Another in the line of recent network TV casualties, Eli Stone saw its second season get butchered with a sudden cancellation and an abrupt schedule removal which left the remaining episodes unaired until the summer when they needed material to burn off. The series was relentlessly being acclaimed by most reviewers and the packaging for this second (and final) season features no less than three quotes from various publications praising the series. Despite a decent fanbase, it wasn’t enough for ABC to hold onto the fledgling series, which failed to find much of an audience and before you knew it one of TV’s most promising new series was cut short.
Corporate litigator Eli Stone (Johnny Lee Miller) went from legal barracuda to cockeyed optimist overnight after suffering a brain aneurysm. Now instead of representing deep-pocketed corporations in court, he has musical visions that awaken a newfound social conscience. In Season Two of the most original legal drama on television, Eli convinces his hard-nosed boss Jordan Wethersby (Victor Garber) that pro bono is the way to go. But there’s no way Wethersby’s daughter (and Eli’s former fiancée) Taylor (Natasha Henstridge) is going to let her dad change the firm’s direction without a fight.
After watching the entire first season on DVD in a little under two days, I added Eli Stone to my list of shows to watch in the coming season. I never missed an episode and was quite shocked when the series was axed…although, to be honest, I wasn’t too surprised. The series had a little too much quirkiness going on for it to be a true hit with audiences, as it would flip flop between something that was overly religious to something that was as cheesy and predictable as your usual sitcom with individuals jumping into bed with one another. I’m not faulting the writers for this, however, as in the context of the show it worked…but in terms of trying to reel in an audience or finding something to advertise the show as, it definitely wasn’t the easiest show to spread to the masses.
You’d think the rotating roster of guest stars this season would’ve helped, what with Katie Holmes not only professing her love for the show but also starring in an episode with her own musical number. On top of that we had appearances by Sigourney Weaver and Seal, but no matter what the show was able to do with these guest stars, it wasn’t enough to garner new viewers. It’s a shame as the second season really started to go places and while the aneurysm thing got to be a bit annoying (not the fact it existed or what it caused, but more in that everyone just wouldn’t let it go), the series was still a lot of fun to watch.
More importantly the show just left you with a warm fuzzy feeling most of the time. Good people helping those in need and triumphing over evil is an easy formula to make work and the cast of Eli Stone did this in spades, while also dealing with the personal side plots that each character had. Unfortunately whatever goal this series was trying to work toward it was never really explored due to the random cancellation, leaving the writers no real time to wrap up the series in any way. Unfortunately the show is also not really popular or interesting enough to even warrant a movie or anything to wrap up the series either, which is also a shame, but a fact of the matter. It’s a fun show to watch, but as much as I was disheartened to hear it was cancelled, I also found myself not really caring. I was a fan of the series and would’ve liked to have seen it continue, but the second season didn’t do much with the thirteen episodes it was given to really matter.
Then again that may just be because of the massive gap between the first half and the second half. It was so bad that when they started to mention that “Grace” was Eli’s soul mate, I was wondering who they were talking about. Turns out it was Katie Holmes, whose episode had aired months prior and we hadn’t heard of her since, so her random name drop in the twelfth episode was incredibly disorienting. But that’s the breaks a show gets when a network mistreats it.
Overall this is a solid second season and Recommended to those who tuned into the first, but aside from some organizational change ups and extra drama added because of it, this isn’t all that different from the first season at all. But…it’s still fun to watch and that’s all that matters in the end.
Eli Stone arrives with its second season in a standard clear amaray case that houses the three discs required for this thirteen episode season. Packaging is similar to the first season, although the cardboard o-ring that accompanies this set isn’t fancy in the least…just a standard cardboard slip without any embossing or foil reflection. Video is a standard 1.78:1 presentation and it looks great, although having watched the series in HD previously the SD transfer here left a bit to be desired, but it was more than adequate for a series of this caliber. The DD5.1 mix was surprisingly thorough throughout the season, with a decent surround mixture as well as strong LFE output when the musical numbers called for it.
• Dancin’ In The Streets – Anyone who can’t get enough of Eli Stone’s musically gifted legal eagles (and who can?) will enjoy this look at the making of one of the show’s epic production numbers. The cast puts their dancing shoes on and gets ready to boogie at the legendary Capitol Records building, then takes their performance to the streets of Paramount Studios.
• Matt & Maggie – This featurette goes behind the scenes of Eli Stone from two very distinct points of view: spontaneous and hilarious Sam Jaeger (who plays Matt Dowd) and the sweet and sensitive Julie Gonzalo (the show’s’ Maggie Dekker).
• Deleted Scenes
• Circular File: Bloopers from Season Two – The cast of Eli Stone trips, slips, *bleeps* and falls through some of Season 2’s funniest impromptu moments.
They’re pretty basic extras, but the “Dancin’” extra is probably the best. It’s a nice look at the production the large musical numbers take on the series and is definitely the highlight of the extras here. The “Bloopers” are also solid, although the run time of all of these extras isn’t all that much to write home about.
Overall a decent set but nothing amazing. It’ll sit nicely on the shelf with the first season, but don’t expect to get much out of this set aside from the episodes themselves, as there are no commentaries at all. Still a decent set and one that comes Recommended.
Eli Stone – Final Season is now available on DVD.