Shark

Thursday, September 21, 2006

It took a couple seasons, but here's the first of the blatant House knockoffs. Take an underutilized character actor, have him play an incredibly skilled, but socially maladjusted professional - instant hit. The only problem with this approach is that it depends almost entirely on the actor. Hugh Laurie is almost good enough to offset whatever other missteps the show makes (note the word "almost" - the back-to-back arcs featuring Chi McBride and Sela Ward were enough to drive me away), but the same cannot be said for, say, Jeff Goldblum (whose House-knockoff we'll review closer to air date).

Fortunately, the producers of Shark had the good sense to cast James Woods. I'm sure there are other who don't like James Woods as much as I do, but I'm willing to watch James Woods in just about anything as long as he's an asshole and berating people. Fortunately, a significant portion of Shark involved an assholic Woods berating his staff.

The premise is kind of flimsy. Woods (whose character is, in fact, named Shark) starts off as a high-priced defense attourney who suffers a crisis of conscience when he gets a very guilty client off on a spousal abuse charge, after which said client kills off his wife. After a little wallowing, he ends up running an elite unit of the Los Angeles' District Attourney's office working with high profile media cases. Which is to say, the legal equivalent of House's elite unit of diagnosticians.

What's really impressive is that this show is virtually the same in its "behind the scenes of high-profile media cases" as Justice, which completely failed to hold my interest in any way. Maybe I'm just easily entertained, but having some James Woods to fall back on makes even a trite legal drama enjoyable.

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
Contents
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State

Hero

13 Going On 30

LAX

Starman

quirkyalone.net

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper

Tarzan

Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case

Skin

10-8

Joan of Arcadia

Eve

Luis

Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life

L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides