A few hours before I had a chance to watch the first episode of the new ABC drama "Eli Stone" (10 p.m., Ch. 7), my friend Ellen Gray from the Philadelphia Daily News e-mailed me to ask, "Did you watch 'Eli McStone' yet?" Moments later, she followed up with, "Sorry, I meant 'Eli McBeal.'" And just like that, I thought the experience of watching the show -- about a lawyer who begins hallucinating musical performances by George Michael and thinks he himself might be a prophet -- would be ruined. How could I tune into something this high-concept and kooky and not view it as imitation David E. Kelley?To read the full thing, click here.
In fairness to Ellen, I would have to be either blind, deaf or in a different profession for the last decade to not instantly spot the similarities to "Ally McBeal" and the rest of the Kelley canon: lawyers taking unconventional cases and using unconventional tactics. The blurry line between eccentricity and madness. Did I mention the music?
"Eli Stone" does not, in fact, come from the mind of Kelley, but rather Greg Berlanti, one of the most prolific and reliable producers of TV drama today. (See "Everwood," "Brothers & Sisters" and "Dirty Sexy Money," not to mention the only season of "Dawson's Creek" that was worth watching.) Here, Berlanti seems to have fallen down a rabbit hole, beginning with a wackiness quotient that it usually takes a Kelley show months or even years to achieve -- and that's usually the point when those shows become unwatchable.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
The first of two columns today reviews ABC's "Eli Stone," which I didn't like: