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Danielg342

Designated Survivor Do-over

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I got this idea from The Mentalist forum on the eve of that show's cancellation, and I figure since this show has just been cancelled and that there are a lot of us here who think this show wasted its premise (at least I do), I figure this could be a fun topic to get into.

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I’ll join in, but it is a straight copy/paste from one of my posts in another thread (because my opinions haven’t changed):-

Season 1 arc: After the bombing, Texas secedes and other states threaten to follow. There are real anti-Union antagonists that the President must contend with (rather than petty straw-man Republican caricatures for the Democrat writers to hit with sticks). Civil War is on the horizon and the President must use all his guile to prevent it. Meanwhile as a B plot the FBI/CIA (not one woman) hunt down the bombers.  

Season 2 arc: It seems that civil war has been averted by the unmasking of the bombers, but the US has lost its standing and influence and must rebuild, while on a world stage the lost influence has created tumultuous times in many US protectorates, an emboldening of US enemies and worldwide recession. Europe is under increased pressure to fulfil the lost US role and a wave of red is sweeping in from the east. 

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2 hours ago, Pindrop said:

I’ll join in, but it is a straight copy/paste from one of my posts in another thread (because my opinions haven’t changed):-

Season 1 arc: After the bombing, Texas secedes and other states threaten to follow. There are real anti-Union antagonists that the President must contend with (rather than petty straw-man Republican caricatures for the Democrat writers to hit with sticks). Civil War is on the horizon and the President must use all his guile to prevent it. Meanwhile as a B plot the FBI/CIA (not one woman) hunt down the bombers.  

Season 2 arc: It seems that civil war has been averted by the unmasking of the bombers, but the US has lost its standing and influence and must rebuild, while on a world stage the lost influence has created tumultuous times in many US protectorates, an emboldening of US enemies and worldwide recession. Europe is under increased pressure to fulfil the lost US role and a wave of red is sweeping in from the east. 

I like it, but have you thought about arcs beyond S2?

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1 hour ago, Danielg342 said:

I like it, but have you thought about arcs beyond S2?

No, my version got cancelled then as well.

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54 minutes ago, Pindrop said:

No, my version got cancelled then as well.

Ha, no problem. Though I could easily see the stories you started in S2 stretching over a few more seasons.

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I'm going to add to this.

First, I like the storylines @Pindrop has come up with, so I'm not going to offer an alternative. It's essentially the same track that I would take.

I'll make a note for what I think the characters should be like, since that was not addressed:

  • Tom Kirkman's character development where he goes from clueless to a strong leader remains. It's essential to the show.
  • What I will establish is that Kirkman is extremely calculating and headstrong, someone who is like Dr. House in that he always believes he's right and most of the time, he is.
  • This creates drama as his charges find him difficult to work with, though they respect him because of his brilliance.
  • Having said that, Kirkman is a good listener and will consider other points of view before making a decision. He just sticks to that decision once it's made.
  • Cornelius Moss is there right from the beginning, being the only one Kirkman looks up to. Kirkman knew Moss from a brief meeting while Moss was President that didn't go very well, though Moss saw "something" in Kirkman that day. Moss is Kirkman's Secretary of State and his chief confidant, with Moss' advice allowing Kirkman to eventually grow into the role.
  • Kimble Hookstraten and her equivalent on the Democrat side would be there as "frenemies" of Kirkman, people who will only help him out if it suits their interests.
  • The Texas Governor is a main character (at least for S1 or however long Texas remains independent) to give a face to the secessionist movements within the show.
  • Lastly, Maggie Q and her band of FBI misfits are not series regulars. I always found their spots to be distracting from the main show, so much so that I felt like I was watching two different shows at once. It was jarring. If a law enforcement person needs to be a series regular, make it the FBI Director or the Director of Homeland Security- someone who'd actually have regular contact with the President.
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3 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

I'm going to add to this.

First, I like the storylines @Pindrop has come up with, so I'm not going to offer an alternative. It's essentially the same track that I would take.

I'll make a note for what I think the characters should be like, since that was not addressed:

  • Tom Kirkman's character development where he goes from clueless to a strong leader remains. It's essential to the show.
  • What I will establish is that Kirkman is extremely calculating and headstrong, someone who is like Dr. House in that he always believes he's right and most of the time, he is.
  • This creates drama as his charges find him difficult to work with, though they respect him because of his brilliance.
  • Having said that, Kirkman is a good listener and will consider other points of view before making a decision. He just sticks to that decision once it's made.
  • Cornelius Moss is there right from the beginning, being the only one Kirkman looks up to. Kirkman knew Moss from a brief meeting while Moss was President that didn't go very well, though Moss saw "something" in Kirkman that day. Moss is Kirkman's Secretary of State and his chief confidant, with Moss' advice allowing Kirkman to eventually grow into the role.
  • Kimble Hookstraten and her equivalent on the Democrat side would be there as "frenemies" of Kirkman, people who will only help him out if it suits their interests.
  • The Texas Governor is a main character (at least for S1 or however long Texas remains independent) to give a face to the secessionist movements within the show.
  • Lastly, Maggie Q and her band of FBI misfits are not series regulars. I always found their spots to be distracting from the main show, so much so that I felt like I was watching two different shows at once. It was jarring. If a law enforcement person needs to be a series regular, make it the FBI Director or the Director of Homeland Security- someone who'd actually have regular contact with the President.

Yes, Kirkman needed some major changes, at least the version of him that existed after his learning-the-ropes arc was over in the first third of the first season. I cannot understand how experienced writers (I assume, but judging by how amateurish a lot of the writing was, perhaps not) still have a Mary-Sue (or, more accurately, several Mary-Sues) at the centre of the show.

There are multiple problems with a Mary-Sue; they are unrelatable, they are unbelievable, and they are unlikeable, but worst of all they remove all of the following from the writer’s toolkit; any conflict (other than superficial and juvenile black/white) with other characters; any threat/stakes provided by the possibility of failure; any character arcs through learning from experiences/ mistakes; any overriding narrative thrust that is about anything other than propping up the Mary-Sue’s awesomeness.

The main problem with this show was that Kirkman (the version of him beyond the first third of season 1, that is) was such an insufferable prick.

Edited by Pindrop
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