POLITICAL ANIMALS

Why don’t people just call it a mini-series?  The USA network bills Political Animals a “limited series event,” and at first I had no idea what that meant.

Honestly, I’m glad there are four episodes. (It appears that it was originally six but some broadcasts extend beyond the hour slot.)  I can commit to that even if I like but don’t love the series.  Which is the case:  I like it – don’t love it.

Sigourney Weaver is a joy to watch as Elaine Barrish, a Hillary Clinton-ish character who dumps her husband after an unsuccessful campaign then the series picks up when she is Secretary of State and her husband Bud Hammond (Ciaran Hinds) starts dating a busty television star.   One of the minuses of the series for me is the writing and performance of Bud’s character.  He’s a former president and former governor of North Carolina.

The Elaine and Bud have two sons, one working with his mom and about to marry a woman with a secret and the younger one who is struggling with substance abuse problems.  Did I mention that the younger son is also gay?

It’s just a little too-too much for me.  Sigourney Weaver’s role is carefully crafted, and her performance is subtle.  Ellen Burstyn is fun as her outspoken mother, but how many over the top characters and fortuitous plot points can one limited series event juggle?

A little bit of nuance can go a long way, and Political Animals could use more of it.  But, I like it…as a four-week diversion…in the middle of the summer…when not much else is happening.

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