The First Lady: Season 1

The First Lady: Season 1

Poster for The First Lady: Season 1

Set in the East Wing of the White House, this based-on-fact series looks at American presidencies from the perspectives of the First Ladies. The star-studded cast includes Viola Davis (playing Michelle Obama), Michelle Pfeiffer (as Betty Ford), Gillian Anderson (Eleanor Roosevelt), and Aaron Eckhart (Gerald Ford).

2022Rating: TV-MAUSALionsgate Television, Showtime Networks, JuVee Productions
DramaTrue Story & Biography

Episodes

EPISODE 1.1

that white house

After Franklin’s sudden polio diagnosis, Eleanor Roosevelt commits to enabling... More his political future despite pressure from her mother-in-law, Sara. As the Watergate scandal unfolds, Betty Ford unexpectedly becomes Second Lady upon Jerry’s nomination as Vice President and she clashes with his staff over her newly public role. Following the historic 2008 election, Michelle Obama wrestles with the expectations and dangers that Barack and their children face as the first Black family to live in the White House.

EPISODE 1.2

voices carry

Moved by the toll the Great Depression has taken on... More the country, Eleanor presses Franklin to act more boldly and lobbies for an unprecedented formal position in the administration while helping craft his inaugural address. After Nixon’s resignation, Jerry assumes the presidency and Betty becomes First Lady days before an important state dinner, which Jerry's staff try to cancel. In the days leading up to Barack’s inauguration, Michelle faces opposition from members of his transition team who plan to diminish her role.

EPISODE 1.3

please allow me

Young Eleanor reluctantly cuts short her progressive education in London... More to make her dreaded societal debut as a member of New York’s prestigious Roosevelt family, which includes her ambitious cousin, Franklin. In Michigan, Young Betty, trapped in an abusive marriage, finds herself pursued by hotshot lawyer Jerry. As she rises the ranks at a Chicago law firm, Young Michelle gets to know an idealistic and politically inclined summer intern named Barack.

EPISODE 1.4

cracked pot

Years before first entering the White House, Eleanor discovers Franklin’s... More marital indiscretions, which push her to socialize with more independent, politically active women in the salons of New York City. While Jerry rises through the ranks in Congress, a stubborn shoulder injury drives Betty to seek help from a doctor, who prescribes addictive pain medication. After toddler Sasha is rushed to the hospital with meningitis, Michelle vows to hold Chicago’s inadequate healthcare system to task by working to improve it from the inside.

EPISODE 1.5

see saw

Frustrated by the male dominated world of media and politics,... More Eleanor holds the White House’s first all-female press conference and grows closer to journalist Lorena “Hick” Hickock. Betty’s public announcement of her breast cancer diagnosis shifts opinion of the Ford Administration away from Jerry’s controversial pardon of Nixon and makes Betty a popular figure among American women. After Barack gets clobbered in the midterms, Michelle launches a new healthy school lunch program, which prompts a stalled Congress to enact new legislation.

EPISODE 1.6

shout out

Eleanor moves Hick into an adjacent bedroom in the White... More House while Franklin has the FBI surveil her actions. Inspired by her growing influence and popularity, Betty steers a White House campaign office to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which aggravates Jerry’s staff who worry about a conservative challenge for the upcoming Republican Party presidential nomination. Michelle pushes Barack to take a firm moral stand in favor of marriage equality over his political concerns about losing re-election.

EPISODE 1.7

nadir

After African-American opera singer Marian Anderson is banned from performing... More for the Daughters of the American Revolution, Eleanor leaves the group and doubles down on her efforts to confront racism. Betty’s popularity helps Jerry secure the Republican nomination for re-election, but her growing problems with addiction threaten the family and her health. After gun violence tragedies hit both the national stage and her own childhood neighborhood, Michelle grieves with Barack and advocates for legislative action.

EPISODE 1.8

punch perfect

Dissatisfied with Franklin’s complacency over growing international atrocities in Europe,... More Eleanor forces his hand to assist Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. Having retired to Palm Springs, Jerry plans to keep active across the country, which leaves Betty to seek out new party companions at home. Despite Barack’s political hesitations, Michelle refuses to stay quiet on racially driven violence any longer while writing her commencement address for Tuskegee University.

EPISODE 1.9

rift

As Franklin helms the United States’ entry into World War... More II, Eleanor patriotically rallies the country as First Lady, which leaves Hick neglected on the sidelines. After Betty’s spiraling addiction reaches a breaking point, Jerry intervenes with the help of family and friends. When Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood tape ignites a national debate during the 2016 presidential campaign, Michelle joins Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail to advocate for the dignity of American women.

EPISODE 1.10

victory dance

Eleanor receives a last gift from an ailing Franklin: the... More charter for the League of Nations, a blueprint for their shared lifelong dream of world peace. Betty overcomes vulnerable hurdles in rehab and, with Jerry’s support, vows to build a new clinic to help others with addiction problems. Barack and Michelle solemnly prepare to leave the White House, disappointed with the incoming administration but determined to continue making a difference in the world after leaving office. Season finale.

The First Lady: Season 1 | Reviews

41%44 reviews

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

All reviews on Rotten Tomatoes
The Guardian

The Guardian

Star-studded series is a third-rate disappointment.

Full review
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

Has little to offer that feels truly, meaningfully “real.”

Full review
The Washington Post

The Washington Post

Deeply — and dispiritingly — conventional.

Full review
A.V. Club

A.V. Club

Starts to show fatigue, like three highly padded made-for-TV movies spliced together.

Full review

The First Lady: Season 1 | Release Details

The First Lady: Season 1 is available to stream in New Zealand now on Neon.