What to say if you liked it
Glossy US legal drama – David E Kelley’s spin-off from The Practice – full of beautiful people (and William Shatner) with a casebook that mixed mirth and morality
What to say if you disliked it
Too predictable. The men are all testosterone-laden competitive freaks; the women are all hot in a clichéd hot, dreary hot way.
What was good about it?
• William Shatner as the portly boss Denny Crane, who is the unethical, unhinged one. He suggests burning documents to get out of a hole, is sleeping with a client’s wife and is ruthless when a colleague has a nervous breakdown. “Demagnetise his parking pass. I know when a man had gone.”
• James Spader as Alan Shore, who is the even more unethical one. He wasted little time in getting one over on newboy Brad by taking his seat in the boardroom. “I did see someone’s things here. I moved them to a less desirable location.”
• Mark Valley as Brad Chase, the one with the good looks (nicknamed “the Ken doll” by Alan), the conscience and the rapid delivery, a contrast to Alan’s slow-paced malevolence.
• Rev Al Sharpton’s barnstorming courtroom cameo in the middle of the case in which a self-confessed “obnoxious stage mother” claims racial discrimination prevented her black daughter from getting the role of lil orphan Annie.
• The tables being turned on the nasty husband involved in a petty custody battle with his wife. (The one who said: “What freakish nightmare did I step into that turned my wife, who was hot, into some Earth Mother world record-setting breastfeeder?”) Just as it seemed he had won custody of his two sons, Alan set him up with a prostitute and cocaine. Hooker, line and sinker!
• BB King’s You’d Better Not Look Down accompanied the closing credits
What was bad about it?
• There wasn’t enough in the opening episode to suggest it’s any more than just another well-made legal drama – but we gather that it does get better, especially when Candice Bergen joins the cast
• The female characters. While the men were distinctive in their traits and looks, the women all seem interchangeable.
• The upstaging of Alan Shore by Al Sharpton and the singing brat, when he should have had a clear run to establish his credentials as a smug, insensitive antihero
• Too many shots through Venetian blinds and glass walls
• The little girl’s singing of songs from Annie. Put our teeth on edge.
• The obligatory sexual tension (yawn) between all-American-boy Brad and all-eyebrows-girl Sally (Lake Bell)