Hail a new prophet of the small screen

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

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.

Jill Row­botham

Eli Stone

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.

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