Sunday, January 8, 2012

Eternal Law, Season 1, Episode 1,

Eternal Law, a programme about angelic lawyers, I had to check this out. And yes, get your lawyer jokes out of your system now – c’mon, I know you want to. You’ll feel better for it.

It’s also based in York which intrigues me. It’s nice to see some Urban fantasy on British television that isn’t sucked into London all the time. And they do show York well, extremely well (perhaps a little too well. Yes it’s a beautiful city, but there are trapped filled, cursed labyrinths that are easier to navigate than York). Which means we have a series set in the north that isn’t wall to wall freaking GRIM all the time! Now there’s a nice bonus.

Tom Greening  a new angel for the firm joins Zak Gist, the more experienced, much more cynical angel lawyer in their role to protect the innocent. Tom is wonderfully blissed being on Earth, oh how beautiful and wonderful it all is! Cynical Zak is neither amused nor happy. I think I’m going to find the cynical vs optimism amusing to the hilt.

And, of course, Tom’s optimism gets dented, the world isn’t so shiny, the rules are a little harder than expected and it’s not all wonderful and joyous. And while Zac is a cynic, the job and the calling still matters to him

I really like Tom’s joy over the world, it’s nicely done. Everything is new and shiny and wonderful and isn’t it all amazing? And he’s a chorister – which means random singing. And over all that joy there’s Zac’s lovely, grumpiness. They have a brief – they can advise, guide, comfort and help humans but they can’t intervene directly with that free will and all – and no getting emotionally involved. Or so is explained my Mrs. Sherringham who is there to help, guide and info-dump. I think she’s a housekeeper/oracle.

Now on to the plot – Zac sees Hannah, a woman who is apparently a lost love (naughty angel, no emotional attachments) which is even more difficult because Zac has a new body now. And Hannah wanted to get a job working for their chambers. Oh and she’s a useful witness for the main event - a wedding being interrupted by a sniper (how rude), getting many civilians shot, including Hannah and the groom. Tom runs up the building and smacks the sniper – is this direct intervention?

Oh and for funsies – guess who gets to be the sniper’s defence council? Yep, the angels, defending Sean Yearling. And Tom is introduced to that annoying fact every lawyer must face – representing a client who is less than pleasant. And Mr. Mountjoy (who seems to be how they refer to god) believes even the most desolate dying warthog deserves salvation, apparently. I do quite like their little rueful references to Mr. Mountjoy. And Zac has a wonderful little point there – while Tom is protesting that Sean shot at people, Zac simply says “so he needs our help more than a saint” which, really, is so very true. I hope we get more powerful little one liners like that. Oh and recognising Terry in the stained glass window of an angel – yes, I laughed

Unfortunately, the prosecution, Richard, is a fallen angel. And there’s the question of just how far you can push those free will rules – and the Fallen Angel doing a little extra to dent Tom’s joyful naivety.
It doesn’t exactly have a happily ever after by any stretch but the demon got thwarted.

So general thoughts?

The wings could do to be better but on the whole they do have decent wing effects.
I’m a little leery on the whole Hannah storyline. It’s the first episode and we’ve already got a love interest angst fest? I think they should have at least waited until episode 3 (they could have had lots of glances and “is that her?” moments). It’s too early in the series, we don’t know these characters enough yet to be moved by their emotional dramas.

Diversity-wise Tom is a black man but that’s the full extent of the diversity so far.

I love Zac and Tom’s bouncing off each other. The naivety vs the cynicism, the enthusiastic joy of the world vs the jaded tiredness, the novelty vs the blasé. It’s really well done and really well acted –and for that, I can ALMOST forgive the premise that Tom would be sent down to Earth so ignorant, let alone how he’s going to manage British law (I’m assuming super angelic understanding of common law somehow beamed into his brain) – because it is so amusing. But it is ALMOST. Tom thinks putting a hand over a woman’s mouth to stop her talking is ok, he has so little information about the world that Zac is right, exactly how can he help?

I’m not going to comment on the accuracy of the legal proceedings or legal investigation since this is clearly not what the show is about and, besides, it would be a very very very boring show if it were too accurate. Also, I have been threatened with grievous bodily harm for cursing at the television screen during legal dramas.

All in all, I’m amused. Amused enough not to just run screaming from a legal drama, which shows how amused I am. It has a lovely premise, some fun characters and some decent acting. Yes, it’s fluff and I doubt it’s very going to be deep, dark or nuanced, but it’s fun. Fun and fluffy, I like it. I probably won’t like it if the silliness becomes too much for the fun to justify, however and it’s walking a fine line.