Friday, February 1, 2008

I Don't Gotta Have Faith

I was all set to blog away about the return of "Lost" today. Then I made the mistake of keeping my television running after it debuted. "Lost" will have to wait because right now I'm mad about wasting an hour with ...

"Eli Stone"

I am not a devout guy. For good or ill, that's just the way it is. But even I have more respect for religion, spirituality, and yes, faith than the writers and producers of ABC's new drama, "Eli Stone."

For them -- and "they" are Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim -- spirituality is a hallucination, a brain aneurysm, a lawyer's trick, mystical gobbledygook spouted by a sham acupuncturist, and finally, the obviously fake digital ashes of a cremated doofus spilling out of a Chock Full O' Nuts coffee can.

Ho. Ho. Ho. How terribly post-ironic. Or something.

Eli Stone is a bad guy corporate attorney (are there any other types?) pursuing a case against a mother and her autistic child. Not that the show stacks the deck or anything. He hallucinates George Michael warbling away in his living room, finds out about the aforementioned aneurysm and has the kind of epiphany spoiled, overprivileged TV characters seem to have a monopoly on. "Maybe," he says (I'm paraphrasing here), "It would be better to help the mother and her autistic child, rather than destroy them."

Gasp. How very moral. Or something.

Jonny Lee Miller, who should know better, plays the title character with as much energy and charm as the script permits (i.e. a dram or so). The great Victor Garber (ditto) is in charge of the law firm and -- surprise! -- the father of Eli's fiance. Loretta Devine is sassy and black and not much else as Eli's assistant. And Laura Benanti is the mother in the case who -- surprise! -- Eli lost his virginity to in 1991.

Yawn. How incredibly dull. Period.

All of these moronic coincidences and contrivances are played out alongside overwrought moralizing and vague pronouncements about the nature of God and that thing George Michael says you gotta have. What was that again?

It's supposed to make you think it's all very deep, but it just sinks to the depths. Like a stone.

I'd like to pelt this show with rocks and garbage.

1/2 star

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