Raising the Bar.
After watching Raising the Bar, the latest lawyer drama executive-produced and written by Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue, L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues), you almost have to believe that somewhere buried deep in TNT's headquarters there's a document that states all dramas must include sassy characters who simply won't play by the rules.
Raising the Bar joins the channel's current lineup--which includes the terribly overrated Saving Grace and The Closer--as another TNT show featuring mood lighting as far as the eye can squint and angsty characters who aren't taking any guff from anyone (especially not their bosses).
The show revolves around Jerry Kellerman (Saved by the Bell's Mark-Paul Gosselaar), a saintly lawyer who will stop at nothing to ensure that his clients see justice. He's kept in check by his D.A. girlfriend Michelle (the perpetually pouty Melissa Sagemiller) and his boss Roz (ER's Gloria Reuben, who was better as a physicians' assistant). He's constantly butting heads with the wacky and hard-as-nails Judge Trudy (Malcolm in the Middle's Jane Kaczmarek, who should stick to playing hilariously angry moms).
Raising the Bar is sufficiently cheesy and detached from any hint of reality, though there's enough promise of over-the-top closing arguments and interoffice romance to keep people tuning in.
Everything from the sloppy direction by Jesse Bochco to the weird Touched By an Angel-like glossy fade-outs makes it feel disjointed and flat. Stephen Bochco clearly left any hint of grit behind with NYPD Blue and left us with a poor man's Law & Order.
In Memoriam: David Brenner