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I Watched the 'Harry's Law' Season Premiere So You Don't Have To

Date September 21, 2011
Harry's Law'Harry's Law' sounded like a great idea in theory: Take the proven success of a quirky David E. Kelley legal drama (who didn't love 'Boston Legal' and 'Ally McBeal'?), add Kathy Bates in her first series regular TV role ever and voila, right? Wrong.

While I admittedly didn't watch the entire first season of the show last year (it was that bad), I...

Harry's Law'Harry's Law' sounded like a great idea in theory: Take the proven success of a quirky David E. Kelley legal drama (who didn't love 'Boston Legal' and 'Ally McBeal'?), add Kathy Bates in her first series regular TV role ever and voila, right? Wrong.

While I admittedly didn't watch the entire first season of the show last year (it was that bad), I saw enough to know that the show was very proud of going over the top in a way that men dressed as flamingos and women hallucinating dancing babies would shake their heads at.

Harriet Korn's legal office-slash-shoe shop, her ragtag team and her insatiable need to disrupt courtrooms with nonsense asides and clever comebacks were truly cringe-worthy at times.

But somehow, the show is back for a second season, with some castmembers leaving, a few tweaks and several fresh faces to hopefully turn things around. Will it work? I took one for the team and watched tonight's 'Harry's Law' Season 2 premiere (Wed., Sept. 21, 9PM ET on NBC) so you don't have to.

WHAT'S NEW?
I Watched the 'Harry's Law' Season Premiere So You Don't Have ToBring It Here
Mark Valley is no stranger to Kelley's offbeat style, having put in several years at Crane, Poole and Schmidt on 'Boston Legal.' Here he plays Oliver Richard, an old colleague of Harry's who she not-so-lovingly calls Ollie. Yes, Ollie and Harriet ... except without the laughs. After 'Human Target' got axed, I really wish he'd gone for a role on a shiny new show like 'Pan Am' or even taken the lead in 'Playboy Club' from Jon Hamm wannabe Eddie Cibrian. Oh well ... hopefully he'll be free again soon.

Lose the Shoes
There's a shiny new office space underground, so the shoe stuff and legal stuff will no longer mix. (Read: The shoe stuff is kind of no longer part of the show.)

I Watched the 'Harry's Law' Season Premiere So You Don't Have ToThe Sex Factor
Tony Award winner Karen Olivo -- who romanced Will (Josh Charles) on 'The Good Wife' for a few episodes -- has also joined the cast. We meet her character Cassie Reynolds, an ex-DA, in the season premiere.

Where's Malcolm?
Harry addresses the absence of a Season 1 staple, Malcolm (Aml Ameen), by noting that he is in school, and she wants him to stay there. Malcolm was the ex-con-turned-suicidal roof jumper who landed on Harry (literally) and helped set her new career in motion; Ameen was one of last season's series regulars who will no longer be on the show.

I Watched the 'Harry's Law' Season Premiere So You Don't Have ToThomas Jefferson
Christopher McDonald, who played loud-mouthed lawyer Tommy Jefferson last season, is now a series regular and sharing an office with Harry. He also seems to be a bit blonder. So there's more of that.

WHAT'S THE SAME?
I Watched the 'Harry's Law' Season Premiere So You Don't Have ToBig Guest Stars
No matter what, this show pulls in some huge names, with Alfred Molina playing a suspected killer in the season premiere, and Jean Smart playing rival attorney "Hosanna" Roseanna, a who likes to crack jokes about Harry's age. (Note: in real life, Bates is only three years older than Smart.)

Dumb Cases
The season premiere fails to deliver a big grab-new-viewers case, with a dumb intellectual property suit that attempts to pull at some heartstrings instead. Unsuccessfully.

Brittany Snow
Yep, ditzy assistant Jenna (Brittany Snow) is still around for the premiere, although we barely see her -- guess they're choosing to slowly edge her out entirely instead of just firing her or making up a reason why she's gone. Both Snow and Ameen were demoted to just a few guest spots this season, but I didn't watch any more episodes to see exactly when they'll say goodbye.

I Watched the 'Harry's Law' Season Premiere So You Don't Have ToNate Corddry
Corddry is the only one of Harry's old employees that's sticking around, but with little to say or do in the premiere and so much of his comedic talents going to waste, he (still) deserves better.

WHAT'S THE VERDICT?
As one of flailing NBC's highest-rated new dramas of last season, we can sort of understand why they'd opt to bring it back (especially since it probably was a trade-off for not picking up Kelley's horrific 'Wonder Woman' reboot), but Kelley tends to operate on an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy, and unfortunately no amount of cast changes or tweaks can fix this broken show.

Tell us: Do you like 'Harry's Law'? Will you tune in for Season 2?

Read more http://www.aoltv.com/2011/09/21/harrys-law-season-2-premiere/

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