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The Good Wife - season 1


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#1 of 70 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted September 23 2009 - 03:26 AM

Juliana Marguiles gives network TV another try (after her failed "Canterbury's Law" show on Fox) and returned in "The Good Wife".  The basics: Marguiles's character is the wife of a politician embroiled in an infidelity scandal, and she picks up the pieces and goes back to a life of lawyering.

This airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on CBS.  There's a repeat later on Saturday at 9 p.m.

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#2 of 70 OFFLINE   pitchman

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Posted September 23 2009 - 05:00 AM

I thought it was a decent premiere and an okay premise. The courtroom scenes in particular were pretty well staged IMO. I enjoyed seeing Josh Charles and thought his pairing with Marguiles worked well in the handful of scenes they shared. To me personally though, I found the whole "good wife" backstory the least compelling and least interesting aspect of the show. I hate the title because it doesn't really reflect the true focus of the show's "legal drama" nature, but CBS has shown in the past that they know how to make this kind of series work...regardless of an awkward show title. For my money, I just wish they called it something else, got rid of the political scandal backdrop, and had come up with a different reason to have Marguiles back in the workforce and joining the firm.
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#3 of 70 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted September 23 2009 - 10:05 AM

As someone who state has a governor (and former prosecutor) with an appetite for prostitutes not too long ago, it was the premise that drew me into the show. I've always wondered what happened to these false families that have been built around a man's political ambitions once his ego trips him up and ruins that game plan. Chris Noth got it just about right, I think, as the hard charging prosecutor who doesn't quite understand why his wife's so pissed about everything. I don't believe you can make these mistakes if you have a properly calibrated sense of your own worth and your responsibilities toward others. And at the same time, I'm glad Noth's character was portrayed as smart because I don't believe you can make it as far as he did being stupid -- even with a judge for a father.

The show is built around an all-star cast of B-listers: more, "Oh! I remember him/her from..." than "Holy crap! How'd they get ... to do television?" E.R. was built around Julianna Margulies for several years, and this pilot reminds you of why. Somehow she makes a wealthy, socialite lawyer and political wife into someone down-to-earth and relatable. Off the stage, Christine Baranski will always be remembered as Maryann Thorpe from Cybill. Her shrewish law associate here is more than familiar territory for her. Likewise, Josh Charles will never entirely escape Sports Night but his character was one of the few to really shine in this pilot. He is perhaps only decent post-pubescent male on the entire show. I like that he hired Margulies's character because he was a friend from law school -- not because of her husband's notoriety. I only saw Matt Czuchry a couple times on Gilmore Girls, but his faux-nice character here is probably the most obnoxious of them all. He's perfect at seeming so nice you want to stab him with a screwdriver. I liked Archie Panjabi just fine in the UK Life on Mars pilot. She's probably my favorite character here. Finally, it's hard to imagine Nicholas Cage's cute little daughter with the lisp in The Family Man as this gangly teenager calling to ask whether the rumors about Dad's hookers being her age are true or not.

I don't have anything else on Tuesdays at 10, so I'm probably sticking around.



#4 of 70 OFFLINE   pitchman

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Posted September 23 2009 - 11:10 AM

Good critique and excellent points, Adam. Although I currently live in Missouri, I'm a native Upstate New Yorker and I absolutely 'get' the Noth character and I think he is very solid in the role. I guess I was just saying (and apparently not very well) I thought that part of the story was superfluous and not as interesting (to me) as the Margulies lawyer storyline. I was not familiar with Archie Panjabi, but I agree, she is great in the role and it's a great character. Also like you, I'll be sticking around for a while... unless the wheels fall off.
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#5 of 70 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted September 23 2009 - 02:15 PM

Wow, could Alicia be the most sympathetic leading protagonist to head a lawyer show in quite some time?  But, it wasn't bad, still not sure if I can make the time to see it before the weekend, though (unless some other shows get canned and open up time during the week for me).


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#6 of 70 OFFLINE   Sylvia*ST

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Posted September 24 2009 - 07:37 AM

I truly loved this show, despite what I feel is a horrible title.  Margulies is superb as always and her understated playing of the character was welcome.  My quibble with the title is that it seems the show must move on from the scandal, yet it's always there in the title.  I thought all characters well-cast and played, and the writing very good.


#7 of 70 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted September 24 2009 - 10:28 AM

This has an interesting premise and I thought the story held together really well.

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#8 of 70 OFFLINE   Walter C

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Posted September 30 2009 - 08:08 AM

I just saw the Pilot, and hope they put the 2nd episode online soon. And I read it did pretty well in the ratings, which is very good news, considering it's in the troublesome slot for CBS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt 
"Oh! I remember him/her from..." than "Holy crap! How'd they get ... to do television?"
I find myself doing that, at the start of the episode, as they appeared. /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif


TV Episodes Watched - 2009 (1419 ep) / 2010 (1367 ep) / 2011 (1509 ep) / 2012 (1440 ep) / 2013 (1191 ep) / 2014 - October
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#9 of 70 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted September 30 2009 - 08:28 AM

I hope they're not setting Chris Noth up to be totally innocent. Innocent of the corruption charges, sure, but not of soliciting the prositute. Otherwise I'm still on board.

I also like that the lawyers ask permission to approach the witness. So many courtroom shows have the lawyers walking all over the place while interviewing the witnesses, but I've never seen a lawyer approach the witness when I've actually been in court.


#10 of 70 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted October 07 2009 - 03:12 PM

CBS gives it a full season pickup.

http://www.thrfeed.com/2009/10/cbs-picks-up-ncis-la-good-wife.html

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#11 of 70 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted October 07 2009 - 04:26 PM

Good, it deserves it. To my great surprise, it's my favorite new show of the season. I loved Tuesday's episode, where she and the kids go back to their high-end neighborhood and realize their new more middle-class life might be less glamorous, but it's more honest. There's not a bad actor in the bunch, and the kids aren't used as props for a change.


#12 of 70 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted October 08 2009 - 01:35 PM

Boo to Cary for propping his settlement skills and undercutting Alicia's contribution to the case.

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#13 of 70 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted October 08 2009 - 02:35 PM

The thing is, in the end it won't matter. A better litigator is a better litigator. He may get to keep the associate position after the six months, but Alicia is still going to be the more successful lawyer on the long run.


#14 of 70 OFFLINE   pitchman

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Posted October 14 2009 - 05:32 AM

This has quickly turned into an extremely well-written, well-acted legal drama. Although it easily wins its timeslot each week, the audience numbers seem to dip a bit with each outing. I'm not sure that the Tuesday night NCIS duo is the best and most compatible lead-in for this program. Perhaps Sunday night at 9 p.m. might be a better fit. About the only thing I still struggle with is the Chris Noth storyline, but I have to say I thought it was used effectively last night. Even if Noth somehow manages to get released from prison, from what we know about Alicia, there is no way in hell she's going to take him back. I don't know where the story goes from there that it can add any meaningful dramatic weight to the rest of the proceedings.

I'm happy CBS gave it a full-season pickup. I hope they protect and nurture it so it doesn't wind up as yet another "one and done" series.

Gary

#15 of 70 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted October 20 2009 - 04:20 PM

This show has some of the best female portrayals on television. It doesn't empower its women at the expense of its men, but it does acknowledge that the decisions of everyone are complex and often fraught. The final scene between Diane and Kalinda was perhaps the best written and acted scene of I've seen this year. So much was going on, entirely conveyed through subtext. One of many moments on the show where the audience is trusted to get it right. Alicia is still portrayed as basically superhuman, but more flaws are starting to surface. These flaws make her no less sympathetic as a protagonist, because she grapples with them in an honest and considerate way. Will is less obviously decent than he first appeared, and Peter is less obviously awful than he first appeared. Alicia's prison visits are some of the most interesting moments of each episode. Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth really convey years and years of history between Alicia and Peter, and each has a level of respect for the other's intelligence that you wouldn't expect from a philanderer and his oblivious wife. Alicia's success during Peter's incarceration has surprised him, but he's not such a small man that he resents it. If anything, it has made Alicia interesting to him again in a way that she hadn't been for years as the loyal housewife. He is also a good father who cares about his kids' well-being, and cognizant of what Alicia has done to keep them emotionally intact in the face of his extraordinarily humiliating failings. Speaking of the children, I'm really amazed at how great of a job the show does at portraying them as neither naive idiots nor neurotic, verbose thirtysomethings in teenage bodies. They both come across as decent and intelligent, but very much 15 and 16 years old.


#16 of 70 OFFLINE   Garrett Adams

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Posted October 21 2009 - 09:19 AM

I've like the show since the beginning. Half-way through last night's episode I thought to myself that this is one of the smartest shows I've seen in a long time.

#17 of 70 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted October 22 2009 - 04:24 PM

I also am pleasantly surprised that this has become must-see tv for me.  

I never watch tv live--Tivo everything.  This is one of the few shows that I consistently watch as soon as possible after recording, while some of my former favorites languish on the Tivo for a week before I get around to watching them.

As others have mentionned one of the great aspects of this show is that it trusts the viewer to catch and enjoy it's subtlety instead of hitting us over the head with plot points.  Certainly rises above the glut of police procedurals. 

This and Castle are my two favorite new dramas.
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#18 of 70 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted November 03 2009 - 05:38 PM

Frustrating ending tonight. Are judges that petty in real life? Almost certainly. Especially if they're elected.

They're really making the new state's attorney scummier than scum. We'll see how that plays out.


#19 of 70 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted November 05 2009 - 02:18 PM

I've not watched this week's episode yet; but I was wondering if I was the only person watching it. This is my favorite new show this season. I feared it was into merely another lawyer procedural -- which I suppose it is -- but it's wholly engaging, with great characters.


#20 of 70 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted November 10 2009 - 04:35 PM

Really strong episode tonight. I've seen more than my fair share of Orthodox Jew religious persecution episodes in my time, so I was ready for a real groaner. For the most part, though, they avoided the usual cliches and pontifications with an ending that made the religious angle completely irrelevant. I found it fascinating seeing Alicia faced with her first real romantic possibility since her husband's imprisonment, not counting the overtones in her relationship with Will. Speaking of Will, there was a moment in this episode that perfectly demonstrates what makes this show a step above: At the social justice lawyer's storefront office, Alicia learns that Will dragged out a court case until the toddler's death in order to reduce the liability. (Incidentally, Holiday Inn did the same thing with my grandmother: she tripped over a piece of rebar jutting up through crumbling concrete next to a handicap parking spot and took a nasty fall. Her health was already fragile, and the incident sent her into a slow and miserable decline; by delaying the case until she died, Holiday Inn settled with her estate for a tiny fraction of what the living woman would have got.) In a lesser show, Alicia would have stormed into Will's office and demanded to know how he could do such a horrible thing. Instead, she carries on with her day. Will asks how it's going with the outside lawyer, she begins to bring it up and then decides it's not worth it. When Will unabashedly admits it later, noting that he was merely representing his client and Alicia accepts that. It's ugly, but that's part of life and Alicia knows it. In the mean time, we the audience see our white knight character turn one shade darker gray.

On the flip side of things, Alicia's son seems to have found proof that at least some of the incriminating evidence against his father was doctored. I'm okay with Peter not being the over-the-top awful guy he was made out to be in the pilot, but I want to reiterate how much I hope they don't make him too squeaky clean. Not guilty of the abuse of office claims, I can accept. But the whole show is built around the idea that he was a philandering tool. The affairs at the very least have to be real.