Sunday, 21 May 2017

TV Review: The Good Fight Series 1

"In my experience, whenever somebody says 'the truth is' that usually means it's not"

Lots to love in The Good Fight, not least its very existence as a female-led, POC-heavy US drama, unafraid to tackle the most modern of issues, as its parent show The Good Wife did in its prime. And over the 10 episodes of its first season, it has proved an engaging and entertaining watch in the midst of finding its feet about the kind of show it actually wants to be. (You can read my thoughts about Episodes 1 and 2 here).

The Good Fight tried to achieve a lot - establishing a large new ensemble, delivering enough storyline for three lead characters, paying adequate but not overbearing fan service to Good Wife devotees, and coming up with up-to-the-minute cases-of-the week. And I think we can say it did most this fairly successfully. Christine Baranski's Diane Lockhart and her statement necklaces remaining a shining beacon of light in our cold, dark world.

Her character beats as she struggles to deal with the loss of her money and her retirement plans and the challenge of fitting into a new law firm all felt right, and the return of Gary Cole as her husband Kurt reunited one of my favourite TV couples. And Cush Jumbo rightfully made the most of her Lucca Quinn being allowed to develop properly out from the Florrick shadow, her preternatural wisdom always highly watchable, as was her putative relationship with Justin Bartha's lawyer.

And the writing managed to be spot-on in its contemporary reference points. The intersection of the alt-right and free speech, police brutality and the African American community's response to it, national security versus individual freedoms, issues are raised and investigated from all angles. But with so much to fit in, not everything landed quite as effectively, particularly the series-long story of the financial scandal engulfing Rose Leslie's Maia's family.

With no time to get to know the character before disaster struck, Leslie sadly had little opportunity to show us the multiplicities of a leading lesbian character and even if her mother was played by Bernadette Peters, I never cared enough about the family to warrant the amount of screen-time they got. And the internal politics of Reddick, Boseman, & Kolstad didn't quite get enough depth to make it feel essential as opposed to something to be over and done with in an episode.

Still, a welcome return for this universe and several of its most idiosyncratic characters (hurrah for Elsbeth Tascioni and Marissa Gold, great work from both Carrie Preston and Sarah Steele). 


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