Thursday, April 10, 2008

Eli Stone: visions lead a lawyer to actually do good; the two gay chimpanzees

Greg Berlanti is well known for his touching WB series "Everwood", and now he joins up with Marc Guggenheim and others for Eli Stone, a lawyer (played by Jonny Lee Miller) who has visions of the future because of a hidden aneurysm. “Eli Stone” is in its first season on ABC.

Tonight (April 10) he takes on a case of a man denied parole because he had led a revolt against prison conditions, a situation that the warden covered up. (The "body art" on the arms of one prisoner was rather extreme.) But it was the other story in parallel of the two gay chimpanzees (perhaps Bonobos) that stole the show. Separated because of their “conduct,” one of the chimps (Pete) stops eating and develops ulcers. The script starts playing games with the words of the law, “manual of torts for chimps.” At one point “Pete” has to ‘testify” by reacting to a picture of his companion, which is then brought into court. They certainly engage in PDA's in court. If animals have human civil rights, then they have to take human responsibility, like being able to testify.

A more interesting question would be a real animal rights case: the rights of whales whose speech by echo-location (their biological kind of telephony that covers hundreds of miles) is disrupted by human shipping. That would make a good episode.

Maybe this show wants to say that trial lawyers can actually do good. "Law & Order" was never enough. What would novelist John Grisham think of this?

April 11: News tidbit:

CBS axed "The Secret Talents of the Stars" after just one episode because of poor ratings, link to Reuters story by Steve Gorman (on AOL) here. In the fall of 2005, TheWB canceled "Just Legal" after only three episodes, but eventually aired the entire series one Sunday in the following August. UPN canceled "Jake 2.0" at mid-season 2003-2004, and that was a show many sci-fi viewers liked.

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