Monday, February 27, 2017

Pilot Review: The Good Fight

The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Premiered February 19

When a show lasts seven seasons and runs for more than 150 episodes, that’s usually considered a success. “The Good Wife” began in 2009 and just wrapped last year, and I would think that story had run its course. Yet it seems that the market these days is always looking for the next big reboot or spinoff, and therefore it’s back to the world of Chicago law with a new show on CBS’ new streaming service. Taking supporting characters who work well and then promoting them to lead status is a risky idea, and it doesn’t always lead to success. What we have here is a show built around two players, one who was Emmy-nominated for the first six seasons of the original series and the other who joined in its final season. I like Christine Baranski and I like Cush Jumbo, and putting them with Rose Leslie from “Downton Abbey” and “Game of Thrones” seems like a smart move. What I’m less excited about is the fact that this show is built around a scandal the same way that the original show was, one that I feel might hold it back since Leslie’s Maia Rindell is going to be obsessed with overcoming her own family drama which seems awfully excessive. I don’t know what to think of Delroy Lindo’s Robert Boseman, and Sarah Steele’s Marissa Gold feels different from who she was on the original show. I couldn’t figure out where I knew Barbara from, and it turns out it’s Erica Tazel, who played Rachel on “Justified.” I don’t feel like I need to watch this show but I’m going to give it a least a little bit longer since I already invested seven years in this universe.

How will it work as a series? Despite some initial setbacks, Diane managed to get to a place of good standing pretty quickly, and the second episode introduced an involving case that demonstrates that this show does know what it’s doing and doesn’t require the same kind of exposition because of preexisting characters and narratives. That should serve it well and should entice fans of the CBS series.
How long will it last? This premiere aired on CBS and didn’t do so well with the ratings, but its status as the flagship series of a new streaming service should allow it to write its own legacy. I think that this show could go on for a while given the parent company’s enthusiasm to keep it on the air, and so I wouldn’t write it off just yet.

Pilot grade: B