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Shark: Like House But With Lawyers


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#571

NMdum1

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Posted May 11, 2008 @ 11:02 AM

The British channel Five is showing the second season now on Friday nights, they've just aired the Medical Examiner-come-murderer aka 'look, Jess does have a personal life' episode. The lovely company is also re-airing the first season on its digital spin-off channel FiveUS on Saturday evenings. Martin is still alive. I believe he buys the farm next week. Particularly amusing was that they showed both episodes where friends of Jessica turned out to be seriously, even murderously dodgy on the same weekend. It was either some coincidence or a delicious piece of scheduling.

Anyway, I've noticed that there are some basic rules to these things, the Golden Rules of Shark if you will -

1. Thou Shalt not doubt the genius of Stark - you shall be made to look foolish
2. Thou Shalt only do what Stark says at Trial - you shall surely kill the Prosecution if you don't
3. Thou Shalt not testify against the mob - it will get icky
4. Thou Shalt not be a friend of Jessica's - you will go to prison
5. Thou Shalt not doubt that there will be a plot twist in Act Three - because there is in every episode
6. Thou Shalt not be a Defence Attorney - they are the scum of the Earth
7. Thou Shalt not be a Bratty Teen - you will have to be redeemed
8. Thou Shalt not be an arrogant Attorney - you will be humiliated
9. Thou Shalt not be Stupid - because that's what Casey was for
10. Thou Shalt not be a Judge - because apparently they don't have a damn clue what they are doing
11. Thou Shalt not have secrets to hide
12. Thou Shalt not be a villain - 'cos you are going down even if they have to break every rule in the book to do it
13. Thou Shalt not be a Serious Legal Professional - because this lot makes everybody else look bad and rarely experiences consequences
14. Thou Shalt not be the Significant Other of one of the Heroes - because either you die (Olivia and evidently Jess has managed it too) and Stark's divorced
15. Thou Shalt not be anywhere near somebody with a bad shot - RIP Martin

I think I've done pretty well and covered it. I practically count down to the 'twist' round about Act 3, have you noticed how its always round about there when they realise that either a) they've got the wrong guy, b) they've got the right guy for different reasons or c) they've got the right guy but they didn't do it in the way that was assumed.

I also imagine that Jess is making a few trips up to prison every now and then 'cos she's got at least one person whose still a pal in the Big House. Only one more and she's got the hat-trick! Go girl!

I'm not sure that Julie could be that much more up her own ass at times but then the father-daughter stuff is usually the weak part. Saying that, its nice that its a father-daughter rather than a father-son or a mother-son, its a little more awkward and intense that way.

I am convinced this is actually a subtly disguised screwball comedy complete with ridiculous and unbelievable plot-twists, a constant flow of barbs between the oh so pretty leads, the Straight Man or in this case Woman (Ryan is officially the Queen of Snark - I am a pretty hardcore Trekkie and how that woman managed to get humour out of simply quirking her left eyebrow and the pretend implant stuck to it I will never know, but it was all "you are beneath me" and weird and most of the time hilarious, although since she wasn't allowed to smile or show much emotion I guess she had to do something). More snappy comebacks please! Oh and there's the mandatory weird chemistry and happy ending.

This was supposed to be a lot more serious than it turned out....

#572

oufti

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Posted May 11, 2008 @ 1:01 PM

How was Casey's departure explained? It just seems like he just disappeared.

I've just watched this episode and I was exactly thinking the same thing.
Well, I liked Casey. They should have keep him around.

#573

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Posted May 11, 2008 @ 11:06 PM

How was Casey's departure explained? It just seems like he just disappeared.

As I recall, there was a quick mention that Casey left to go work on his father's political campaign.

#574

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Posted May 14, 2008 @ 11:24 AM

How do they explain Jess's disappearance, then? Westlake has been filling in her shoes since the first post-strike episode. I know, Jeri Ryan is on mat-leave, but is there any in-show explanation?

So, does Stark now work with the Attorney General's office?

#575

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Posted May 14, 2008 @ 11:41 AM

Are Raina and Isaac still dating? I missed a lot of episodes from this season but in the recent ones, they have barely talked to each other. Thanks

#576

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Posted May 14, 2008 @ 7:09 PM

This blows. They canceled Shark. Why must CBS continue to toy with my emotions by giving me shows I love and then taking them away?

#577

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Posted May 14, 2008 @ 10:30 PM

I'm not very surprised that they cancelled Shark. While I like the show, it never seemed to find its groove. I really hope someone grabs up Jimmy Woods for some other series that would better suit his talents.

#578

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Posted May 15, 2008 @ 1:32 AM

This is weird, I thought the ratings were doing okay. Its a weird time in the show's continuity anyway, lead character elsewhere and working for somebody else, lead female AWOL.

Funny thing is I normally get into things well after they start and they are sort of chugging along very nicely and then they reach a respectable length and decide to go out 'on a high', whatever that means. No longer it seems. 'Farscape' was the only exception to the rule, particularly after the truly mindblowing season 4 cliffhanger. Now I can add this to the list of "huh, you've got to be kidding me?" And why the hell pick it up post-strike then? Its a bit curious, logic suggests there's a lot of people who bow at the altar of Jeri Ryan (a friend phrases it just like that - he has a rather big crush predictably) and therefore the same people might be less inclined to watch right now. For all the madness of the writing as I laid out in my previous post, she is one of the two things that ground it at least somewhat. Why come back when you don't have both your really big draws? That is after all what gives this the modicum of heart. Why send your lead away from the core of the show and split the audience? Its bad timing really, you can slip the Duo for a bit, but you can't do that when one of them ain't there, it hurts the credibility. In a sense that must have been a factor that hurt them bad in the long-run. Look's like maternity leave isn't going to be leave right away anyway....

And Jeri Ryan is continuing her relatively unobserved talent of being part of a show that gets the can unceremoniously, Voyager being the single exception. Some people might argue that she killed Dark Skies, but that's only one way of putting it.

Label under - great idea, damn shame.

Oh well, me senses CBS executives will be bombarded with large quantities of Executive Barbies or some such nonsense very shortly....

#579

Cancer Man

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Posted May 19, 2008 @ 5:15 PM

NMdum1, I also get the impression Jeri Ryan could be seen as unlucky, but Dark Skies was heading towards cancellation anyway by the time she was casted in the last half dozen episodes of that long forgotten cult series and Boston Public still ran a reasonable three years after she joined, while she was with Shark from the begining and it never objectively did badly popularity wise with Shark's artificial cancellation partially the result of CBS's flawed ideolgy of hunting for the 18 to 49 demographic (likely cost cutting as well, compounded by the ridiculous Writer's Strike, with maybe FOX snapping up Shark for it's own use in the near future instead, but that remains to be seen).

#580

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Posted May 20, 2008 @ 10:12 PM

Overall, pretty predictable. Only thing that shocked me was Wayne giving up at the end, and that made it seem too easy, so kind of a let down.

What wouldn't have been predictable is if Shark actually shot Wayne in front of his daughter, that would have been an interesting way for the series to end. shark has done a lot of awful things, so I wouldn't put it past him.

i don't find Wayne at all charismatic (from the beginning), so I have no idea why so many people find him so interesting. I was hoping beyond hope that the sergeant woman who became his crony was undercover or something, but it turns out she actually killed someone for him, and then died. Oh well.

#581

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Posted May 20, 2008 @ 11:35 PM

Well, have to say that I'm glad it's over, and it's over for good.

The premise in season 1 was interesting. Just like the thread episode, "Like House but with Lawyers". However, the almost the whole season 2 jumping the sharks several times (no pun intended). It's just unbearable to see him and his team breaking laws and ethics and get away with everything.

#582

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Posted May 21, 2008 @ 10:29 PM

Shark did kind of lose it's way. Some critics say that James Woods overwhelmed his own show, which he sort of did. I also think they didn't really keep up the "high profile crime" concept. Even some episodes I liked (mostly from the first season) kind of pushed the idea that the crimes were "high profile" enough to garner attention from Stark's "special office."

#583

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Posted May 22, 2008 @ 3:11 PM

From the reports I've read, the original business concept was "We'll be able to afford Woods and some high production values because courtroom dramas only use a few sets and aren't very expensive to produce." Law and Order without the Order segments, basically. Or Boston Legal, which also spends its money on the actors and the overall quality, not locations and special effects.

Only...the producers (including Woods) kept pushing to "expand the horizons" of the show. They completely ignored the existence of the LAPD, for the most part, and had the DA's office doing all its own investigation. They started using a lot of sets and more location shots, including stunts and effects. They moved further and further away from a courtroom drama. Every time you saw a gun fired instead of just hearing about it in the courtroom, the costs in both time and money went up.

It's arguable whether this made the show better or worse (personally, I think worse, but I know opinions vary). However, what it did do was make it much more expensive as well as logistically more complex to produce.

So they went from solid ratings for a quality courtroom show with star power to solid ratings for an increasingly expensive detective show whose star was no longer carrying over half the airtime.

Many negotiating meetings to try and find a resolution, but ultimately the show that the producers wanted to make wasn't the show that the network wanted to pay for.

I'm one of those who really enjoyed the first half of the first season. But once it went from high profile courtroom prosecutions to street-based investigative work, the edges blurred for me, and it became too much like a lot of other shows.

Edited by marty118, May 22, 2008 @ 6:04 PM.


#584

thatsforsure

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Posted May 22, 2008 @ 5:03 PM

And they really, really needed less of the daughter drama. It really ruined the flow of the episodes a lot of times.

#585

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Posted May 22, 2008 @ 6:12 PM

And they really, really needed less of the daughter drama. It really ruined the flow of the episodes a lot of times.


Agreed. I found both the daughter and the Mayor far more interesting in their "goody two shoes" roles at the beginning of the series. With Jess as the political atagonist to the Mayor. Once the daughter turned to the dark side of teenage moronic behaviour and the Mayor turned out to be pretty sleazy on multiple counts, the counterweight to Shark's personality was largely gone. I actually liked him a lot better as a Han Solo/Jack Sparrow kind of "My morality is whatever it takes to win" but now working on the side of the good guys than as as the self-righteous, self-justifying vigilante he became.

By the end of the series, Shark was a lot more like the East India Company representative than the lovable pirate. Both are untrustworthy, but Shark lost a lot of charisma as he got more certain that he was doing the right thing.

#586

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Posted May 23, 2008 @ 5:39 PM

In some ways it would have been a hell of a lot cooler to pit Stark against Devlin frequently, one week one wins, the other week the other wins, it could go either way, 'Adam's Rib' without the comedy or the marriage but you know, kind of a fun rivalry, its pretty clear they respected each other's professional skills even if they didn't get along as people and she despised his methods. She's best up his backside and keeping him on a leash and he was awfully tamed in the second season. Madeline stated in the Pilot that she wanted to go into defence, she'd make a pretty cool sidekick to Stark's deviousness if he was still a defence attorney, maybe Danny might justify his in-ability to follow the rules to get Jess a victory.

I don't know, the idea that Stark "never looses" is pretty crap because in life all lawyers have to loose occasionally, even the best ones, or deal out unsatisfactorially.

I also note that the way they used the seemingly obvious conflicts of interest that should come up frequently with switching teams far more effectively in the first season than they tried in the second, 'Dial M for Monica' being the definite example. The body burial was just to underscore the redemption arc, not to suggest that he literally and figuratively knew where the bodies were buried for all the rich clients he had who supposedly just had to pick up a phone and get him to buy their way out of trouble. I wanted him to be more devious and have to find ways to manipulate the knowledge he had without having to constantly break client-attorney privilege whilst still being chewed out by a Jess who seemed to tolerate far too much (as did the supposed bleeding heart Raina, but that's another story) for it all the while. I don't think a guy like that would 'change' fundamentally, I think he would adapt but not have a 'St Paul on the Road to Damascus'-type conversion and turn into a self-righteous hypocrite as he is in-danger of becoming.

He was also skating awfully close to sexually harrassing Jess more than once although I suppose that's perspective and she seemed more able to tolerate it than I would be in her position, perhaps she was interested and just expressed it with disdain because it was an 'against my better judgement' kind of thing? I didn't think that many come-ons of his were pithy or funny, they were really just a rich, white, older dude blatantly oogling an attractive, successful woman who was his boss and didn't need to tolerate it for a second and not having the decency to tone it down. Then again this might just be my internal radar for rats, super-rats and men who should crawl under a rock talking....

#587

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Posted May 23, 2008 @ 8:37 PM

I'm so sad that Shark got so bad. I liked S1, but then they kill Martin, Casey leaves, they give Julie the always stupid and unlikeable junkie boyfriend drama, the cases start getting ridiculous, etc, etc.

It just fell apart. The only reason I kept watching was for Kevin Alejandro and they didn't even use him all that much. Also, I like to finish what I started. But it was painful and I missed a lot of episode too from loss of interest.

By the end of the series, Shark was a lot more like the East India Company representative than the lovable pirate. Both are untrustworthy, but Shark lost a lot of charisma as he got more certain that he was doing the right thing.


Exactly! Plus, the redemption, "I can't defend bad guys anymore" was so bland. Just because you're doing the right thing doesn't mean you have to become a piece of wood. TV and movies have this conception of good people being boring, uptight, lack of sense of humor, tortured and humble beyond anything. Stark didn't become this, but it seemed that he thought that's what it took and since he couldn't fully become that person, then he would just stay in between in the most boring and pathetic way possible.

Villains are fun, is the universal wisdom. They'll continue to be when "good" people are written as "nu!Shark."

As he got more passionate about the truth he should've become twice the Shark he ever was because he was fighting to atone, with a purpose, with a guilty conscience burning him at every turn. But using the old techniques didn't do him any good. Shark became lame and he didn't seem as brilliant and resourceful as before.

And on the overall show, don't even get me started on Julie. UGH! Horrible.

#588

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Posted May 24, 2008 @ 4:33 PM

True. Julie as the good person who doesn't break rules was a far more interesting dynamic than Julie as typical messed up teenager so Stark could be a "good dad."

I would have liked to see much more of Stark being brilliant in the courtroom because he would have been even better at defending the accused than the accused's own lawyer--a prosecutor who would be one step ahead of the clever strategem the defense was trying. Not someone who could derail the defense because he knew actual facts about them. But because he thought like they did. Then there's no attorney/client privilege issues. However, I'm sure those are much more difficult to write.

Which may be part of the whole problem. The medicine on House, for example, has become increasingly ridiculous as they run out of known practical one-episode examples of the kinds of cases that "only House can solve."

Law & Order is based on "ripped from the headlines" plots--well, there are new ones of those every day. Perry Mason had the already written books of Stanley Gardner to draw from, as Nero Wolfe could draw from Stout's books.

Basing an series on the notion that your central character can figure out things no one else can figure out requires a writing staff who can continually come up with those plots. I can't imagine that's easy.

#589

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Posted Jul 28, 2008 @ 7:28 AM

The show finale will be airing on Friday night here in the UK. I have to say that that season's went badly down hill. The first third wasn't too bad but particularly after the writer's strike the limitations showed. They couldn't solve the case without Stark, Danny was basically just there be the Anakin Skywalker to his Emperor Palapatine, Madeleine lost whatever edge she'd started with, Jordan was a blatant attempt to fill in the gap left by Jeri Ryan's absence. I wonder whether it would have been better to just say, "look, we've just missed a chunk of our arc (supposing they've had one), we're going to have to pull a bunch of stuff together that's not quite what we had in-mind as a result and we are missing half our draw (and Woods and Ryan were the ONLY reason to watch as far as I could see), lets wait until the new season starts and kick off fresh." Of course that supposes that the rumours that Woods wanted out of his contract aren't true in which case it wouldn't have mattered.

I actually didn't watch the whole of the Vegas episode. I was so bored half way through I turned off. It's never been scintilating exactly, but I've never actually turned the t.v. off before. You would have thought there were enough celebrity scandals and questionable business deeds and somewhat to keep them going somehow. It was pretty obvious that the Shark had grown a conscience so he couldn't defend his old client or men like him anymore.

They were really missing a sound arc. A Machiavellian plotline throughout pitting Stark (and Devlin) against Cutler and showing why Cutler convinced people to back him as DA in the first place. Indeed I would say misusing the Mayor considering his betrayal of Jess over the endorsement was an error of judgement too. Its such a political scenario and a very political workplace and it just doesn't fit in that context that the body burial shouldn't have been uncovered accidentally, as it were, but it would be much more interesting if it had come in the context of an on-going turf war with Cutler, an incomptent little man (as he's implied to be) battling with two superior lawyers. I would have loved it if Stark was playing at being more than just a dodgy guy at the time, if there was more going on to explain his silence on the Belkin death than just his greed and avarice (and this guy is the hero and we are supposed to sympathise with him and even 'ship him with Jess evidently?) In that sense there's at least three if not four sharks here, not just the title one. I have always loved that Jess could be ruthless, could be devious as hell but she knew where the line was and would not cross it and was absolutely determined to get her man.

I am also disappointed in a relative lack of Gloria Dent, who was fun but not quite as menacing as she was implied to be, it would have been cool to force her into a quandry because she knew her client was beyond the pale but she still had to defend him and look for a way to throw the case. An episode written from a different point of view would have been very cool, maybe something about how Stark's trying to manipulate a jury, first by setting up the jury and then how he's affecting their sympathies. Or how Elliot Dasher just disappeared after being strongly set up.

Shark will probably be remembered as a lot of style over substance and potential over execution, which is very sad indeed.

Edited by NMdum1, Jul 28, 2008 @ 7:29 AM.


#590

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Posted Sep 9, 2008 @ 11:33 PM

I was watching an episode of Cosby on TvLand. It was from 1985. the episode was Mr. Quiet. It's about a troubled kid at the community center. I thought the kid was pretty darn good. So, I looked the episode up on IMDB. The troubled kid was played by Alexis Cruz. His talent was obvious even that young.

#591

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Posted Jan 10, 2009 @ 9:59 AM

Where in the blue blazing the fuck is the DVD for Season Two?! I agree with consensus that it wasn't as hot as S1, but it still had millions of viewers worldwide to easily exploit, me included, and a few good episodes to revisit. Haven't these labotomised morons heard of torrent downloading? I wouldn't be surprised if Fox is behind this shit, since it senselessly ruined or obstructed many other TV shows on the DVD market.

Season Two had its moments, but I agree that they needed to creatively turn the show around in S3, but general corporate stupidity put paid to that. Shark wasn't the best show in the world, had a identity problem, but it had hope and deserved a third season. CBS is really getting a moribund network in recent years, the CSI brand is beginning to go on the wane, and the widly overpaid Leslie Moonves has lost touch with reality, not that the other American networks aren't in dire straights as well with ABC foolishly cancelling Pushing Daisies, and NBC cutting back on air time because of its general under performance. Network television is yet another fundamentally broken system in America that needs a drastic overhaul to avoid collapse.

#592

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Posted Feb 13, 2009 @ 3:25 PM

Where in the blue blazing the fuck is the DVD for Season Two?!

Excellent question, and thus we can all ponder again where it all went hideously wrong and giggle in the mid-period about how hard they are trying not to let Jeri look pregnant which she so did at times, that's a problem when you're sending a character into 'Every Breathe You Take' when she's trying to take down the stalker and you're thinking "don't send the pregnant lady into a hostage situation!" I tried to imagine somebody other than Holly Valance whom I loathe with the power of a thousand burning suns playing that tennis pro. And of course the bounty of utterly unintended comedy that was 'Dr Laura' - like we didn't see that one coming a mile off.

Beware, any show which begins its new season with an exploding bus is doomed to failure.

#593

Cancer Man

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Posted Feb 22, 2009 @ 9:50 PM

Shark was always sensationalist hokum that was mostly supported by Woods and Jeri, but it was still shortsighted and stupid for CBS to just shitcan it like that, when it was not doing that bad in the ratings (when many other shows with lower ratings and lower quality production trundle on and on and on).