"The Court" Review
By Shawn McKenzie 03/28/2002
Why is it that TV show producers always come up with their ideas at the same time? The latest example of this is Supreme Court shows, witnessed by the premieres of CBS's "First Monday" and ABC's "The Court."
Both shows have the same premise: The latest appointment to the Supreme Court by the President has to deal with both liberal and conservative justices' viewpoints and tries to stay objective. They are both working with the former office staff of the previous justice, who themselves are like a junior version of the justices.
How do they differ? Mainly in the writing. I would also say the performances, but the normally first-rate actors in "First Monday" (like James Garner and Joe Mantegna) do what they can with the horrible material they are given, so I can't blame them. The stories are so hokey and the characters are so caricatured that I couldn't help rolling my eyes during the first episode (which happens to be the only episode I watched.)
"The Court" however is much better. It stars two-time Oscar, two-time Golden Globe, and two-time Emmy winning actress Sally Field as Justice Kate Nolan, the new appointee. In addition to having to deal with her new responsibilities and the differing viewpoints, she has to defend her past, a la The Contender, to Harlan Brandt, a pesky reporter who is trying to dig up dirt on her, played by Craig Bierko (The Thirteenth Floor.)
The writing is much better than the writing in "First Monday," but it still has room for improvement. "The Court" is a show I can see improving as it goes, unlike "First Monday." Sally Field really needs to grow more into her role, but I can see that happening too. "First Monday" is just a disaster of a show that I can't see improving or growing.
One more thing: both shows have been compared to "The West Wing" in terms of style. I can see "First Monday's" attempt to try to emulate that style (unsuccessfully), but "The Court" has it's own style. Fleshing it out will be the fun part of watching its evolution.
In case you were curious, my rating for "First Monday":
DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!
Try to catch this show every week...
If a better show is on, tape this one...
If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...
If this show is on, change the channel immediately!