Or, rather, about the show that premieres after Lost, Eli Stone. Short version: don’t let it keep you from checking out the Lost fan boards come 10:01 p.m.
Only slightly longer version: This dramedy, about a lawyer who, through cosmic revelation (or a brain aneurysm) believes himself to have become a prophet comes from Greg Berlanti (Everwood, Brothers and Sisters). That’s what the press release says. The evidence of my eyes tells me that it was directed entirely from a cocktail napkin David E. Kelley discarded in 1999.
Stone is well-meaning, occasionally funny, and well-enough acted as far as it goes. But oh, the quirky! My eyes! Quirkyquirkyquirky! A big soggy bowl of Quirky Flakes! The title character (Jonny Lee Miller) is a lawyer for a sharky San Francisco corporate law firm that specializes in defending evil corporations against helpless little guys. (Its greater crime, however, is imprisoning Alias’ Victor Garber in a one-dimensional wicked-boss role.) Until he sees a vision. A vision of pop singer George Michael. That vision, coupled with the advice of a Chinese acupuncturist, persuades Eli that he must change his life. Because this is a David E. Kelley-esque show, of course, said change involves him remaining a lawyer—just one who takes cases for good people instead of bad ones. (Which also means that we don’t have to see him move into some depressing poor-do-gooder apartment.)
And then the quirk busts out all over the place. The dancing lawyers! The pop references! The fantasy / hallucination sequences! The pizzicato this-show-is-“offbeat” music that has graced every network dramedy since American Beauty came out! I didn’t see a dancing baby, but I may not have been watching. My only regret is that Ellen Gray beat me to calling the show Eli McBeal.
Two side issues, by the way. I’m not going to touch the charges that Eli Stone endorses bogus science claiming a link between vaccines and autism–but seriously, folks, do not base your kids’ vaccination decisions on a TV show. And finally, let’s once and for all dispense with the idea that this–or any new show during the strike–is “good enough because there’s nothing else but reality TV.” Bad TV is bad TV, people: if we forget that, then the terrorists have won.