FOX TV IN THE FALL; “GOLIATH” QUIRKY LEGAL DRAMA
A TV Review by Tim Riley
A QUESTION MARK FOR FOX TV AND NETWORKS FOR FALL SEASON Readers of this column may recall past references to the television press tours that occur during the winter and summer to preview upcoming series in panel discussions with cast and production crew.The Television Critics Association cancelled the 2020 summer tour that was scheduled to start at the end of July due to the uncertainty that attends the public gathering restrictions which remaining unabated.An equal concern is that film and television production of new films and series, which have been on hold during the pandemic, may not be ready for the fall season.First out of the box, the FOX network has already announced new series for the upcoming season, if such a thing is remotely possible at this moment. Savvier folks are betting that January 2021 is a likelier scenario for the networks.
Nevertheless, FOX may have an opportunity for new series only because some series were expected earlier this year as mid-season replacements or the product was already in the can or in the case of “L.A.’s Finest” it ran elsewhere.From the universe of the Jerry Bruckheimer “Bad Boys” franchise, the one-hour series “L.A.’s Finest” has been a Spectrum Original, which means it probably hasn’t tapped into the wider audience available on a network.This series looks to be the female version of “Bad Boys,” with Gabriel Union’s Syd Burnett, moving on from taking down drug cartels in Miami to become an LAPD detective, and then pairing up with Jessica Alba’s Nancy McKenna, a working mom with a complex history.
“Filthy Rich,” a southern Gothic family soap in which wealth, power and religion collide, was thought to be a mid-season replacement. When the patriarch (Gerald McRaney) dies in a plane crash, his wife and family are stunned to learn he fathered three illegitimate children.A thriller about rogue artificial intelligence, “NeXT” stars John Slattery as a Silicon Valley pioneer, who discovers one of his A.I. creations might spell global catastrophe, leading to teaming up with a cybercrime agent to fight a villain unlike anything seen before.
“GOLIATH” ON AMAZON PRIME
Recommendations from friends certainly come in handy to choose a streaming series to fill the void. This is the case with Amazon Prime’s “Goliath,” which is now in its third season. As with “Bosch,” I have some catching up to do with this series. As a legal drama, “Goliath” may not break any new ground in courtroom scenes, except when you have Billy Bob Thornton’s Billy McBride pulling tricks in a courtroom, where his exchanges startle with a gut punch. Abundantly clear from the start, McBride is the David of this linear series, a once stellar lawyer who co-founded a major firm before descending to his present status of conducting business from a Santa Monica motel room across from the bar when he spends a great deal of time.The Goliath is the Cooperman McBride law firm, to which the down-but-not-quite out lawyer’s name is still attached and where his aggressively assertive ex-wife Michelle (Maria Bello) fits perfectly in a toxic corporate culture.
Arranging plea deals for petty criminals, McBride’s low-rent legal practice allows him to spend more time at the Chez Jay bar or parking himself on the beach with a bottle in a paper bag.The persons closest to McBride’s orbit turn out to be his estranged teenage daughter Denise (Diana Hopper), who now hopes to set him straight, and his off-and-on legal assistant Brittany (Tania Raymonde), an attractive sex worker plying her trade on the side.
A big case comes McBride’s way when the excitable, motor-mouthed Patty Solis-Papagian (Nina Arianda), a defense lawyer for DUI clients and real estate agent in the Valley, seeks to help her neighbor Rachel Kennedy (Ever Carradine) to sue for the wrongful death of her brother.Not interested at first in the case, McBride changes his tune when learning Rachel’s brother died in a boat explosion and the target for the wrongful death lawsuit is Borns Tech, a major client of the Cooperman McBride firm.
That there is plenty of ill will between McBride and his former partner Daniel Cooperman (William Hurt) turns out to be enough motivation for the David vs. Goliath legal battle to play out for the entire first season.Cooperman, disfigured from facial burns, is an odd fellow and recluse hiding in his darkened office where he spies on his employees and monitors depositions and courtroom proceedings on surveillance cameras.
Taking a look at the Cooperman firm’s legal team defending Borns Tech is all one needs to know about which side to root for, though that’s hardly a challenge because Thornton’s flawed McBride is the underdog that draws sympathy.Rooting for McBride is easy when compared to Cooperman’s lead attorney, Callie Senate (Molly Parker), an ice queen yet brilliant lawyer eager to skewer anyone in her path, even fellow colleagues. “Goliath” rises above the conventional with the basic construct of Thornton and Arianda bringing quirkiness to adversarial courtroom theatrics.