Thanks To Netflix, 'Designated Survivor' Lives On
Designated Survivor has survived a tight election! The Kiefer Sutherland series officially has a seat on Netflix’s bench of original series. ABC canceled the show in May after a messy second season. Thankfully, Netflix made the right choice and saved the political drama, which would’ve thrived on the streaming platform in the first place.
Netflix has ordered 10 episodes in Season 3, which will condense the show and will likely increase its quality. Leaving behind its previous 22-episode format (far too long for such an intense show) could really change the series for the better.
In addition to Sutherland, it’s rumored Adan Canto, Italia Ricci, Kal Penn, and Maggie Q will be returning for Season 3. However, there will be yet another new showrunner — the series has already had three. Neal Baer (Law & Order: SVU, Under the Dome) will be taking the reigns.
Per the show’s official Netflix description, Sutherland’s character Kirkman “will face a political reality — campaigning. What does it take to make a leader? What price will he be willing to pay? Democracy, as we know it, will hang in the balance.” The season will also “explore today’s world of campaigning, smear tactics, debates, campaign finance and ‘fake news.’”
After the announcement, Sutherland released a statement.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play President Kirkman for Season 3 of Designated Survivor on Netflix,” he shared. “I believe this format will allow us to continue to delve deeply into storylines and issues concerning the American electorate that were not previously possible.”
“The continuation of the show via Netflix is a win-win for all involved,” executive producer Mark Gordon added. “The story of President Kirkman and those around him has not been fully told and we look forward to working with our new partner in continuing the show for a global audience.”
Last we saw, Kirkman announced his intention to run for president in the upcoming election. It was also revealed by Hannah Wells that Emily, Kirkman’s former chief of staff, hand-delivered a document to a Russian agent who was plotting to destroy the US. The cliffhanger was the most upsetting part of the cancellation — fans were never going to see what had actually happened! It’s unbelievable that Emily, Kirkman’s most trusted confidant, could be a traitor.
Designated Survivor struggled quite a bit in Season 2 as the show attempted to scale down from a high intensity thriller with weekly terrorist plots to a political drama like The West Wing.
Perhaps the move to Netflix can help the show succeed (and prevent yet another change in leadership). The constraints of network television have kept its stories censored, unlike the freedom provided by a streaming network.
The show will also take on topics related to the 2016 election, and I think ABC would have been stricter about this than Netflix. In order to capture the realities of an intense government environment, you need a total lack of censorship. Hopefully the show will go on to tackle dark topics network television wouldn’t have allowed.
Designated Survivor is expected to return in 2019 on Netflix.
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