Did Designated Survivor season 3 change too much, or just enough?

Designated SurvivorWe’re a couple of days removed from Designated Survivor season 3 and since wrapping up our binge watch we’ve had a chance to see all sorts of thoughts from the internet. The response has been mixed to say the least. We’ve heard from viewers who loved the new version of the series, but also some who felt like the show was far from what they knew and appreciated from the show on ABC.

The biggest concern that we’ve heard seems to be content-related. The first two seasons were limited in terms of what they could do with language and content. This time around though, there were plenty of f-bombs to go around — in addition to other swear words. Is this too far of a departure? If you were expecting the show on Netflix (a series with no content concerns) to be a mirror of the ABC version then you may have been disappointed.

Yet, our counter here is that this season of the show was far more of a reflection of the real world. In Washington DC, people swear, and their words are worse than anything we hear on this show. People are aggressive and at times have a brutally sharp tongue, and what we found here was a far more realistic feel. The same goes for the diversity of people and of stories. Designated Survivor chose to use this season to shine a light on a lot of difficult social and political issues. These are things impacting real people — hence, the inclusion of all of the documentary footage all season long. The first two seasons were about watching Kiefer Sutherland try to save the world every season; this time around, it was more about the world trying to save the world. Sutherland may still play a hero, but it is so much more of a flawed hero than ever before.

So, from the vantage point of offering up a detailed, rich reflection of American politics, we don’t get the criticism of season 3.

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If there is a valid critique, you can argue that Designated Survivor didn’t do enough to address some of the exits from season 2 to season 3. This was a different cast with some new additions, and while we liked many of them, we understand the idea of “it’s not the same show anymore.” The writers should have done more to acknowledge these exits, but mostly in the form of references. The show can’t just explicitly name-drop every single season, mostly because it deserves an opportunity to be able to move forward. If this is the story it wants to tell, it needs to go ahead and tell it. Bringing new characters into the mix made sense given the campaign storyline.

We miss some of the old faces, but we’re embracing this new era. In terms of consistency and the level of performances, this is the best season of Designated Survivor to date.

For some more news on Designated Survivor…

Have you checked out some of our season 4 expectations yet? If not, take a look over here and we’ll have more renewal/cancellation news when it is announced.

Meanwhile, we want to hear from you — did you think that Designated Survivor season 3 changed too much, or ultimately did just enough? Be sure to share in the comments. (Photo: Netflix.)

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