Follow Eli Stone (Jonny Miller) on his quirky quest for answers in this exciting and upbeat comedic drama. When Eli awakens to an unending George Michael soundtrack that only he can hear, gets dive-bombed by a WWI biplane on a busy San Francisco street, and faces a fire-breathing dragon outside his office window, there are two possible explanations: delusions caused by a potentially fatal brain aneurysm or the chance that something greater is at work. He might just be a prophet sent to change the world. Victor Garber and Loretta Devine lead an acclaimed supporting cast in this wonderfully wacky new series, ELI STONE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON. Complete with every Season One episode, exclusive bloopers and behind-the-scenes footage, this 4-disc box set will surprise, inspire and leave you feeling like you gotta have faith.
It takes a while for Eli Stone to hit its stride, but when it does (a little past the halfway point in this, its first season, with 13 episodes presented on four discs), this show is engaging, provocative, and flat-out entertaining. Of course, a lot of new series need some time to get themselves together, especially when breathing the rarefied air of high concept; and with its combination of drama (and sentimentality), comedy, special effects, and more, Eli Stone certainly fits that description. As the season kicks off, the eponymous hero (played Jonny Lee Miller, a Brit actor sporting a very convincing American accent) is a stereotypical lawyer, ambitious, materialistic, and snarky, helping his San Francisco firms corporate clients fill their coffers at the expense of the poor and downtrodden. But then he has a vision--specifically, George Michael singing "Faith" atop Elis coffee table. Many more such hallucinations will follow, including an earthquake, trench warfare in some unnamed battle, a hospital patient beseeching Eli to help him, and flashbacks of his own dead father; but whether they result from the brain aneurysm thats discovered during the first episode or from the fact that he is, as his acupuncturist (James Saito) informs him, "a prophet," Eli realizes that a major change is in order. And so he decides to "fix the world, one lawsuit at a time," which translates into pro bono cases on behalf of an autistic kid, an infertile young immigrant, abused prisoners, and other unfortunates, some of whom have been victimized by the very companies Elis firm represents.
Much of the legal business is handled more with Ally McBeal whimsy than Law & Order seriousness, and cases involving, say, two "gay" chimpanzees add little to the shows appeal. Nor do some of the ongoing personal relationships, like the cutesy-annoying interludes with Eli and the boss daughter (Natasha Henstridge) or a young associate at the firm (Julie Gonzalo), bring much to the party; much better are his dealings with his mouthy but indispensable assistant (Loretta Devine, excellent in a clichéd role) and brother (Matt Letscher), a conflicted physician. But Elis own arc, as he comes to accept whats happening to him and how his newly-acquired powers of clairvoyance can best be put to use, is handled beautifully; from the eighth episode ("Praying for Time," probably the high point of the season, in which virtually every character experiences a major breakthrough or catharsis) onward, Eli Stone becomes the TV version of a book you cant put down. Bonus features include audio commentary on two episodes, bloopers, and several brief but informative featurettes. --Sam Graham