Chal­leng­ing sto­ry­telling

How four scripted TV shows are adapt­ing to the Don­ald Trump era.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - By FRA­ZIER MOORE Madam Sec­re­tary Veep

THE Don­ald Trump pres­i­dency has forced a reck­on­ing for scripted TV shows that up to now have been trad­ing on Belt­way business-asusual for their char­ac­ters and sto­ries. Here are four vet­eran se­ries that, each in its own way, is adapt­ing to the new age of govern­ment ush­ered in by Trump:

Home­land

(pre­miered Oc­to­ber 2011) gives its au­di­ence a dis­turb­ing look at ter­ror­ism’s global threat as it roams the world with Car­rie Mathi­son (star Claire Danes), who at the se­ries’ start was a dogged CIA of­fi­cer and still keeps her hand in the spy game. Alex Gansa, an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and co-cre­ator, means for Home­land to be “a thought­ful and se­ri­ous-minded show about keep­ing Amer­ica safe.”

The writ­ing process is un­der­way for Sea­son Seven, which will air in early 2018, and “one of the ques­tions we’ve been ask­ing in the story room is, what re­spon­si­bil­ity does a show like Home­land have to com­ment on what we see hap­pen­ing in the world?”

The chal­lenge ahead (in Gansa’s words): “As we get deeper and deeper into this (Don­ald Trump) ad­min­is­tra­tion, we feel more and more of a re­spon­si­bil­ity to com­ment on it.”

House Of Cards

(pre­miered Fe­bru­ary 2013) is led by Frank Un­der­wood, who has dis­played his mas­tery of Machi­avel­lian pol­i­tics as House ma­jor­ity whip, vice pres­i­dent and then the na­tion’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

As played by Kevin Spacey, he seems able and will­ing to do any­thing for power.

The chal­lenge ahead for House Of Cards: how to co-ex­ist with the blend of news and en­ter­tain­ment that helped usher in the Trump pres­i­dency, ac­cord­ing to showrun­ner Frank Pugliese. With ca­ble news, in par­tic­u­lar, “it’s al­most like they’ve be­come writ­ers rooms them­selves. They talk about pol­i­tics like it’s a TV show. So in a strange way, the big­gest com­pe­ti­tion for us isn’t other TV shows, it’s com­pet­ing with 24-hour news and how they talk about the pres­i­dency.”

(pre­miered September 2014) is a drama that has al­ways fo­cused on do­ing the right thing as ex­em­pli­fied by cando Sec­re­tary of State Elizabeth McCord (se­ries star Tea Leoni). While the ac­tion comes com­plete with dis­putes and clashes (within

Madam Sec­re­tary

the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Con­rad Dal­ton as well as glob­ally), the se­ries con­cen­trates on how the sausage of diplo­macy is made while demon­strat­ing how rea­son­able peo­ple can make it not just tasty but even nu­tri­tious.

The chal­lenge ahead for Madam Sec­re­tary: how to stick to this lofty ideal with­out seem­ing to be lost in fan­tasy.

Veep

(pre­miered April 2012) is rid­ing high with Selina Meyer’s prat­fall-prone post-pres­i­dency.

As showrun­ner David Man­del notes, her ex­ile from power pro­vides a handy arm’s-length view of Wash­ing­ton’s po­lit­i­cal im­broglios – and a fresh way for the show to har­vest laughs. But he draws a dis­tinc­tion be­tween his make-be­lieve ex-pres­i­dent (played by Ju­lia Louis- Drey­fus) and the real-life White House oc­cu­pant. Meyer, for all her glo­ri­ous mis­steps, is a sea­soned politi­cian. She re­mains so even now, as a hi­lar­i­ously frus­trated out­sider.

The chal­lenge ahead for Veep: how to keep Selina Meyer, as a sea­soned laugh­ing­stock, from be­ing up­staged by cur­rent Belt­way power bro­kers. – AP

Home­land

House Of Cards

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