CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
DVD Review: Frustrating USA Mini-Series ‘Political Animals’
CHICAGO – USA’s mini-series “Political Animals” should have been one of the TV events of 2012. Instead it was just one of its biggest disappointments. That cast! That subject! In a political, election season! Zzzzzzz. Sadly, the creators of “Political Animals” delivered a program more like “Dallas” than “The West Wing” and viewers tuned out to the degree that the potential second season was canned. Now we can see what went wrong in one lackluster DVD set.
Explain something to me. I can stream “Political Animals” in HD with my Netflix account but Warner Bros. chooses not to release it on Blu-ray. So if I like the program enough to own it, I have to own it in a video quality sub-standard to what people are watching when they stumble upon it in their Netflix queue. That’s ridiculous. Every program in 2013 should be available in the same HD quality as when they first aired.
As for the show itself, there are still performances to like here, most notably Emmy nominees Sigourney Weaver & Ellen Burstyn (and shoulda-been-nominated Ciaran Hinds) but the writing still suffers every time the show threatens to get interesting. The creators of “Political Animals” are more interested in how their Bill Clinton-esque character screws around the political wheelings & dealings that allowed it to happen and even encourages such behavior. A fictional dissection of the way Bill & Hilary Clinton have become two of the most important political figures of the last half-century would have been dramatically incredible but “Political Animals” chooses the sudsy over the serious. True fans of politics will be annoyed by the falsity of the narrative. I know I was. And given the shoddy, DVD-only treatment, I’m guessing someone at Warner Bros. was too.
Political Animals was released on DVD on August 6, 2013
Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Politicians are a breed of their own, striving to serve their country while their personal dramas play out under the media spotlight’s glare. Golden Globe award winner Sigourney Weaver stars as Elaine Barrish Hammond, a former first lady and current Secretary of State, who struggles to keep her family together as she deflects probing questions from prize-winning journalist Susan Berg (Carla Gugino). While resolving international crises alongside manipulative colleagues and strategizing her own Oval Office bid, Elaine must also cope with her brilliant ex-husband’s philandering exploits and her twin sons’ struggles with drugs and guilt. Watch this captivating First Family weather the all-too-real dynamics of political and personal life with grit, intelligence, and vulnerable honesty in all 6 provocative episodes of Political Animals: The Complete Series.
o Unaired Scenes