The 21st Century franchise has been going for a decade now but may well have jumped the shark with this latest episode. The series started really well with joyous occasions followed by dark twists which set up the drama for the series but it has meandered at times. It was a stroke of genius for the producers to hire Aaron Sorkin to write 2008, but they really should have kept him on because the next episode didn’t follow through on what had been set up. The character of Sarah Palin, introduced in a supporting role in 2008, was kept on to replace George W Bush as the lovable nincompoop. That was fine as comic relief but the expanded role has only highlighted what a one-dimensional character she is. She adds nothing to the plot and needs to be written out. Similarly, the Barack Obama character is barely recognisable from the one that was introduced two years ago. It’s as if the writers haven’t even watched the previous installments.
In a seemingly desperate attempt to maintain interest, they have introduced a woman as Australian prime minister. Although this is supposed to be a surprise twist, the way in which they have her take the top job is utterly clichéd. If they had really wanted to be brave, they would have had her win the election first rather than replacing a flagging party leader like all the previous times. The attempt to introduce new characters after the election ultimately goes nowhere.
All of these shortcomings pale in comparison to the fanciful idea of giving Britain a coalition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. In fairness, no-one could accuse them of being predictable, but the reason it’s unpredictable because it’s just so implausible. The producers are going to have to go a long way to regain the credibility lost in that subplot.
This DVD is not a dead loss though. By far the most interesting aspect is the behind-the-scenes documentary made by freelance director Julian Assange. What it presents goes some way to explaining things that happened in previous episodes but sadly does not do anything to make 2010 make any more sense.
2010 rates 2 stars. Wait until they put it in the weekly section.