Yeah, so I'm a week behind on this one. But I enjoyed it for what it was: squarely network political drama.
Let's all take a moment to appreciate the utter ridiculousness of the fundamental plot. Kiefer Sutherland plays Tom Kirkman, a low-level (Housing and Urban Development, I think it was?) Cabinet member who gets tossed into a safe room during, I dunno, the State of the Union or something. He's the titular "designated survivor" in case anything should happen to the rest of the Cabinet and Congress and whatnot. And of course something does happen, leaving Kirkman as acting President.
It's all played very straight, but if you think about it too much you'll see it's pretty silly.
Still, Kiefer does a great job as a very un-Jack Bauer character thrown into a Jack Bauer situation.
I do wonder if there is/was something going on between him and that Rhodes chick, though.
Kal Penn is on hand as a speech writer who has no faith in Kirkman's abilities. And of course there is a shady, warmongering general plotting to get rid of Kirkman because clearly Kirkman has no ability to lead (based on the whole hour or so he's been in charge and his refusal to bomb everybody).
I feel like there would surely be an emergency election or something, right? But I don't know enough about how our system works to be sure, and Designated Survivor is banking on most people not knowing much either. It's one of those shows that does just enough to skirt believability. Maybe the whole election thing will come up later. When you're in scramble mode after a major attack, who has time to run for president?
Overall, I found the show amusing and entertaining, which is all I really wanted from it to begin with. I'll keep watching.