Foundation series

Preview: Netflix Original Series “The Diplomat”

Netflix is ​​developing a new show, The diplomat, starring Keri Russell as a career foreign service officer appointed US Ambassador to the UK. I haven’t seen it, but in the spirit of the Washington Post (who just offered a glowing review of Black Panther II based solely on the two-minute trailer), here I offer a review of the series based on the only article I’ve read about it and previous shows in this genre.

First, some predictions. The show will be:

  • completely unrealistic;
  • more woker than an Oberlin gender studies major on Ritalin, and
  • canceled after one season, if not sooner.

Real life in an American embassy doesn’t make television compelling. It’s hour after hour of meetings, emails and written reports in Washington.

In 2002, Fox had a show called The American Embassy which only lasted four episodes. He was also a young career diplomat working at the United States Embassy in London. In the first episode, she met a CIA agent and a lord. In the second, the embassy was bombed. In reality, his first two years would have been spent drafting cables for his seven superiors to edit or interview visa applicants.

The CBS drama Madam Secretary, featuring Téa Leoni as Secretary of State, lasted longer. A sexy secretary we can buy off, but not her top executives – a close-knit group of single, diverse young hipsters. In real life, all you’ll find on the 7th floor of the State Department is a mix of Deep State curmudgeons and sharp-elbowed political appointees.

To make diplomatic life entertaining, reality must be emphasized. Expect to see Russell’s “Kate Wyler” go through her Senate confirmation in an episode or less, unlike real candidates who may wait months or years. And also expect to see it navigate London’s notorious traffic.

Awakening is assured because, as a career officer, Russell’s character will have gone through countless mandatory diversity and inclusion trainings at the Department of State. And don’t expect her to be tarred with unsubstantiated “racist and sexist behavior allegations,” like Trump-appointed ambassador Woody Johnson. If anything, she or her top aide will be victims of racist and sexist behavior, and they’ll have to spend an episode or two sorting out the bad guys.

The diplomatthe creator wrote for the west wing and Country. This gives us hope for a lively dialogue. But it also means we can expect storylines to be as much about social justice as they are about foreign relations. (Naturally, Kate Wyler’s backstory includes plenty of human rights work.) Climate change, LGB+ rights, and culture wars are sure to be plot themes. The diplomat The cast is bound to be younger, cuter, and far more diverse than any Foreign Service Office. Chances are there’s a trans or “non-binary” character.

Of course, it is possible that The diplomat won’t go all out on progressive Hollywood values. Unlike most major media companies (looking at you, Disney), Netflix isn’t knee-jerk caving in to pressure from the left. CEO Ted Sarandos has defended popular and lucrative comics like Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais from the woke canceled crowds. Perhaps Netflix values ​​the millions of viewers who watched their comedy specials more than the ‘dozens of protesters’ – among Netflix’s 12,000 employees – who briefly walked off the job last year. with a list of implausible demands.

After an incredible rise from mailed DVDs to king of streaming, Netflix has been experiencing some downturns of late. Having lost a million subscribers last quarter, they are slowing down the rain of money pouring out to creators to make shows in-house. The company also laid off 450 employees and introduced a new subscription tier with regular paid commercial breaks – or what we once called “TV”.

All this to say: companies’ patience will be thin. The diplomat will have to achieve high viewership figures early on to do so. Because the subject matter is less familiar to audiences than vampires, aliens, and superheroes, I predict it won’t last beyond a season.

Despite my dire predictions, I will be watching the show while it airs. American diplomats will be happy to see their little-known profession get some airtime, however short.