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Political Animals: The Complete Series

Score: 80%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Warner Brothers Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/2
Running Time: 290 Mins.
Genre: Drama/Political/TV Series
Audio: Dolby Digital English 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish


  • Unaired Scenes

Political Animals: The Complete Series is a 6 episode TV mini-series that originally aired on USA Network. It surrounds the family of former President Bud Hammond (Ciarin Hinds) and his now ex-wife Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver) as they navigate the brewing political waters of Washington D.C. while trying to maintain some semblance of a family. Bud Hammond was an extremely popular President, despite his constant and oft publicized cheating on Elaine, yet she stood by him. She later became the Governor of Illinois and made her own run for the Presidency, but was defeated by Paul Garcetti (Adrian Pasdar), who then asked her to be his Secretary of State. While in her role as First Lady, she was brutally criticized by reporter Susan Berg (Carla Gugino), who won a Pulitzer based on her harsh coverage of the First Family. Now, Susan finds herself as a regular among the Barrish/Hammond camp through some clever manipulating of recent family secrets.

Throughout the six episodes, we learn about the family's struggles like son T.J. (Sebastian Stan), who is openly gay and battles with drug abuse, and his fraternal twin brother, Doug (James Wolk), who is soon to be married to a beautiful but bulimic interior designer named Anne (Brittany Ishibashi). Elaine's razor-tongued alcoholic mother, Margaret (Ellen Burstyn) is a constant fixture and steals every single scene she is in. Ellen Burstyn is simply brilliant in this role. Meanwhile, I had a hard time buying Ciarin Hinds as a Southerner, with his overdone accent. To me, I can't get past him as a British actor, but he got more believable as the episodes went on.

One can't ignore the fact that the Hammond clan, especially Elaine and Bud, mirror Hillary and Bill Clinton a great deal, but I tried to put that out of my mind and enjoy the Hammonds for who they were, a fictional Presidential family. The interplay between President Paul Garcetti, snaky Vice President Fred Collier (Dylan Baker) and Sec. of State Barrish as they overcome potential worldwide crises and interpersonal clashes is entertaining. The show was slow at first, but I did end up enjoying it. I can see why it only lasted as long as it did, but the finale does tease the viewer with what might happen in the future, were the show to continue.

The only special features were a few deleted scenes and while they were interesting, they were just that - deleted scenes. If you are a fan of political drama, you will enjoy Political Animals: The Complete Series. I don't know that it is one to purchase, as it doesn't really warrant multiple viewings, but it would make a good Netflix rental if you like politics, especially a drama driven by tough females.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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