Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Good Fit for CBS

Although not one of my more anticipated fall premieres, The Good Wife managed to make its way onto my pilot list due to all the good reviews calling it the best new drama this season. I've now seen a couple of episodes, which pretty much validated what I expected all along: it's a perfectly well-done show that's just not for me.

The show centers on Alicia (Julianna Margulies), the wife of a state's attorney (Chris Noth) who becomes an amalgam of Edwards, Spitzer, Blagojevich, and that New Jersey governor when he gets caught in a sex scandal, is forced to resign, and winds up in jail. With her husband in jail, Alicia goes back to working as a lawyer for the first time in over the decade, becoming a junior associate at a law firm run by her old college buddy played by Josh Charles (aka Sports Night's Dan Rydell).

As Law & Ordery as the timeliness may seem, it's actually the best part of the show. All of the leftover baggage from riding out the scandal - in addition to her husband's ongoing appeal - make Alicia one of the best-developed characters in any of the so-called character-based procedurals.

Because yes, sadly, once Alicia gets back to work, that's exactly what the show becomes. While we do see her at home and visiting her husband in jail, we mostly see Alicia in the office and in court. Yes, it's one of those shows where there's somehow a court case every week even though most cases take years. Not that the cases aren't interesting. There's a last-minute discovery to win the case in every episode, and every week there's a new judge with a big personality to spice things up. But after so many other lawyer shows have really covered this territory, I can't help but feeling like this is just one more.

There's a reason the show is doing well and has been picked up for a full season. Occupying what once was Judging Amy's timeslot, The Good Wife has a lot of the same appeal - a law procedural with a strong female protagonist at the center. And it is great to see Josh Charles back on TV, so many years after Sports Night. So if you like these kind of shows, as many people I know do, this one is well-executed. But if you're like me, and like your shows closer to Lost on the Lost to CSI scale, this is never going to be must-see.

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