Wednesday, 23 September 2009

US tv titbits: The Good Wife

A couple of posts ago, I said I was going to scout out a few new American TV shows from the new crop of season premieres for my UK friends. And I'm keeping to my word. So here is the first of an occasional series: US tv titbits.

The Good Wife has been much hyped by the American media as the comeback vehicle for Julianna Margulies (Carol Hathaway from ER; last seen disappearing off into the sunset with George Clooney, the lucky thing). In it, she plays the wronged wife of a politician played by Chris Noth (Mr Big from Sex and the City). So far, A Good Cast.

Mr Big (sorry, I can't help thinking of him as that) has been thrown into jail, accused of abusing public funds. He's also been involved in a sexual scandal, clips of which are now circulating on YouTube to the mortification of his teenage kids. His wife has stood by him in public, as most wives tend to, but not necessarily in private.I must say the programme rather skated over what the exact accusations involved - instead, we were given snippets of what had happened by way of TV clips in the background and the odd snide remark made to Julianna's character, Alicia. But it seems to involve hookers and call girls.

Meanwhile the show focused on Alicia's return to work as a lawyer after a 15 year break, presumably to support her family. The way the other law firm staff treated her, as a woman who had taken such a long break from the workplace, was both patronising and demeaning (and not just from the men). She has to prove herself all over again, against ambitious junior colleagues.

Defending a woman accused of murder, she constantly had her husband's trangressions rubbed in her face from all concerned, including the judge. Naturally she rose to the occasion, and got her client off the hook by producing new evidence that even the homicide department had overlooked (yeah, right).

Mr Big, when she visits him in prison, thinks meanwhile that if he's found innocent of abusing public funds, everything will be OK. She replies that she couldn't give two hoots about the ethical stuff. Clearly, she is not going to forgive him that easily and will get on with her brilliant career instead of sitting around moping. (But then, he is Mr Big and quite sexy, so she might, eventually.)

I'm a bit in two minds about this show. I quite enjoyed it, but I'm not sure exactly where it's going. JM's character seems to be half Hillary Clinton, half Ally McBeal, which isn't the most convincing combination, and the courtroom drama took up way more time than the story about the scandal. I'd like to see a bit more of Mr Big, too, and find out exactly what has happened between the two of them before they move the story on.

Still, if you like polished American legal dramas, with everyone in designer suits and with glossy manes of hair, this is probably the show for you. I'd give it a six out of ten.


Expat mum said...

Wish I had time to watch all this stuff but the teenagers stay up late and insist on talking to me! BTW, it's usually "tidbits" over here.

Muddling Along Mummy said...

This is a great thing - you're going to save me having to work out what is good to watch when it comes over to the UK

Is it me though, or is all US TV starting to become a bit samey

Nicola said...

havent't seen this one. but did watch Cougar Town with courtney cox last night. i think this service is going to come in quite handy for me, because i don't tend to watch US dramas or really be aware of what's on and what's not. Some of my friend's at home watch more American TV than I do. So this will be a good way for me to sort the wheat from the chaff. And having said that I don't think I am going to bother with this particular show. NEXT!!

nappy valley girl said...

Expat Mum - it was only because it was on at 10pm that I got to watch it, as Littleboy 1 has taken to refusing to go to bed until 9pm....grrr.

MAM- Well, I think there is so much American TV that it's difficult to generalise. There are some great programmes, like Mad Men, that stand out among the rest, and some truly appalling ones that never make it to our shores. In general, I don't think it is any more samey here than in the UK - programme makers tend to copy popular formats and themes....

Nicola - what did you think of Cougar Town? I watched it too, and was a bit disappointed. In fact, that was going to be my next review, although I might wait a couple of weeks and see if it gets any better.

Domestic Rebel said...

Ooh I look forward to watching this when it comes over here - if only the first one (I'm rubbish at TV commitment) - loved Julianna Margulies in ER and was wondering when she'd be back.

I hope it doesn't progress as stereotypically as it seems (from your description) to have begun. It's a sensitive topic and while the programme makers aren't exactly 'breaking new ground', it would be a shame for this to end up as one-dimensional as it has the potential to be.

A Modern Mother said...

Call me crazy, but I still pick sleep over a medicore tv drama. How do you find the time?!

nappy valley girl said...

Domestic Rebel - I'll let you know if it gets better. Often the premieres of shows are a bit misleading, I think.

Susanna - Know how you feel. I don't watch that much TV, but I find an hour or so before bed helps me to relax sometimes. I'm still tucked up by 11pm most nights!