Political Animals - USA Miniseries Airing From July 15, 2012
- Sigourney Weaver as Elaine Barrish - the recently divorced Secretary of State and former First Lady who fights various political opponents.
- Carla Gugino as Susan Berg - a reporter who has spent much time trying to undermine Elaine, but eventually becomes an unlikely ally.
- James Wolk as Douglas Hammond - Elaine's son, Chief of Staff, and T.J.'s twin brother
- Sebastian Stan as Thomas (T. J.) Hammond - Elaine's openly gay son, and Douglas' twin brother.
- Brittany Ishibashi as Anne Ogami - Doug's fiancée.
- Ellen Burstyn as Margaret Barrish - Elaine's mother and a former showgirl in Las Vegas.
- Ciarán Hinds as Bud Hammond - the former president and governor of North Carolina, and Elaine's ex-husband.
- Adrian Pasdar as Paul Garcetti - he current president who defeated Elaine in the presidential primaries but later appointed her Secretary of State. He is described as "a smart man who uses every resource at his disposal to his advantage".
- Dylan Baker as Fred Collier - the two-faced vice president who is hiding some secrets.
Overview: Sigourney Weaver portrays Elaine Barrish, a divorced former First Lady and Governor of Illinois, as well as the current Secretary of State. While the lead character does have some similarities to Hillary Clinton, Weaver has said in interviews that the show is "very much about families who have been in the White House and the price they've paid for being in the White House and the fact that families who have been in the White House often try to get back in the White House or continue to try and get in the White House. Elaine Barrish's husband Bud was a popular President of the United States during the 1990s despite his extramarital affairs. After leaving the White House, Elaine Barrish was elected Governor of Illinois and ran for the Democratic nomination but lost to Paul Garcetti. The night Barrish conceded the nomination, she asked her husband for a divorce. Two years later, as Garcetti's Secretary of State, Barrish deals with State Department issues while trying to keep her family together.
Political Animals received "generally favorable" reviews based on an aggregate score of 64/100 from 31 critics on Metacritic.Rob Brunner of Entertainment Weekly called the series a "well-acted, entertainingly soapy drama" that "offers a fun and credible look at the complicated intersection of love, gender, and politics."The Los Angeles Times' Robert Lloyd called the series "a high-class, relatively naturalistic, behind-closed-doors soap opera that plays in fairly obvious yet also fairly affecting ways with the space between public face and private pain and is made highly watchable by an excellent cast that finds the human among the hokum."Alan Sepinwall of HitFix stated: "with a cast this good, and with so many potentially juicy conflicts already in play, I'm going to take a more optimistic point of view than Elaine Barrish might."
However, there were some detractors. Linda Stasi of the New York Post simply stated: "The actors are great, but the show isn't."The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman commented: "what Animals is trying to do is take The West Wing and turn it into Dallas. And if you don't like Dallas, that can be a real letdown." Verne Gay of Newsday was the harshest critic, calling the series "stupendously silly," adding "it's a clanking, clattering collection of collagenous clinkers — of dialogue so inept, of acting performances so preposterous, of plot points so cliched that the only question worth posing is why someone of Weaver's stature would be caught anywhere near a turkey like this."
"Variety calls it a modest debut, but that seems gentle considering that repeats of NCIS and Law & Order: SVU routinely perform better that.
Granted Political Animals aired at 10pm which is one of the tougher primetime hours, but by contrast last Thursday night Suits averaged 3.7 million and a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating at 10pm. While the series was billed as a six-part miniseries, it was always assumed there could be another season if it did well in the ratings. That seems less likely now."