Hail a new prophet of the small screen
PROPHECY. Well, why not? We already have Simon Baker playing a reformed pseudo-psychic sleuth on Nine, solving crime with mentalism. Make way for the new hope of the side at Seven, Jonny Lee Miller as lawyer Eli Stone, a sceptic whose close encounters with unusual phenomena lead straight to courtroom victories.
Miller’s Stone was quickly established last week, in what was the pilot for the series, as a man who admits worshipping a wholly worldly trinity: Armani, accessories and ambition.
Favoured by the managing partner of San Francisco’s Wethersby, Posner and Klein, Stone is climbing the ladder nicely, holding his own against all comers and engaged to the boss’s daughter, when he starts hearing things. The work of that episode was in discerning what the auditory hallucinations meant and figuring out how to stop them. Neither was simple.
In the process, he visited the Himalayas and revisited a painful childhood, while taking on a big pharmaceutical company in court on behalf of an old friend, a radical departure from his purely ambitious professional agenda.
This is slick, confident television, not badly written and well structured. It is easy to pick favourites from early on. The blonde fiancee Taylor ( Natasha Henstridge) starts out boring, turns nasty, then sidles towards redemption, but will have to work a lot harder to win more fans than Stone’s middle-aged and buxom secretary Patti ( Loretta Devine), who is instantly lovable because she has such a mouth on her.
The only hitch is that very soon after we meet Stone, he changes from a tough, ruthless, hard-heart into a bemused, confused and vulnerable
Losing the edge: The law is in Jonny Lee Miller’s hands on guy juggling a situation beyond his control. And he stays that way, more Goofy than Gordon Gekko.
Would his boss, Jordan Wethersby ( Victor Garber), really have persisted with him?
The only remnants of Stone’s former edge were portrayed early in flashback scenes with monologue wiped and music overlaid, of him marching up and down next to a conference table full of people, ranting and raving. It appears that when his mental capacity alters to embrace, however unwillingly, the apparent supernatural, his bite and acidity escape into the ether. That said, the show is entertaining, a nice take on the fish-out-of-water theme. Acupuncturist cum counsellor Dr Chen ( James Saito), whom our hero consults in desperation, is up there with the feisty Patti in terms of charm, and makes a nice pairing with the afflicted Stone’s neurologist brother Nathan ( Matt Letscher). Between the MRI and the tiny needles, Stone’s head is the object of much attention, and all look set for a bumpy ride.
This fashion series has been on before, but it is an eye-opener for all the designers out there dreaming of bigger things. This afternoon, meet Nic Briand and Susien Chong of the label Lover, who rose quickly from the obscurity of a stall at Sydney’s Bondi market to the pages of in the US. Say what you will about punky pop princess Pink ( real name Alecia Moore), but it’s hard to argue with 22 million albums sold. And if you were wondering how a small venue such as the Studio at the Sydney Opera House would handle an aggressive young star with an ego the size of Montana, the answer is it doesn’t have to. Intimate live shows are known as Max Sessions, not to be confused with Max Masters. This is just a local interview bound together with a few videos and some concert footage from elsewhere. Miss Pink is eloquent about her rise to fame and her unbending sense of self. Conmen have never before been made to look so glamorous. Tonight this is particularly apparent as Mickey ( Adrian Lester) and Billy ( Ashley Walters, pictured) settle an old power struggle by being dropped naked into the middle of London to see who can collect the most money using only charm. Yes, I know it sounds like a common nightmare. Let’s just be glad Albert ( Robert Vaughn) didn’t have to do it.