Wednesday, March 30, 2011
First season of Harry's Law.
It's not exactly a secret that I'm a fan of Harry's Law's creator David E. Kelley. After all, he's the guy behind shows like Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally Mcbeal, Boston Public and Boston Legal.
Over the years I've been rather religious when it comes to watching his shows. His best shows (Picket Fences being probably the best) are about soul, substance and entertainment.
Also, about meaning, significance and relevance.
When Kelley brings his A-game, he's one of the best writers that has ever existed. On the other hand, when he doesn't deliver - and to be honest, that too has happened many times - his writing is pretty weak. Girls Club, Wedding Bells, Snoops..., uh oh.
The first season of Harry's Law?
Well, it was okay, but unfortunately, not consistent enough. There were parts that worked very well: Kathy Bates, Paul Mccrane, Christopher Mcdonald and Nate Cordry. The rest of the characters, unfortunately, didn't.
The shoe store stuff didn't work either and one can hope that they move to another place in season two. This original setting was meant to provide an underdog feel to the show, but in the end it felt pretty forced and contrived.
What was good about the show, not surprisingly, was the courtroom stuff. There's something genuinely great about the way Kelley writes these scenes. Somehow he manages to spellbind the audience and make it feel like we're living and taking part in those decisions.
That's because Kelley, like his mentor Steven Bochco, go with idea that the we (the audience) are not idiots and the our judgement matters. When you watch Harry's Law, it clearly shows.
But that doesn't mean that it's easy to write that well. For example, let's take a look at this another lawyer show, The Good Wife.
The Good Wife has cases that aren't really interesting or clever. The characters are bland and the dialogue is almost ridiculously forced. In the end, there's no real debate about the issues. I'm personally still having nightmares about that Michael J. Fox episode. It was that bad.
But thankfully we have our Kelley and if we do get a second season for Harry's Law, I just hope that he figures out what didn't work and fixes those problems. If that happens, it's going to be all good.
Oh, and here's a recent interview of him by the way: