CBS’ new drama Madam Secretary doesn’t quite live up to the network’s other hit series, but with a few tweaks we think it could be a winner.
I have to be honest and say that the first 30 minutes of this new show didn’t inspire me to write much of anything for my review, except maybe a lullaby. CBS is known for its spectacular dramas, and so far, I’ve loved almost every single one of them.
But I had a hard time getting into Madam Secretary, and I found myself waiting for something to “pop” and for one of those moments when I said to myself, “Yes! This is something I want to watch every week.” Even if I can’t recall the exact scenes, I do recall having those kinds of epiphanies while watching other CBS shows like The Good Wife, Person of Interest and NCIS.
Perhaps it doesn’t seem fair to compare Madam Secretary to the likes of The Good Wife, but when you put them on the same night, it’s kind of hard not to compare the two. Though this new show isn’t quite at the level of Julianna Margulies’ hit series, with a few changes I think it could become something special.
How about a laugh or two?
I don’t think the show should turn into a comedy, but a chuckle here and there would go a long way. Shows like The Good Wife and Scandal have moments that make me laugh out loud, even if for no other reason than they are so shocking that I can do nothing else but laugh. Drama is best played off of lighter moments, so give Madam Secretary some dichotomy. The audience will feel like they have somewhere to go emotionally, rather than just being stuck in an “everything is dire” mode throughout every episode.
More action, please
To be clear, when I say “action” I don’t necessarily mean that I want bombs blowing up in the offices or for Elizabeth’s car to be run off the road in a fiery crash. I just mean the show needs to up the ante on the drama. Even with the two boys being held in Syria, I never felt that urge to sit at the edge of my seat and bite my nails in terror for their lives. It all played out in a predictable way, so I say let’s give the drama a little more juice.
Bring on the ensemble
The reason those other female-driven political dramas work isn’t just because they have a strong female lead who works all alone. Those leads have capable ensembles who work with them. They have swarms of people surrounding them and backing them up. So far the only character that stood out to me in the office pool was Blake (Erich Bergen), and he barely had a couple scenes. I could see promise in Bebe Neuwirth’s Nadine and Zeljko Ivanek’s Russell, but they both need a lot more to do.
What did you think of the premiere of Madam Secretary? What do you think should change to make the show better?