Another First Glance: “The Good Fight”

As far as most anticipated new shows go, the upcoming CBS Television Studios series “The Good Fight”, might be the one that suffers the most. It won’t actually be shown on a broadcast network, save for the pilot, which CBS is hoping will spark interest in the show as well as its streaming platform CBS All Access. Because of this, I’m fearing that this show won’t get the kind of reception it should nor the audience. It’s not just those who loved and adored “The Good Wife” who’ll be pissed they have to miss out, but any new audience members following one of the actors in the series (see: Rose Leslie).

Seeing as I haven’t really heard positive or negative things on how the platform is doing, as I also believe this new series marks its first official foray into original digital programing, I guess there’s some hope for this show. Maybe enough people will watch and convince the network that this approach will in fact work. Or, which is a huge possibility, it’ll show how not all networks need to try and compete with streaming giants such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon.

All About Beginnings
109352_1309b_copy1One of the biggest disappointments of CBS not putting this show on through traditional means, even if that meant during the summer, where the potential for a big enough audience would be, is that so many will miss out on the cast. As you can see from above, this cast is phenomenal. It’s a blend of established actors (Christine Baranski and Delroy Lindo) and new/new-ish and well known actors. Did I mention Leslie? It’s disappointing not just from the fact that these actors are these actors, but because of the material they’ll get to help bring to life.

Baranski’s Diane Lockhart is by and large starting over. First, she’s aiming to retire from the law firm she started, but as we see from the trailer, that’s not a possibility. Because of a Ponzi scheme, she’s lost all her savings, and clearly can’t retire. Throw in the fact that returning character David Lee, played by Zach Grenier, is apparently making it difficult for Diane to stay, and now you’ve got a recipe for disaster. However, which is where this show will go and what audiences will get to experience and hopefully love, there’s a slight silver lining. Baranski will have to begin anew, but at a new law firm. What will that all look like? Baranski’s character has always been a determined woman, so I’m sure she’ll find a way to make the most of her new situation. Sadly, she’ll also have to endure a lot. I believe too, that this is clearly going to be the major theme for this first season. The creators, Robert and Michelle King, like to incorporate seasonal themes, and as this show also jumps one year later from the close of “The Good Wife”, it’s really the perfect opportunity to explore it in so many ways.

This is also how Leslie’s character comes into play. She’s Baranski’s goddaughter and the daughter of the man who was behind the Ponzi scheme. Leslie’s also just starting her law career. Man that’s a lot. So, she too must start anew and essentially find herself repeatedly. I’ve enjoyed Leslie’s last two major television acting roles (“Game of Thrones” and “Downton Abbey”, but somehow I see she’s really found something special. Maybe it’s just my experience with the King’s that’s telling me Leslie will have a full and vibrant character to bring to life. That she’ll get to really stretch herself and showcase how dynamic she is as an actress. Regardless, I’m excited to see how she fits into this world and stands out as her own, despite all the drama she must endure.

One Year Later
06-good-wife-5-w529-h3521Here we find ourselves in new and familiar territory. We also find Cush Jumbo’s Lucca Quinn, but she’s no longer at Lockhart and Lee. She’s working somewhere else in Chicago. But, why? I guess she too had to begin again. I can make a guess, but I could very well be wrong. Perhaps it stems from the fallout between Baranski and Julianna Marguiles’s Alicia Florrick. Or, maybe Jumbo’s character just couldn’t find enough of a support system. Whatever it is, based on the trailer, which had her and Baranski coming off incredibly cold to one another, it’s going to be the right amount of dramatic and sensible. As the King’s like to ground so much of their storytelling in reality, I’m certain that even this caveat will be grounded in something realistic. Something that audiences could buy into.

I will say too, that while I was thrilled to see their names in the credits lineup, not seeing more on Sarah Steele’s returning character, Marissa Gold or Justin Bartha’s new character, Colin Morello, is straight up disappointing. Steele was such a scene stealer when on “The Good Wife”, and I’m sure she’ll be just as sarcastic, intelligent and amazing in this show, but I would’ve liked to know what she’s doing now. I can’t tell. Is she also staring over in some way? When she was shown running through an office with many desks, it looked like it could be Lockhart and Lee. Whatever she’s doing there, it’s not what I remember her doing before. Bartha is an even bigger mystery. He’s clearly a lawyer of some sort, but for which side? Is he a defense lawyer or a prosecutor in the State Attorney’s office? For some, these questions will never be answered. Now it’s even more of a shame.

Quirks And All
mv5bywe2zjk0y2ytyzyzyy00yme3lwjindytymi4zjqyytzkmmqxxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjq2odyznzy-_v1_1As with “The Good Wife” and the most recent show that the King’s created, “BrainDead”, there was no shortage of strange and quirky characters. Point, in fact, if these types of characters weren’t present in one of their shows, it would seem really weird. Creating these types of characters seems so effortless, and if you can do that, which not many can, why not? It’s also how the King’s previous shows managed to not be too overdramatic. There was a balance achieved and comedy was able to be had. I always marveled at how well any given episode could be crafted to not only push the episodic storyline forward, but several other larger storylines, blend in comedy along with topical issues, and still move our favorite characters forward. I wish I could give good enough examples of some of the quirky characters from before, but I can’t. It wouldn’t do them justice and honestly, these performances need to be seen to get the full intended effect. I guess it’s no wonder that so many talented actors would decide to be in even one episode of the King’s shows. If the King’s could convince David Hyde Pierce to come back to television, in a normal acting gig, a decade after “Fraser” went off the air, they and their fellow writers must’ve been doing something right.

I can’t wait! It’s going to be fun.

Series Premier: Feb. 19, 2017 only on CBS All Access

Creators: Robert King and Michelle King

Starring: Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo, Delroy Lindo, Sarah Steele, Justin Bartha, Erica Tazel and Rose Leslie


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