Sunday night’s season finale cliffhanger left many fans wondering about the future of Political Animals. [Picture courtesy of USA Network]. The show started out as a one shot miniseries, but many view the finale as more of a cliffhanger than a definitive ending. If these dreams come true, fans will get to see how Elaine forges her run for the White House in the middle of an interim presidency crisis. Here are 5 more things that I believe should be in Season 2:
1) 2012 Presidential Election References:
The upcoming events and media shenanigans from Obama vs. Romney are going to be ripe for jokes and plots ripped from the headlines. The writers don’t have to wait too long for material; controversies in the Obama and Romney camps are happening as I type.
2) Political Perspective Flip:
In Political Animals’ version of modern American history, it seems like all Democrats, all the time. The only major Republican character this season was known more for his personal life than his political life. Who is the Republican version of the Hammonds in the show’s universe? If creating an entire alter ego family is too much, then at least add a few new Republican characters so the audience can see the other side.
3) Journalism Meta:
There’s a lot more underneath the surface to Susan and Georgia’s arguments than many realize. Newspapers are losing readers every day to the internet. Bloggers like Georgia are beginning to overshadow established reporters in newspapers and magazines. The line between legitimate reporting and gossip are too often blurred. Questions related to media ethics definitely deserve more attention in the next season.
4) More Character Development
Although PA is an ensemble show, some characters didn’t have enough time to shine. Annie has existed only as Douglas’s fiancé/wife. The writers avoided the pitfall of writing token diversity characters. However, next season should feature more Annie reacting to the madness her husband and in-laws are involved in. Margaret Barrish played the prefect snarky senior citizen. She’s more than just a walking internet meme. The parallel between her struggles with alcohol and TJ’s drug addiction are begging to be explored in further detail. Also, it is still not clear if Margaret went beyond emotional support of Elaine’s previous presidential run. Even the characters we have seen the most of this season (Elaine, Bud, T.J. and, Douglas) could do with some extra insight.
5) Emmy Bait
Political Animals mixes Sorkin-esque gritty Washington drama and the traditional soap opera. Some scenes however tip the balance too far into melodramatic territory. If the balance is improved upon or steadily maintained, positive critical attention will result. Some critics and awards voters are already biased against summer scripted programming, and the writers shouldn’t give these people any more weight for their line of reasoning. It is way too early to tell if Political Animals will qualify for future awards, but I already see nomination potential. Sigourney Weaver’s compelling portrayal of Elaine Barrish Hammond could easily be a contender in the miniseries/drama category. (Note her inclusion in my dream Emmy ballot post.) Nominations in writing, directing, and supporting actor/actress categories are also possible.
Political Animals has a lot of room for development. I hope the excitement over the series causes production on a second season to start soon.
This post which was mostly my own opinions gained over 10,000 page views due to being featured on a CNN subsection and on USA Network social media. For months before the official cancellation notice, it was the #1 item on Google when one searched “political animals season 2″. Originally posted August 22, 2012.