Monday, September 19, 2005

"JUST LEGAL" ON THE WB

I'm watching the show "Just Legal" on the WB tonight before I switch back to football on the other channel. Interesting, a lot better than that Head Cases crappy show I saw on FOX last week. The concept is that there's this 18-year old new lawyer (played by Jay Baruchel) as a genius legal Doogie Howser-type David "Skip" Ross who couldn't get hired by any of the white-shoe firms because he's just 18. He's "just legal", get it? So he instead teams up with loser lawyer Grant Cooper, played by Don Johnson.

Oh, good grief, Johnson's doing his bleeping final address to the jury on TV. Man, this is BRUTAL. PATHETIC. And also, they'd never allow an 18-year old kid to do a MURDER TRIAL as his first case! HE WAS BRUTAL!!! And they WON?!!

Still there's a lot of charm to seeing these two losers operate. You have Don Johnson's character and he's a cynical burned-out lawyer who settles out of court all the time, and then there's Doogie the lawyer, and while he is brilliant at the law and a big workaholic geek, he clearly has no clue how to react in a courtroom. There was a scene where he tried to use the "if it doesn't fit you must acquit" line in court, and the judge cut him off. There were some interesting courtroom interactions.

You know, I think there's potential here for this series, I like the characters a lot, even though the situations seemed, well, unethical. I hope it stays on schedule for a while and gets a chance from the WB. But they need to put more girls on the show and turn this thing into your typical WB show that we've come to expect. The typical WB show always is some sappy, syrupy thing with lots of girls embroiled in romantic situations (ie. Gilmore Girls), and typically a lot of California sunshine. At least they got the sunshine part right. But Skip Ross definitely needs a love interest, for no other reason than to keep up with these other shows.

The guy who is the executive producer of the show is Jonathan Shapiro, who is a former federal prosecutor who also once worked for Janet Reno. See this good article about him and the show. He came up with the idea because apparently there was a family member who actually was one of these Doogie Howser-legal-types himself. So it's sort of based on a true story, it really did happen.

This show is a lot better than Head Cases, on FOX, which I just found idiotic. That show is produced by Jeff Rake's production company and another former criminal lawyer, Bill Chais, is producing it. I think they wrote some stuff for David E. Kelley, and Chais worked on Family Law before. So they've done good stuff for good people. I think they also did The Street, which was a decent show about Wall Street that crashed and burned on FOX. It's just the inaugural show for Head Cases, but it was really not that good, one of the worst debut shows of the week in fact.

It's supposed to be about these two crazy lawyers who had mental problems and who team up, but the problem is the Adam Goldberg character is really annoying and the Chris O'Donnell character has no chemistry with the Adam Goldberg character. You're just really surprised to see the two of them getting together to start a law firm, it's kind of unbelievable. It was a sad start to that series and I expect the axe to drop on that show quickly.

But you know, I like watching these legal-oriented shows on TV. Quite a few of these legal-oriented shows are written by former lawyers who gave up doing law so they can strike it rich in Hollywood. Many of these guys worked with David E. Kelley who is most famous for The Practice and Ally McBeal, but still has some quality law shows on the air. His latest, Boston Legal, did very well last night at the Emmy awards with wins last night for best actor James Spader and supporting actor William Shatner. You know, I should try and get into this line of work, writing for legal TV shows. It pays great and you can end up marrying actresses like Michelle Pfeiffer.

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