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Now that reality TV and reality have merged into one sulphurous stew, I’m heading off to watch a fantasy. Madam Secretary is back for a new season of White House intrigue where the players are rational, literate, and thoughtful.

Shyeahright! Dream on!

Some people like fantasy at a grand scale. Game of Thrones. Outlander. My favorite fantasy shows tend to be smaller scale, with no CGI or casts of thousands. Give me a scenario with believable characters facing into impossible problems, and I’m in. Bloodline. Broadchurch. The Night Manager. The Americans.

For anybody who loved the fantasyland that was The West Wing, Tea Leoni’s performance as a brainy Secretary of State continues the tradition of TV as parallel universe. She can do a desk-lean fraught with meaning. She is a walking advertisement for Theory clothing.

There’s a lot of over-the-top stuff hidden beneath the premise, so that makes it even better.

How to watch

Seasons 1 and 2 available at Free 1-week trial (good for binge-watching). Season 3 began October 2. Also available on Netflix.



  • I’ve been watching Poldark, which has been a beautiful escape from – everything.

    • Isn’t he just the most beautiful thing? What a guilty pleasure!

    • Same here! But it’/ not on tonight because of the debate!

  • Perfectly timed recommendation for early morning knitting. Thanks.

  • Love that show. You can watch it on Netflix, too

  • I’ll have to give it a try. I recognized Tea Leoni in the photo, but thought it was from the film “Deep Impact.” Then I remembered that had her playing a reporter who interviews the president, not as a government official. (Still, a good movie with a great star-studded cast, in the tradition of “Airport” or “The Poseidon Adventure.”)

  • And there is Tim Daly too

  • This is one of my favorite shows and I forgot it started last week so I’ll go get caught up. Thanks for the reminder!

  • I feel frustrated because I don’t know how to access any of these things from today, and was unsuccessful in trying to access the suggestion from yesterday. I do have WiFi now, does that help?

  • Best cozy shrug pattern ever by Carol Sunday was inspired by a garment the Secretary wore on this show.

    • Do you happen to remember the name of the shrug? I checked out her patterns on Ravelry and I’m not sure what I’m looking for.

      • It is called Madam Secretary. I’m sabograd on ravelry, you can see it in my projects and find the pattern link if that helps.

    • I made one, and I love it!

  • Love this show! Defeat one of my favorites. I binge-watched the first two seasons on Netflix. Well done, in the vein of The West Wing (definitely another fave that I’ve been considering watching again on Netflix).

    • Definitely, not defeat

  • I was a huge West Wing fan so I look forward to Madame Secretary. I’m almost caught up to current with Veep so I need some new political humor. Reality is too much to take right now.

  • Seems like the right time to recommend the West Wing Weekly, a new-ish podcast that is smart, funny and pretty addictive. Actor Joshua Molina is one of the co-podcasters. Each episode is devoted to one episode of Aaron Sorkin’s show and mixes behind-the-scenes stories with interviews from the cast and from political operatives. An absolute treat for those of us who will never ever put The West Wing to rest.

    • Whoa, I had no idea. I’m scrambling for that right NOW!

  • WOW!
    This season begins with not only a scenario that is going to ensure we have our DVR’s at the ready, but more surprisingly a side of Secretary McCord that is long overdue.
    In the spirit of The West Wing…..Elizabeth McCord for President!!!

  • Madame Secretary is one of my all time favorites…close on the heels of West Wing and The Good Wife!

  • I’m hoping for The West Wing II with Leoni as POTUS.
    Does anyone have Sorkin’s phone number?

  • The show is dull and Tea makes it dull. It’s talky and boring, lacks suspense and intrigue. It needs something meaty and it misses the mark. I find Tea bland and she does nothing for the show. The West Wing was great because of personal issues in the white house with the staff but this show tries too hard with too much political talk. It tries really hard with a little anger here and there but it’s still dull. It doesn’t give me a sense of I Wanna watch it next week to see what else. By the end of the show, I don’t feel Ive watched anything that kept my interest. It needs a little more human interest, some jealousy, envy, back stabbing, etc. some secrets, something to make me say, oh shit and it doesn’t have that.

    • Then don’t watch it stephanie.

  • Shyeahright? Love the coinage!

  • I like it too. Except I don’t like that her hubby now has as big if not bigger role than she does. And to add insult it injury the change meant a much smaller role for Bebe Neuwirth. That never happens when it’s not a Madam. Alas.

    Congratulations on the launch!!!

  • tidbit.. Daly and Leoni are a couple IRL. apparently the relationship developed during this show. i love it. yea the writing can be a bit hokey and the plots are streamlined in the Extreme but hey its good political p*rn. TWW had a stellar cast and one of the best writers in tvland. MS does it best and is enjoyable.

    will have to look up that pattern!

    go Madam Secretary!

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