Created by David E. Kelly (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal), Harry's Law is about a longtime patent lawyer who one day decides to call it quits and start her own defense firm. Boston Legal was one of my favorite shows, and with Kathy Bates starring I had high hopes for this show. This however is no Boston Legal. It is a decent show that is certainly watchable, it just doesn't reach the high expectations I had for it. I now know David E. Kelly isn't writing or directing, so that might be the difference maker.
Chaos was a mid-season replacement for The Defenders on CBS this Spring. It follows the missions of the ODS (Office of Disruptive Services), a small group of spies within the CIA who continuously use unconventional methods despite their director's disapproval. The team consists of four men, each with unique abilities. Michael Dorset (Eric Close) is the leader and brains behind the group. Billy Collins (James Murray) is a charming Scotsman who classifies himself as a "jack-of-all-trades, master of some." Casey Malick (Tim Blake Nelson) is the human weapon. Rick Martinez (Freddy Rodriguez) is the new guy and master linguist. Together they form a team that may have crude methods, but always gets results.
The Defenders is about a two-man defense attorney practice in Las Vegas. Nick Morelli (Jim Belushi) is an old-school lawyer who once had tie-ins with the mob in Vegas, but now strives to run a close to as honest as possible law practice. His partner Pete Kaczmarek (Jerry O'Connell) is a young playboy who wants nothing more than to be the best hotshot lawyer in Vegas. The dynamic between the two was always fun to watch. The cases were often unique, and you could almost argue that the third star of this show was the city of Las Vegas. As law shows go, I enjoyed this one.
HBO certainly loves period pieces. The newest one takes place in 1920’s Atlantic City amidst prohibition. Though slow at times, I found Boardwalk to be a quality show. Steve Buscemi stars as Nucky Thompson, a political figure in Atlantic City who also dabbles in illegal activities. The supporting cast is very strong, with Nucky’s protégé Jimmy (Michael Pitt), Nucky’s love interest Margaret Schroeder (Kelly MacDonald) and Federal Prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon) highlighting the cast.
Parenthood is a family drama that is loosely based on the 1989 Steve Martin film with the same name. The series follows the lives of the Braverman family, which includes three generations. The ensemble cast brings various strengths to the show, and the differing storylines are woven as if this were an actual family. One thing I notice from this show is it seems very real. The writing and acting touches perfectly on all the nuances of a real life family of this size. The four adult Braverman siblings are the main focal points, which then branches into each of their own familes (spouses and children). This could arguably be the best cast on television right now.
The mustache is back on television! Tom Selleck stars as the New York City police commissioner in the new police drama Blue Bloods on CBS. The show is centered around the Reagan family, which includes Frank (Selleck) and his children, detective Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), assistant district attorney Erin (Bridget Moynahan) and recent Harvard Law grad and rookie police officer Jamie (Will Estes). I’ve never really been into procedurals, as I don’t watch any of the several Law and Orders or CSI’s, but I have become a fan of Blue Bloods. The cast and characters are very watchable (especially Selleck and Wahlberg), and there is a continuous storyline involving the questionable death of Frank’s other son and former officer Joseph.
Technically this is a summer show, but season 2 was broken into two halves. The second half aired early this year, so I decided to include it. White Collar is about a professional con-man and thief, Neal Caffrey (Matthew Bomer), who was captured by the FBI after many years of pursuit. Neal now works for the FBI as a consultant to help capture thieves similar to himself. He has become close with the agent who once captured him, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), as they are now partners. A big reason I enjoy this show is because of the great acting that comes from the cast. It works like a procedural with week-to-week cases, but there's enough of a major story arc that keeps me wanting more. The third season starts this summer.
Justified is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows on television. The series is based on a character (Raylan Givens) created by novelist Elmore Leonard. The show takes place in Kentucky, where US Marshall Raylan Givens grew up. He has many ties to the region, and that often comes back to challenge him. Justified is like a modern-day western, and nobody represents the part better than Timothy Olyphant as Raylan. Both seasons 1 and 2 each had a major storyline that was resolved in their respective finales, but the writers succeed in filling in the gaps with week-to-week criminals. The show is afterall about a US Marshall who deals with many cases. The writing and acting are both incredible. Lines are often blurred between right and wrong, and that makes the confrontations between Raylan and "bad guys" like Boyd Crowder and the Bennett family more exciting to watch. If you're not watching this show, you probably should be.