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Primetime Show Reviews
Review by Suzanne 9/22/06
"Shark" has some things in common with the other new show
"Justice". Both shows are about high-powered defense attorneys in Los Angeles
who are not very likable people and use modern courtroom techniques and
electronics to win their cases (while grabbing the media spotlight). There are
two main differences.
At the beginning of "Shark", the attorney switches sides and becomes a
prosecutor instead. That is difference number one. Personally, I tend to like to
watch defense attorney shows because, at least on TV, they are largely there to
help the falsely accused. Prosecutors are there to put people on jail. It's true
that on TV they try to slant it toward how they are avenging the victim, or
helping the victim's family, but still it's hard for me to root for their side.
With shows like "Law & Order", it's not so much about rooting for one side or
the other but about the mystery of the crime--who did it and how will the catch
them? That doesn't seem to be the issue with Shark at all, so I don't know if I
will continue watching it or not.
The other difference is in the style of the show and the way it handles the
characteres. "Justice" is all about glitz, glamour, and snappy dialogue. The
lead character is not only unlikable, he has no family to soften him. He is
unlikable and his only redeeming quality seems to be that he's a great lawyer.
The show is not really about the characters or their lives, so they are rather
undefined. It is all about their work--how they get their defendent off and what
good lawyers they are.
Shark is completely different. While the main character is abrasive, he has a
daughter to make him more sympathetic. In fact, you might say the whole show is
about his redeeming himself. In the first episode, the client he defended for
attacking his wife kills her, and that makes him feel bad, which is why he takes
the DA's offer to join his team. He learns to use his shark lawyer techniques
but without being quite so unfeeling or uncaring as he was before. There is a
lot of "heart" in this show and it goes into the lives of the characters.
While the star of "Justice", Victor Garber, is a fine actor, he is no James
Woods (the star of "Shark"). James Woods is one of the best actors around,
period, so he is the main saving grace of his show. The writing is not nearly as
good or as tight as that of "Justice". Perhaps it will improve. If not, I hope
Woods can find a better show that will make it worth his while. Jeri Ryan (Star
Trek: Voyager and Boston Public) has a small role that I hope will grow. I don't
see much chemistry between her and Woods, but we are clearly supposed to think
there is. The only other actor I recognize is Sam Page, who is a very good actor
that has been on "All My Children" and many other primetime shows.
If you like a show that is one part law drama and two parts soap opera, you
should like "Shark". If you like fine acting more than great story, you should
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