June 9th, 2004


The verdict on The Jury

As text-messaged to scarcrest partway through the second episode: "It's not Homicide, but then again, what is?"

After viewing, I think the biggest problem with The Jury is also its biggest selling point. First of all, the sheer number of characters is a lot under any circumstances: the judge, the attorneys, the baliff, the defendant, the victim, the families, and most importantly, the jury. Since you have a different jury every week, that's twelve new characters you see only once. Which means there's no time for characterization, and lots of stock characters having the same arguments. The pilot featured a race argument, the second episode a corporate lawyer who's desperate to get back to his merger and wants to rush through the verdict.

One of the greatest strengths of television, as opposed to movies, is that you have time to really explore the characters. The Jury, by definition, negates that.

That's not to say it's bad television. Actually, it should please fans of Law and Order in particular, I think. There are some promising moments; I love the banter between the court officers, but please, drop the silly dork-lusting-after-pretty-girl subplot!

All in all, it's worth giving a shot, and I'm hopeful that it'll improve if it has time to find its sea legs (always questionable at Fox), but it just doesn't give me the rush I get from The Shield or The Wire. It's just... far more pedestrian than I'd expect from Fontana/Levinson/Yoshimura, like they're trying to be Dick Wolf instead of just being themselves. In other words, it's not Homicide, and it's time for fangirl me to accept that there's never going to be another Homicide.

(And it suuuuuuuucks having to make this entry. This is supposed to be the part where I tell you how great it is and become a trendsetter. But all I've got is my opinions, and I won't change them even for the television gods. Damn, this sounds pathetic. Like I'm a reject from Television Without Pity.)
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    disappointed somewhat disappointed