Friday, March 28, 2008

Eli Stone - The Stone Angel

Eli Stone - Heal the Pain - Ep. 107, Praying for Time - Ep. 108, I Want Your Sex - Ep. 109

I've been trying to write a combined post of Eli Stone, Lipstick Jungle and Men In Trees, but it's coming out in bullet points so I'm just going to break them apart. Plus, about the only thing I have to say about Lipstick Jungle at this point (though it DID get slightly better) is that it was worth watching purely for Robert Buckley (Maybe NSFW). And Matt Lauria (as Lindsay Price's well dressed assistant). And Kerry Butler. Essentially, all the side characters and Broadway people they kept casting in guest/side roles.

And Men In Trees deserves it's own post. It's not perfect, and they are sure throwing in a LOT of doozies (like Buzz being Patrick's father wasn't enough, now Jane's parents are little people?) but they've written such enjoyable characters that I just love the show.

Which brings us to Eli Stone, where I like the characters more than the actual storylines, or particularly the lawyer cases, I enjoy the personal stuff when they actually get to it. I said it right from the start, that to differentiate themselves from every other law show (and avoiding in becoming a David Kelley show (take your pick, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, all shows I enjoyed but have now been done)). That being said, a few of the cases, have gotten better and more interesting, and I like how Eli's cases are an unveiled attempt to link it to some theme of the week coinciding with his visions and musical numbers of the week.

And how did Eli Stone sneak onto television to become essentially a musical TV show without massive (negative) attention?

The interesting thing about Eli Stone is, that it's somehow morphed into a musical show that works (in fact, they are the best part of the show) without being labeled the musical show (which killed Cop Rock and Viva Laughlin on arrival). Yet here we watch Eli Stone week after week and I look forward to the kooky musical numbers. I guess it helps that they are usually visions which make them somewhat logical in the plot.

Plus, usually there's only one number per episode to now completely throw off non-musical lovers, though last night, we got TWO! Plus a concert appearance by George Michael!

George Michael! Who finally appears for real in front of Eli (and not just a concert), and real enough so that Eli could touch him to make sure he's for real! Cute! Even cuter, watching Jordan get excited about meeting George Michael. Victor Garber rocks! (and sings! Doing another number this week! Man I wished I saw him in Damn Yankees on Broadway)

I actually liked the "I Want Your Sex" case where George Michael helps a about-to-be expelled student who uses his infamous song to disrupt an abstinence/sex education assembly. Since I like to provoke buttons that way (I did the whole condom with a cucumber show-and-tell dance number for an HIV project with the same guitar-playing-religion teacher back in the day. He was furious, but my project was rock solid so I got an A!).

I also liked the case with the judge suing his own abondoned kid for a transplant. Nice. The one with Eli trying to save the town was nice if a little overstretched, but allowed for some nice interplay with Loretta Devine's Patti. I didn't care for the baseball case, and it didn't help that the baseball player being accused was played by a former cast member of The Practice which just solidified the whole lawyer show thing. The ending was a nice twist though.

Meanwhile, they did allow Sam Jeager to stretch a bit as Matt Dowd, and I loved that they built him up to be a sweeter-than-you-thought guy, only to know instinctively that it was all a game for him. Except, he does seem sweet. He's just a playa yo! (I TOTALLY know guys like that) So I like how that character is starting to flesh out, I just wish they did it with someone other than Taylor.

Laura Benanti (who got raves in Gypsy that opened on Broadway last night! Man, Benanti had a good Thursday!) was finally back as Beth Keller, Eli's "first" and someone he seems to have a connection with, especially important now that he's dumped Taylor and made rules against dating Maggie (below with Eli, which thank god, that was so wrong to begin with even though I knew they were going to go there). Shockingly, she's been secretly dating Eli's brother Nathan (the charming if slightly underused Matt Letscher). I actually didn't see that one coming.

I'm surprised that they are really going full on about Eli seeing his visions as directions from God. I don't care who his visions are from, just as long as he keeps doing good, they keep singing, and I keep liking the characters. And Jonny Lee Miller keeps staying adorable.

His look when he discovers he's still singing in the real world as everyone stares on gets me every week!

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