shadowkat: (Tv shows)
[personal profile] shadowkat
Off and on since May, my mother would ask me, "When's Bull start?" [I'm like, uh, what? I had to actually look it up for them. Turns out it wasn't that hard -- NYC's subways and billboards were littered with the ads.] See, American Television Studios have this odd habit of marketing their new tv shows about five to six months before they are slated to air, with the hopes of creating a certain level of anticipation. (In actuality, they just confuse the heck out of people, but that's a whole other post.) Apparently, my father was interested in it, they are huge NCIS fans and one of the actors from that show [Michael Weatherly, who left NCIS last year] is playing the lead in Bull.

Also, Bull is a series that is co-created and co-written by the creator of House and Dr. Phil. (Yes, that Dr. Phil.) Apparently Dr. Phil McGraw, prior to becoming a popular and beloved television shrink psychologist with his own self-help series, entitled "Dr. Phil" championed by Oprah, was a high-paid jury consultant.

n 1990, McGraw joined lawyer Gary Dobbs in co-founding Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI), a trial consulting firm through which McGraw later came into contact with Oprah Winfrey. Eventually, CSI became a profitable enterprise, advising Fortune 500 companies and injured plaintiffs in achieving settlements. McGraw is no longer an officer or director of the company.

Little known to most people, high-profile cases hire jury consultants. What these people do is profile the jury throughout the case. Whether this is truly effective is debatable. And since they tend to cost a lot, only high profile clients make use of them. But it is an actual career, and the series is loosely based on Dr. Phil McGraw aka Dr. Phil's real experiences as a jury consultant, and he is a co-executive producer.
[I looked into doing it once. Being a jury consultant, not co-executive producing a television series, well actually I looked into that too...]

The show is set up as a sort of legal procedural version of HOUSE, sans the charismatic Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edlesteian, and Robert Scean Leonard, who let's face it made that show work -- not the show-runner.

From a legal procedural standpoint, it's rather boilerplate. We have the tormented genius lead, who solves cases, and his team of helpers, who cater to his needs. The legal courtroom hijinks, which make trial litigation deceptively more entertaining than it actually is. Litigation, as anyone who has ever served on an American jury knows, is in reality about as interesting as watching grass grow. It's not Perry Mason, it's the OJ Simpson Trial - where you spend hours trying to figure out if you can admit an ill-fitting bloody glove into evidence. Actually, the only television series that got it right to date is The Good Wife.

The characters are interesting but not that compelling. And the mystery...well, the solution sort of fell in out of the blue. It wasn't built well. Or it could have been built a bit better. The story was less about who did it, and more about how to get the kid, who luckily was innocent, off.

The other problem is...that the clients are all wealthy and he can only help the wealthy clients, because no one else can afford him. So, basically, privileged rich people who get away with murder.
Not sure how many people want to watch that each week. Made me feel a bit on the skeevy side.

I think whether you like it or not hinges a great deal on Michael Weatherly's performance as Bull. I'm not a huge fan of Weatherly, who was previously in Dark Angel and on NCIS. While I adored Hugh Laurie, and watched House mainly because of him. Also, the degree to which you find jury manipulation and consulting interesting. I tuned in because I found the jury consultant bit interesting, but it's not interesting enough to me to hold my interest week after week.

It should be noted that I'm not a fan of procedurals, generally speaking. I rarely watch them and when I do, they rarely hold my interest. Particularly criminal and legal procedurals. Medical procedurals -- I'm more likely to watch, since I know zip about that field. I know a bit too much about legal and criminal procedure for the television version to hold my interest. I have a tendency to nit-pick, which throws me out of the show.

However, my parents are fans of the procedural format, not only that, they were looking forward to seeing Bull. They watched it last night, after NCIS. The verdict? They weren't impressed. My mother didn't think it worked. It wasn't believable, and she felt the mystery was clumsily handled. Also she didn't really like anyone that much.

So...I've cancelled it. Two new shows, watched, both cancelled after the pilot. About 100 to go. (I'm kidding, in reality, I'll only watch about 20 of them, if that.)
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