Can we retitle this show My Damn Secretary?  Because it sure looked like Keith Carradine was thinking that more than once during the opening episode.

This show snuck up on me.  I had no idea it was in production for the new season.  I never heard of it until two or three days before it premiered.  And then I missed the premiere, so I had to catch it afterwards.

Madam Secretary would probably be a lot more compelling if we hadn’t already had several women serve as Secretary of State.

I like Téa Leoni enough to watch her in almost anything.  I like Keith Carradine.  I liked Tim Daly in Wings.  And I absolutely adore Željko Ivanek (although he will always be Danvers to me).  William Sadler, sadly, was totally wasted here.

Since we know Leoni is going to end up in office, I was hoping the show would start by showing us her first day in office.  Nope.  Let’s back up even further than that and show us how she gets the job.  Okay, that could be intriguing, we can see how she and her family cope with the sudden uprooting and massive changes in their lives.  We could have some nice family drama that plays out over several weeks worth of episodes, as she winds up her university work, works her way through confirmation hearings and then starts her position.

Nope.  “Two months later.”  WTF?!?  I feel cheated.

Instead we get thrown into a stoopid hostage crisis with one side dish of clichéd marital drama issues and a second side of conspiratorial stoopidity.  Sigh.  And did they deliberately make one of her staff members look suspiciously similar to Ollie from The Thick Of It?

The political drama feels way too clichéd — it’s the Maruchan ramen of political drama.  Another international hostage situation.  Yawn.  At least we had characters inside the show itself calling the situation stoopid.  Riddle me this: why is it that the BBC felt compelled to edit a non-hostage-situation beheading (that was fundamentally played for a laugh) out of Doctor Who because of current international hostage situations, but CBS does not feel compelled to delay broadcasting this?  I remember back in the day when the BBC had bigger balls than any American network.  Just take a look at the fourth series finale of Blake’s 7.  Or sit down and compare ABC’s The Day After to the BBC’s Threads.

The family drama is even worse.  Leoni and Daly have a smidgen of believable chemistry, but the two kids are annoying enough that I want THEM to run off to Syria and get captured by an Islamic hostage-taking group.  Honestly, when Daly turned up in Leoni’s office at the end, I was hoping beyond hope that he was there to tell her he wanted a divorce and was going to take the kids back to live their old lives on their old farm.  Nope.  Instead, it’s the writers letting the other shoe drop on a completely unnecessary and really stoopid sounding conspiracy aspect that WE DO NOT NEED here in order to tell good realistic stories about these characters.

Like I said, I like Téa Leoni enough to watch her in almost anything.  But not this.