I just can't. My brain in always running 'in the background' to use a computer phrase. Most times it pops up and says "Oh, come ON" and I can shush it and get on with watching the movie or TV show or whatever. I compensate by thinking of it as being an 'informed' viewer, a comfortable lie.
But it's a problem when something key, something central to the very core or concept of a show, shouts REAL LOUD to my brain saying "shut up, roll with it, it won't matter" and it spoils the entire viewing experience for me.
Case in point: ABC's new political conspiracy thriller 'Designated Survivor'. Kiefer Sutherland (looking less and less like his father every day) stars: Series synopsis from the ABC site: "A low-level Cabinet member becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession."
OK, good. I can roll with that. I'm watching, Sutherland is trying to not be Jack Bauer, he's meant to be a nerd, a wonk, a nothing that is supposed to grow into the job of President of the United States (so I assume). I'm watcing the opening and already I'm getting these odd 'in your face' hints that Things Are Not As They Seem and the moment hits, there is an explosion at the Captiol building and as above, everyone is wiped out.
Now an aside, and about my mind always being 'on'. I'm very big on the Cold War. Kinda almost obsessed about it, given I was alive during the really tense times. I've been collecting books about various aspects of the times, building a library, I love that stuff. If I could I'd make a trip out to Greenbrier in West Virginia and visit the congressional bunker. I want my own radiation counter. blah blah. :)
So all that reading, I've gotten pretty familiar with the concept of 'Continuity of Government'. It's more than the Post Office has postcards for you to fill out in case your city is nuked and need to have your mail forwarded (that's a real thing. Dunno if they have them still but that was considered very important back in the '60s), it's all about keeping the President (and/or other designated individuals) safe in times of extreme danger. I reccomend 'The Day After World War III' by Edward Zuckerman very highly as a decent primer on CoG and all that.
Now back to the show. The Capitol bulding has had an explosion. It's unknown if it was internal or external in cause but it was big enough to knock a big hole in the Capitol Dome. It SEEMS implied that it was an internal explosion, something akin to the ' Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot' in England 1606. But we don't know for sure in the course of the first episode. Big boom.
The Secret Service moves in, grabs Sutherland and his wife from their secure location (which was within a couple of miles of the Captiol building. maybe closer. This is another problem but onward, alarms aren't ringing yet), and...
Drives him to the White House.
*DING DING DING DING BRAIN TO STEVE WTF MAN THAT IS NOT POLICY!!!*
See, here's the deal. The Captiol has exploded. It's unknown if there are other bombs planted, or if there is a drone launching missiles or if a nuclear strike is next, we don't know. If the Captiol was compromised, it's possible the White House is in danger.
You DO NOT take the presumptive President of the U.S. to the heart of danger. You spirit him away to Mount Weather or Camp David or Andrews AFB (this is covered in detail in Chapter 3 of the book mentioned above), and swear him in.
Nope. Off to the White House, sworn in, shown the special super duper command center situation room (the real one looks as low end as any cheap hotel banquet room) and right away, the other shoe drops as everyone IGNORES him and goes about the business of getting ready to attack...I guess 'dem danged mooslims' from all that's said, implied and inferrred.
Just no. It doesn't WORK that way. It really doesn't. but it has to show the 'crazy general' who may or may not be part of a coup attempt to take over the government.
And so it goes. I predict another stock standard Hollywood TV series, complete with "how does nobody notice the shifty crap that person is pulling" and the "OH NOEZ THAT FRIEND TURNED OUT TO BE IN ON IT!!" moment.
I was hoping for something intelligent and smart, something in the 'Seven Days in May' mode. Guess not. Ho Hum.
ETA: Noted on Twitter (which I will read sometimes but I will not join), a friend commented that sometimes various agencies will demand changes in things in order to not give away secrets and stuff. So we're NEVER going to see, for example, the real 'football' and how it works* and stuff like that. I assume my friend is telling me that the Secret Service put the kibosh on ferrying Sutherland off to Mount Weather and had his original 'secure location' be within eyesight of the Capitol building instead of outside of the so-called 'safe zone', a theoretical ring around Washington D.C. outside of the anticipated blast zone from a nuclear attack. But our hero may not have gone to Mount Weather or Camp David, he may have been driven to Andrews AFB and put on 'Kneecap', the National Emergency Command Post, a highly modified 747 (not the same as Air Force One, but of course once the President is on board that plane is called Air Force One). Then he would be flown to an undisclosed location, one of at least 80 across the USA, until it was known that D.C. was safe. Now, if Sutherland had insisted he be TAKEN to the White House to show confidence and reassure the public, THAT would have made sense but that's not the 'take charge' character he's playing in this.
All this stuff is known. It's old news. It's in books and stuff. I suspect instead the reason for not making a trip to Virginia was for budget, they didn't want to have to shoot exteriors and interiors that would have only one use, but the White House and it's sooper dooper Space Age (and unrealistic as all get out) command center would get lots of screen time.
*The 'football' is really nothing cool at all. Unless there's been major changes it's nothing but a briefcase containing a procedure manual for the Emergency Broadcast System, a card with identification codes (for nuclear strike options, among others), a list of secret 'Presidential Emergency Facilities' and the Black Book, a loose leaf notebook of Soviet (and now others) nuclear weapons, likely attack patterns and a menu, printed in red, of American retaliatory options. No flashy lights or fancy computer stuff.