You an spot a David E. Kelley series a mile off: The Practice, Boston Legal and of course Ally McBeal. This is more of the same – a quirky legal drama with a heart of pure bleeding liberalism that it just can’t wait to share with you in painfully right-on plots. This show is no different, and the only new hook is that it’s lured movie star Kathy Bates to a regular television role as a senior patent lawyer who decides she’s had enough of being in a despised profession and quits to set up her own neighbourhood law practice – in a shoe store. It’s that painfully unfunny ‘quirky’ side that sucks any humour out of this ‘comedy’ drama. It’s interesting to hear that after being renewed for a second season in the US the show has been reworked to remove such fluff and nonsense and focus on what works. That’s undoubtedly Bates herself; and also Nate Corddry as her associate. Corddry was the best thing by far to come out of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and he’s quite brilliant here and the best thing in the show. Also unexpectedly effective (despite being a cookie-cutter Kelley ‘quirky’ character’) is Christopher McDonald as the absurd Tommy Jefferson: initially just a recurring guest star, he’s promoted to full cast in season 2. So, view this first season is really an extended pilot, full of mistakes and painfully poor at times but with enough flashes of quality from its cast to just make it somehow watchable all the same. Currently airing on Hallmark channel on Mondays at 10pm.
Part of a week of one-para reviews, designed to (a) put the “Short” back into Taking the Short View; (b) catch up on some past programmes I should have reviewed ages ago; and (c) get my post count back up!