Eli Stone

Oh for a bit of fantasy on our screens. You can keep your realism and your factuals, television that surprises me is king right now. And that’s just what you get in the first episode of Eli Stone.

Long overdue to Australian screens, Seven is belatedly bringing this American drama to us over summer. Co-created by Greg Berlanti (Brothers and Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money, Everwood), this stars British actor Jonny Lee Miller as a lawyer in the title role. He seemingly has it all, a successful life, beautiful girlfriend and corporate career. He also has an inoperable brain aneurysm. How this unfolds in the pilot is part of the delicious style of the show.

Stone keeps hearing organ music: at home, work, in the middle of a client meeting. It’s a sound nobody else hears. Finally during sex with his girlfriend he can take it no more and follows the music from the bedroom to the living room. The chords of the music become the opening bars of George Michael’s “Faith.” And there is George Michael, in the flesh, singing on his coffee table. Right here, you know this is gonna be a fun show.

Michael is something of a muse for this show. Episodes are titled after a George Michael song. He’s obviously a good sport for participating in this series (filmed before more of his tabloid incidents in 2008). Musical numbers, and hallucinations, appear with regularity, more successfully achieved than Viva Laughlin managed.

Stone also has something of an epiphany on the first episode, and turns the tables on the legal world from which he has derived his status and security. His plea to a jury doesn’t quite match the theatrics of ‘Alan Shore’ in Boston Legal, but it’s persuasive and emotional enough. Whilst the court-room drama forms the plot of this series it is the character arc of Stone that is its soul.

Also in the cast is Victor Garber (Alias) who gets a show-stopping musical number of “Freedom” in ep 2, and the sassy Loretta Devine (in a more comic role than Grey’s Anatomy allowed).

With a mix of law, whimsy and wisdom, this show has been likened to Ally McBeal –a pretty fair way to sum it up. Summer viewing just got a little spring in its step.

Eli Stone premieres 8:30pm Tuesday December 2nd on Seven.

11 Comments:

  1. This is the best show — writers, actors, dialogue, cameos, it’s feel good and we’ve looked forward to and enjoyed every episode.

    But …. it has been discontinued in the US — can TV Tonight or 7 Network put pressure on the makers to continue this wonderful series??

    I hope so!

  2. Totally agree, it’s great to break away from the drama for an hour, and enjoy some lighthearted entertainment. It’s not brilliant, but it’s easy watching fun.

  3. Great review David.

    I watched the first episode last night and really enjoyed it. It looks like this going to be a great series and thank you Seven for showing two episodes a week.

    And did anybody notice a little bit of Loretta Devine’s Boston Public character Marla Hendricks in the Patti Dellacroix character?

  4. Damn, and it was a well written post too … now I have to start again!
    OK, I just love this show … I am currently enjoying season 2.
    This is one of my top five shows of last year. It is smart, emotional, witty, surprising and damn good fun as well. I love the imagined dance routines every episode … and Eli himself is charming and Hot.
    The recurring George Michael theme is fantastic and, towards the end of the series George actually appears in a court case where he gets to act and he is quite good! Do not miss that episode … i think it is about episode nine or ten.

    Finally Australia will get to see this brilliant series … lets hope it is treated with the respect it deserves by the Network.
    Jack!

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