til Thursday!

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Back when The Good Wife was first moved to Sundays (grrrr!) I set my DVR to end my weekly TGW recording 90 minutes later--I have NEVER missed a minute of that show since doing that.  Tonight, since I wanted to check out Madam Secretary which airs BEFORE The Good Wife, I just set the DVR for its regular time slot, and both shows may have been delayed tonight, but our recordings are in good shape.  I'm in the Central time zone, if that makes a difference.

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I have a fondness for Tea Leoni back to her 'The Naked Truth' days but she doesn't really have the range to pull this role off.  The mystery of George's death and what it has to do with Leoni's character pushes this from I'll watch if nothing else is on to its kind of unbearable.

 

So the make over for the press was an excuse to dress her up in Hillary Clinton's clothes, right?

Edited by ParadoxLost
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Bebe Neuwirth in a second banana role?  I'm surprised.

I don't understand the Tea Leoni hate, but ymmv.

 

 

Who is George?

 

A former CIA colleague.

 

I love the guy playing her chief of staff (Erich Bergen, from Jersey Boys)

 

I also love Zeljko Ivanek, he always plays such a good bad guy.

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Where did they move from? What school did her hub originally teach at?

He was teaching at the University of Virginia, which is in Charlottesville. Looked like they lived in the country in that area.

I love the guy playing her chief of staff (Erich Bergen, from Jersey Boys)

Fun fact, the younger guy who played...uh, deputy something or other? He was sitting next to Madam Secretary at the dinner with the King. Not her assistant Blake, and not the guy with the glasses who's married to Christina Hendricks IRL. It's going to take me forever to figure out everyone's name and job. ANYWAY, he's a Jersey Boys veteran as well, but from the Broadway stage. His name is Sebastian Arcelus, and was most recently seen on teevee (well, Netflix) as Lucas (poor, poor Lucas) on House of Cards.

ETA: IMDB tells me they actually both played the same role, Bob Gaudio!

Edited by Lovecat

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"I also love Zeljko Ivanek, he always plays such a good bad guy."

The simplistic characters remind me of everything i hated about Geena Davis's "Commander in Chief" from a few years back:

A high-minded female political neophyte is thrust into a highly politicized position.

Rather than recognizing that her staff is there to help, she assumes they're political hacks, and ignores or rejects, out-of-hand, every piece of potentially useful advice they offer.

Anyone who takes an opposing position will always be proved wrong, while she will always be right.

"Commander in Chief" squandered an opportunity to show a woman navigating the ambiguity of power. I'm hoping down the road "Madam Secretary" won't make the same mistake. But, after seeing the pilot, I'm not holding out much hope.

I expected so much more from Barbara Hall, who created such beautifully complex characters on the much-missed, "Joan of Arcadia."

Edited by wonderwoman
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Advantage to living on the left coast?  Aside from having the Sunday shows always start on time? Having the valuable previously.tv comments roll in before the show airs.  Thanks for the heads-up, and I'll pass on this one, unless I see better comments in the weeks to come.  I like Tea Leoni, so that's too bad (for now). 

 

Joan of Arcadia!  Yes!  Time to find out where I can watch that again, ten years later.  It made me cry almost every week. 

Edited by jjj
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Tia Leoni?  Never heard of her...

David Duchovny's wife. (Fox Mulder)

I thought it was better than a lot of other similar pilots in recent years. It wasn't soapy. It wasn't terribly inplausible. And I liked the dialogue and cast. The only time I got a Hilary vibe was when they did long shots of her in the pantsuit.

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This wasn't too bad. Definitely better than the Hillary fanfiction of a show that Political Animals was. At least they didn't have the president be absurdly dumb and weak to make Tea's character seem smart. I thought Tea was decent in the role. I am hoping to see more time spent with the staffers and less with the stupid conspiracy that they started with the death of the first SoS. I'd like to see this show be more TWW and less Scandal.

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I want more of a good show about Washington DC, similar to West Wing, and not a show about agents killing members of the government. This looks too much like that show from last season, Hostages I think it was, where they wanted to kill the president. Now we have raspy Tia Leoni who will try and stay alive unlike her predecessor and the informant George. The only part I liked was when she kicked the foreign President's ass and gave props to his many wives.

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I didn't hate it, keeping in mind this was the pilot, and in pilots they're obligated to introduce so much in so little time that sometimes it feels like so much so soon. Still, you needed a flow chart to keep up on everything. I'm still not sure who George was in relation to MadSec (CIA, yes, but how do any of these people know each other?). Perhaps the very first hour isn't the best time to introduce a conspiracy atop political intrigue, a hostage situation, a Trotskyite son and a moody daughter.

 

I'm rooting against a Crisis Of The Week approach, the Chief of Staff, and President Carradine's re-election. But once Tea's character found a little footing she wasn't hard to like a little bit. It had enough interesting supporting cast members to see if it can carry over into something watchable for a few episodes.

Edited by cvbear
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Not sure (how old is he?) even Tim Daly on my TV can get me past the laughably hideous out-of-the-box lines. Or plot lines being telegraphed from miles away. Or going from shoveling shit to jeez, I get it.

 

Not familiar with Barbara Hall, but if this is any indication, I'm not impressed.

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Call me underwhelmed. Why on earth would you hire Bebe Neuwirth if all you're going to let her do is reaction shots of either affirmative knowing smiles or (when diplomatic protocol is breached) grimacing like someone passed wind?  Also why bother with a hacked up conspiracy theory right out of the gate?  It doesn't show much faith in the premise (sadly) if you're already busting out cliche plot devices that are usually held back until the end of your sophomore season.

 

Too bad because there's a lot of names attached to this project that should know better.

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This was like a movie you go see and find out you already saw all the best parts on the tv previews.  Three funny/intense scenes, and yeah, typical CBS intrigue.  Waaay to similar to NCIS with the terroristic stuff, and out of touch in saying the boys were "complete innocents."  I could see both points of view - hers and the head of power guys.  Her makeover was ridiculous, she cut what, an inch off her hair?

 

When the  POTOS said we've tried your way I'd of made the point that was the other guys way and I'd been overruled.  Not waited for a midnight text his wife rendevous which was ridiculous. 

 

I really didn't like it, and I really wanted to like it.  Dang.

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Bad waste of a pretty terrific cast.  This felt like it was written in a tv-dumbing-everything-down-kind-of-way.  Most scenes were built on predictable tv cliches:  Oh, look, here's the smartass kid (in their very, very, mom/dad/boy/girl nuclear family).  Oh, look, here's the "ha, ha, we're trying so hard to make bland dialogue sound funny" television show banter (the speechwriting scene).  Oh, look, here's our idealistic lead defying authority and, ohmigosh, she turns out to be right.  Oh look, here's a dude who warns of a conspiracy and, my stars, it turns out he gets killed at the end.  Could it be... murder?

 

Then there's stuff that wouldn't make it through a freshman writing course like: "You don't just think outside the box, you don't even know there's a box."  Oh, Jeez Louise, shut up.

 

You'd think they'd have studied The Good Wife, which is anything but a dumbed-down show.  Watching The Good Wife, where you have morally complex characters having genuinely surprising things happen to them with humor that's actually funny and suspense that's actually suspenseful made me forget I'd even watched Madam Secretary even though I'd just gotten through watching it.  The huge gap in quality between these two tonight is definitely not doing Madam Secretary any favors.

Edited by bobbyjoe
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Tia Leoni?  Never heard of her...but all I can see when she is on my screen is a young Meridith Baxter-Birney.  I swear they are dead ringers for each other.  Anyone else think that or is it just me?  Show was so-so.....I'll give it another couple of episodes and decide.

 

When I was much younger, I had a crush on Leoni. She starred on Flying Blind, a short-lived sexy sitcom. After that, she was on Jurassic Park III and Deep Impact, among others. She was, of course, David Duchovny's wife.

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According to the Cancellation Bear, CBS shows actually get a ratings bump when the NFL runs over.

 

I think it's unfair to judge a pilot too harshly.  The network interferes with everything, and you have to say yes just to make it to a series order, and viewers want plot instead of meeting the characters in a first episode so everything is thrown against the wall just hoping something will get them interested in the second episode.

 

Every pilot season I always read that Tea Leoni is one of the most sought after talents.  I like her mostly from Spanglish, and I was really surprised when HBO passed on her fashion comedy.

 

The Good Wife has done some awfully silly things in regards to the law and realism, so I think it is a good fit.  At least it's not Homeland Season two... yet.

Edited by Morbs
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I really enjoyed this. Not perfect, but definitely worth seeing if it settles in to a groove post-pilot. I thought Leoni was very good.

 

And if they wanted to make a show centering around Tim Daly the religion professor, I might watch that too.

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I think they chose Leoni over BeBe because they want to present a softer "Hillary".  Sorry I think CBS put this one up to help Hillary in the elections.

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I watched this simply because critics said it was one of the better pilots this TV season.

 

Apparently this TV season is going to be filled with stinkers.

 

For me, this will be something i'll watch if I am bored, like I might wait until 3-4 episodes are online, then watch like 2-3 in a row.

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So so.  Will see how it goes.  Will watch for awhile at least.

 

George was obviously killed.  Is it the chief of staff?  He is always a killer.  I wonder what his resume' says?  

 

Kids are never good in TV shows unless they are the Cosby kids.  

 

Please don't compare this to Hostages or I will never watch it again!  LOL  

 

They will never be able to match The West Wing for a DC based show.  It was the best ever.  And the one with the woman President (mentioned above but I already forgot the name) was just plain horrid.  

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George was obviously killed.  

That seemed to be the point, but now I'm thinking suicide.

 

Kids are never good in TV shows unless they are the Cosby kids.  

Heh. True.

 

Please don't compare this to Hostages or I will never watch it again!

Yes, I didn't get past the first commercial break of the Hostages pilot. Then there was the Mysteries of Laura, which I will give one more viewing to see if it was just pilotitis. This show pilot was good enough that if the next episode is as good, I will likely only quit it if I just don't have time.

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I don't get why the family had to move.  Especially considering they were in VA; couldn't she do a weekly commute?  (Or would security be to much of a concern having two households to cover?)  

 

And if they wanted to make a show centering around Tim Daly the religion professor, I might watch that too.

 

Me too.  Nice to see that CBS is keeping both Hackett brothers employed (I think I caught a glimpse of Steven Weber on an ad for NCIS: NO.)

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I hadn't even planned on watching but my husband switched to this from football.  (Political junky, I'd rather watch football.)  Gee, writers, cliche much?  Is it too soon to label Mme Secretary a Mary Sue?  I have no opinion one way or another about Tea (other than she's pretty bland), but I think Bibi would have given the character a little more fire.  

 

I'd stick to Veep or reruns of TWW for political drama.  Unless there is a good football game on.

Edited by Haleth

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I want more of a good show about Washington DC, similar to West Wing, and not a show about agents killing members of the government.

 

I like Tea Leoni and political shows so I will keep watching for a while in the hopes that it gets better. But this was my exact thought. I'd prefer more of stand-alone episodes focusing on politics instead of another stupid who-done-it mystery.

One thing that took me out of the show: Sec'y Clinton (and now Kerry) were/are constantly flying all over the world. The Secretary of State job is not one that you do from an office in DC.  So right there they've lost me with the realism.

 

I always like looking at Tim Daly, but is he the only attractive 50+ actor in town? This is the third show I watch where he is the good looking, understanding guy (Mindy Project, Hot in Cleveland). I certainly hope they don't go down the older professor-hot student route.

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I liked it.  Tea Leoni did a great job and while some of the dialogue was a little clunky overall it was a good hour of television. I'll definitely check it out again next week.

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Well, at least it's better than Mysteries of Laura. Tea Leone has always been a favorite of mine, but she looks and sounds drugged out in this show.  All her reactions are a beat slow and her delivery is flat.  

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I'm still not sure who George was in relation to MadSec (CIA, yes, but how do any of these people know each other?).

 

George was the person who recruited Elizabeth to the CIA. He and the president seemed to have been her mentors at the CIA.

 

When the  POTOS said we've tried your way I'd of made the point that was the other guys way and I'd been overruled.

 

She tried, but POTUS waved it away with "No one's pointing fingers." A clash with the president's chief of staff. how novel. Zzzzz.

 

I'll probably end up watching this because it's on before TGW and I'm not a fan of Once Upon a Time. A ringing endorsement, I know.

Edited by dubbel zout

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If Morgan Freeman can produce the show, but not be on it playing the President, then Bebe Neuwirth can somehow be on it and not be playing Madam Secretary of State.

 

Heh.

Edited by Kromm
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