• Network: USA
  • Series Premiere Date: Jul 15, 2012
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 33
  2. Negative: 2 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Aug 27, 2012
    100
    Fast-paced, darkly funny and scathingly sharp, Political Animals seamlessly blends family drama with real-world issues, including an early crisis in the Middle East.
  2. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Jul 5, 2012
    88
    The show's tone [is] vulgar, jolly and winning. [16 Jul 2012, p.39]
  3. Reviewed by: Rob Brunner
    Jul 12, 2012
    83
    Political Animals' rich characters and complicated relationships seem like they'd need six seasons to develop.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Jul 16, 2012
    80
    Political Animals can be slightly murky when it comes to invoking issues and ideologies. But when it comes to the microlevel of politics, the misdirection and machinations politicians employ to satisfy their own ambitions and thwart those of others, Political Animals is peerless.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jul 13, 2012
    80
    [Political Animals is] a high-class, relatively naturalistic, behind-closed-doors soap opera that plays in fairly obvious yet also fairly affecting ways with the space between public face and private pain and is made highly watchable by an excellent cast that finds the human among the hokum.
  6. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jul 13, 2012
    80
    Political Animals is a welcome escape from the current campaign grind, leaving us already hoping for a second term.
  7. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jul 13, 2012
    80
    The dialogue can be crisp, sharp and witty, particularly among colleagues in both the White House and at the Globe.
  8. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Jul 12, 2012
    80
    Political Animals hews fairly closely to the USA tone and smartly employs any number of light-drama conventions, thus it can likely be enjoyed simply as an entertainment
  9. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jul 12, 2012
    80
    Political Animals verges right up to the edge of ludicrous with the right combination of salty-sweet and silly-smart.
  10. Fortunately, as the saga unfolds, it delves into fresher territory, and Political Animals becomes an intriguing, even occasionally humorous, family soap opera.
  11. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jul 11, 2012
    75
    With a cast this good, and with so many potentially juicy conflicts already in play, I'm going to take a more optimistic point of view than Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver) might.
  12. Reviewed by: Leigh H. Edwards
    Jul 16, 2012
    70
    It's more interesting when Elaine takes aim at the easy-target man's world she inhabits.
  13. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Jul 13, 2012
    70
    There are just enough witty lines and interesting choices, such as in the editing of the bulimia scene, to create fleeting sensations that all is not dross.
  14. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jul 13, 2012
    70
    This half-comic, half-serious soap opera à clef could be awful, but instead it is surprisingly fun.
  15. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Jul 13, 2012
    70
    A slapdash, invigorating, flawed-but-delectable mini-series with a premise of brass balls.
  16. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Jul 12, 2012
    70
    What distinguishes the good ones are colorful performances, scandalous twists, and the age-old reminder that money and power can't buy love--all of which Political Animals has.
  17. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Jul 12, 2012
    70
    Political Animals crams elements of conventional TV fare into a blender and makes something that is wildly different and kind of liberating.
  18. Reviewed by: Daniel Goldberg
    Aug 13, 2012
    63
    If you found the parallel universe in Lost perplexing, Political Animals's sheer optimism might leave you utterly baffled. Yet Weaver's grounding performance goes beyond maternal warmth and shrewdness, because Barrish doesn't just see the best in people; she demands it.
  19. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jul 12, 2012
    63
    It is nowhere near as sharp or as on-point as it needs to be.
  20. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jul 16, 2012
    60
    Think the Clintons meet "Dallas" in D.C. And that, for six episodes, may be enough.
  21. 60
    Too much of Political Animals feels like good-enough-for-government-work drama, and I can't help believing it would have been more compelling, maybe genuinely subversive, if it had replaced some of the scenes that attack the show's main themes head-on with pick-axes, and substituted ones that showed the female characters simply doing their jobs, commanding more than reluctant respect from men.
  22. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Jul 13, 2012
    60
    Political Animals may be super-fun, but it is also superficial.
  23. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jul 12, 2012
    60
    Political Animals, an inconsistent, sometimes ludicrous, but also juicily fun political soap, is about something that ultimately makes for better TV: the idea of Hillary Clinton.
  24. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jul 12, 2012
    60
    No one associated with Political Animals needs to hide under the covers, exactly, but nothing here qualifies as a game-changer, either.
  25. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jul 12, 2012
    58
    Sunday's 90-minute premiere makes for an unintended hoot, both ridiculous and often ridiculously watchable.
  26. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Jul 12, 2012
    50
    The actors are great, but the show isn't.
  27. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jul 12, 2012
    50
    It's not a Comedy Central spoof, but it skews ridiculously close to one.
  28. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jul 12, 2012
    50
    This is more soap opera than satire, an intermittently entertaining but not exactly subtle look at the private and public lives of one extremely colorful family.
  29. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jul 11, 2012
    50
    What Animals is trying to do is take The West Wing and turn it into Dallas. And if you don't like Dallas, that can be a real letdown.
  30. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Jul 16, 2012
    40
    It would have been better served by focusing on the first word in its title, not the second.
  31. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jul 13, 2012
    40
    While it's hard to imagine that the show won't continue if it's a hit, Sunday's premiere marks an inauspicious debut that ignores the sound advice given to all writers: show, don't tell.
  32. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Jul 12, 2012
    25
    it's a clanking, clattering collection of collagenous clinkers--of dialogue so inept, of acting performances so preposterous, of plot points so cliched that the only question worth posing is why someone of Weaver's stature would be caught anywhere near a turkey like this.
  33. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jul 10, 2012
    25
    Wanting soap and dirt--a lot of dirt--he [creator Greg Berlanti] has fashioned something that's watchable only if you completely divorce it from the realm of credibility.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 47 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 5 out of 18
  1. Jul 30, 2012
    8
    What a wonderful cast. Greg Berlanti's new show is full of strong, flawed characters who initially engender strong dislike but tend to win us over anyway. Sigourney plays an intelligent, often misunderstood, woman whose fatal weakness (and maybe also strength, is her ex-husband and ex-President played by Ciaran Hinds). Just enjoyed the third episode. What a treat seeing the mother-daughter banter between Ellen Burstyn and Sigourney. Vanessa Redgrave has such a strong presence as Sigourney's mentor. Political Animals is developing well and promises further meshing of human bravery, frailty and convictions! Full Review »
  2. Jul 18, 2012
    10
    Signorney was outstanding-writing quick and witty-I loved every second and can't wait for the next episode-definitely on my do-not-miss (or do-DVR) list! Full Review »
  3. Jul 17, 2012
    10
    Sigourney Weaver is BRILLIANT on Political Animals! Carla Gugino, Dan Futterman and Ellen Burstyn all deliver excellent performances as well. Siqourney is just so endlessly watchable and this character allows her to show a range of emotion rarely afforded to a woman. She delivers this INCREDIBLE speech toward the end of the first episode that literally made me applaud my television. Go Sigourney! Full Review »