The best Star Trek show on TV is The Good Fight
Courtrooms are a lot like outer space: weird, innocuous places where most of the laws of physics you’re used to on Earth don’t apply. In court, no one speaks the way they do in most other contexts. You are at the mercy of fickle forces beyond your control. And the chairs you sit on to navigate look really uncomfortable. Like decades of Star Trek the shows have shown, TV screenwriters can tell all kinds of stories about space exploration that really aren’t that secret about the world around us. Star Trek writers often turn to whatever flavor of TV they want: maybe a mystery or a western one week, maybe a war story or a hostage-taking the next, followed by an episode that really settles into a hardcore diplomacy.
Legal dramas, on the other hand, explore the conflicts of modern society with a clarity that can make them easy to ignore. Distilling conflict into an oratory battle in a courtroom is absolute catnip for playwrights and comedians that TV screenwriters can consider themselves to be. But the charms of a boisterous court battle still aren’t quite as eye-catching as the Borg, and the possibilities for a warp-less story seem limited, at least on a superficial level. Of course, good television can come from anywhere and be about anything. But skeptics of the legal drama should consider The good fight, a legal drama with the reckless abandonment of a Star Trek show at the top of its game, constantly trying new ideas, then ditching them for better ones.
The good fight is technically a spin-off of The good woman, a CBS drama about a woman who returns to her legal career after her state attorney husband was arrested and dishonored over a corruption and sex scandal. The good fight However, takes a very different approach: taking place in 2016, the year of its debut, and roughly respecting real time, the series follows wealthy liberal lawyer Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) after discovering that she is a victim. of a Ponzi scheme led by her financial advisor. In the fallout, Diane loses her savings, her cushy job as a designated partner in her law firm, and her plan to retire in an Italian villa, sheltered from the political turmoil that would follow Donald’s election. Trump. Instead, she’s forced to work at Reddick, Boseman, and Kolstad, a black-owned law firm where her perspective doesn’t have the weight she’s used to. Things are different in this new firm, where lawyers are dedicated to tackling modern social issues like police brutality and the alt-right.
As this summary suggests, The good fight wears his policy on his sleeve. (This is the first of several similarities to Star Trek.) It’s unabashedly liberal, but also admirably agitated. No character is always right – if a given episode even takes sides on an issue. Racing is a central and ubiquitous theme, and throughout its airing, each season of the series – which debuted in 2016 and just wrapped up its fifth season in late August – is firmly anchored in when it will release, as are many. of its episodes are emerging from recent headlines, ranging from the overbreadth of immigration enforcement to the Capitol Riot. Throughout the series, the series is clearly written, extremely funny, and fast-paced, but what makes it truly enjoyable to watch is the way it embraces the imaginative nature of good genre storytelling in its lens. to deliver compelling stories about the world as it is now. .
One of the remarkable things about The good fight that’s how every time an episode starts, you don’t really know what you’re going to see. Although he lets headlines inspire his stories, unlike Law and order, it does not play the action procedurally. Instead of, The good fight embraces an exacerbated reality, a world that almost like ours, but a little offbeat. Maybe this surreal element comes from the absurd details, like JoyJane Lynch shows up for a recurring role as an FBI agent who works in an office where pigeons are constantly crashing into the window.
Or maybe it’s incorporated into longer, more thoughtful stories, like the ongoing story of Season 5 about Hal Wackner (Mandy Patinkin from Country and The princess to marry), a self-proclaimed judge who runs a strange underground court where participants score points like in sports, and anyone who uses overworked language must wear a powdered wig. Or maybe it’s in the narrative quirks the show employs with little warning, like Season 3’s habit of dispensing exposure via short School rock– animated style musicals, performed by none other than Jonathan Coulton of Portal Fame. A season or episode of The good fight it feels like visiting a strange new world, strange in its similarity to ours, but with just one little thing that is different.
As Star Trek to his favorite, The good fight is a TV show for people who really I love TV, not just for its formal playfulness, but for the way it builds a rich cast of supporting characters who are immediately twice as memorable as the main characters on other shows. An episode of The good fight could suddenly pivot to follow a longtime background player or new character, and build a good TV episode around one of them. That’s the joy of the show: meeting characters like the eccentric Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) or the deceptively mischievous Allegra Durado (Wanda Sykes) and being immediately charmed by them, not knowing if they will ever reappear, but being delighted when they do. (Or when, like Elsbeth, they turn out to be characters with rich stories of The good woman.)
In another crucial comparison with Star Trek, The good fight openly tries to talk about big, important ideas. And vitally, The good fight approaches these ideas in a way that seems to have been viewed to the point where writers invite disagreement. This is another of the series’ silent miracles: Because it deals so openly with political matters, its characters are candid about their beliefs, and it allows the series to portray a whole universe of different ideas within its global liberal worldview.
Viewers are free to place their sympathies where they want – even if they deeply disagree with, say, Season 3’s ideas about “resistance” to the Trump presidency, or the effectiveness of building relationships. stories around real world scandals involving people like Jeffrey Epstein and Roy Cohn. In other words, it’s a show that treats its audience in a remarkably grown-up way, while also recognizing that adults can contemplate compelling ideas about systemic issues and have fun – or disagree – the same time. Yet while Star Trek sold me in space a long time ago, The good fight will never convince me to go to a courtroom where I don’t need to be. As much as I love watching the TV version, no show is this good.
The good fight Airs all five seasons in their entirety on Paramount Plus and has been renewed for season six.