Goliath—4 1/2 stars
Stars Billy Burke, William Hurt, Nina Arianda, Tania Raymonde, Diana Hopper Molly Parker, Olivia Thirby. Think of the movie the Lincoln Lawyer if you want to find some kind of movie comparison. Billy Burke stars as a washed up lawyer, ambulance chaser, who rarely shows up to meet his clients and isn’t there for his family. When he is petitioned to go against the company he helped build (aka the Goliath because it is so big), he recovers some his mojo within the idea of redemption for his sins. There is a lot good complexity here. His ex-wife still works at the firm and she is in a lesbian relationship with one of the other lawyers who has it out for Billy Burke’s character. Tanya Raymonde plays a prostitute who cares for Billy more than she should and can’t resist being his rather illegal legal assistant. The head of the firm is a man who closes himself up behind smoke and mirrors…or should I say video screens. He is the other partner of the firm and is played by William Hurt. I am not a William Hurt fan, but he does well in this role as a detestable executive who is part burn victim. Billy Burke is awesome in this show and over time he builds this quirky, rag tag, unofficial legal team that you really root for. This is a good Suicide Squad version of the Law and Order kind. My only small issue is I feel Olivia Thirby as a rookie lawyer isn’t a good fit for some odd reason. She isn’t always believable enough for me. Also, it is hard to find many characters that you like because it is a dark show. Even so, it still should be possible to like or be charmed by some dark characters.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—5 stars (2 Seasons, 8 episodes)
Rachel Brosnaham, Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle, Tony Shalhous, Kevin Pollak. Think the “I Love Lucy Show” with Lucille O’Ball and Desi Arnez but with a deeper message on empowering females, love, family and loyalty. But, most importantly, it is a barrel of laughs and a lot of fun to watch. Set in the late 1950s in New York City, Mirram Maisel is a doting housewife who supports her husband’s lame attempts at stand-up comedy only to discover that she is not only far better than he at stand-up comedy but is also star material. When they ultimately separate, much to their devotely Jewish parents chagrin, she hits the stage running with her butch partner played by Alen Borstein. Borstein is much like Lucy’s friend Vivian on “I Love Lucy” in that Vivian was a bit butch looking too. The story dances very well between Maisel’s life and her husband’s life as well the hilarious, comedic lives of both of their parents. Still, there are very poignant moments especially with the estranged relationship she has with her husband and her husband having to figure out life without her. From all the stories I have heard by comedians, the show also appears to portray the hard and funny life of comedians well too especially prejudice against female comedians. Can you imagine facing that in the 50’s let alone today? Then watch this show!
*The Good Wife—4 Stars (7 seasons, 20-23 episodes each)
Julianna Marguiles, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi, Graham Phillips, Christine Baranki, Makenzie Vega, Josh Charles, Alan Cumming, Zach Grenier and Matthew Goode. This is Law and Order but with characters and a story line you can actually sink your teeth into beyond just one episode. Julianna Marguiles plays ‘the good wife’ who sticks with her husband after a very public affair and corruption scandal. Though the first half of season is largely focused on this, the series really ends up revolving around the Lockhart law firm that the “good wife” works for and her husband’s re-entry into political life. The TV show is much like Law and Order in that each show is a court case the firm takes on and each one pretty much ends in one episode though some go longer. The acting is stellar and there is always some story line going on behind the actual court cases that keeps you moving forward to the next episode. Very few episodes are solely just about one court case. Nevertheless, as far as the court cases themselves, I can’t say they all end with a sense of sanctification. However, Law and Order was the same way. That is a particular formula both series use that I don’t fully understand—story lines that just drop off—however the characters and struggles are deep and rich enough to keep me coming back for more. Of course, Christine Baranski is a power house in this series that could have easily over shadowed the good wife but creators didn’t let that happen. Instead, when the series ended, they created a spin off called the Good Fight with Christine as the lead character starting her own firm. I have not yet watched that but probably will. It has 2 seasons so far.
*Jack Ryan—4 1/2 Stars (1 Season)
John Krasinski, Abbie Cornish, Wendell Pierce, Ali Suliman, Dina Shihabi, Amir El-Masry star in everyone’s much needed spy TV series. Who would have figured a star from the TV hit show “The Office”, John Krasinki, would make a great lead character as Jack Ryan, but it works. The 1st season definitely takes on the intensity, intrigue, and moral questions around terrorism as Jack Ryan is a CIA agent taken from his desk job and thrown head first into the field. This Jack Ryan doesn’t always pull off a believable tough guy, but he get’s tough enough and the story is intense enough to keep you watching each episode. Ali Suliman and Amir El-Masry do even better as villains you love to hate and who also have an emotionally appealing back story that adds another level. All you Jack Ryan- James Bond-Mission Impossible lovers might not do cartwheels over the series, but you will no doubt be satisfied with the series as a whole and a number of the characters..