With several new series set to premiere this Winter, I'm resurrecting my occasional pilot watch feature to share my first impressions of the upcoming shows. Up today: Eli Stone, which premieres after Lost this Thursday.
What's it about? A ruthless San Francisco attorney starts seeing visions of George Michael and learns that he's either 1) a prophet, or 2) dying of a brain aneurysm.
Who's in it? Jonny Lee Miller, Victor Garber, Loretta Devine, Natasha Henstride
The good: Eli Stone is the comfort food version of TV: easy to watch, not too challenging, and ultimately satisfying. The show's executive producer — Greg Berlanti of Brothers & Sisters and Dirty Sexy Money — knows how to make good television, and it shows in the way the first episode of Eli balances its weighty moments, comedy, and bizarre musical fantasies. Jonny Lee Miller, cleaned up since his Trainspotting days, is a total charmer as the conflicted main character having to face both his own mortality and the fact that he might need to do something besides screw the little guy out of millions.
The bad: Eli is pretty quirky — though not Pushing Daisies or even Ally McBeal quirky — and it won't be everyone's cup of tea. The show has the potential to get cheesy fast, though at least for now, the way it acknowledges its own cheesiness (part of the pilot revolves around Eli's stereotypical visits to a Chinese acupuncturist who later turns out not to be Chinese at all) is part of the fun. It's also a weird show to pair with Lost, though that isn't the show's fault.
Will I watch? Definitely. It's purely enjoyable: the TV equivalent of a nice, heaping plate of mashed potatoes or a hot grilled cheese on a cold night, which is just what I need in the midst of the writers' strike.
To check out a gallery of photos and clips from the premiere, just read more
One of the most intriguing shows of the Winter TV season is ABC's Eli Stone, which will premiere Jan. 31 immediately after the season premiere of Lost. The show, about a ruthless, soulless attorney who starts having visions of dead relatives and George Michael, is the latest from TV producer extraordinaire Greg Berlanti, who counts Brothers & Sisters and Dirty Sexy Money among his hits.
Jonny Lee Miller of Trainspotting and the short-lived Smith stars as Eli, who is either a spiritual prophet or the victim of a destructive brain aneurysm — take your pick. The chief symptom, from the clips I've seen so far, seems to be that Eli constantly hears George Michael's "Faith." (Watching said clips has led to a condition in which I also constantly hear "Faith," but I'm pretty sure I'm no prophet.) Eventually, though, Eli will start using his visions — and his newfound soft side — for good, taking on his own law firm and working for the little guy instead.
I'm not sure how well this show will match with Lost, but it's a quirky enough premise that I'm planning to give it a shot. Plus, I have a hard time saying no to anything with Victor "Jack Bristow" Garber. What about you? To watch the trailer and a couple of clips from the premiere episode, just read more