Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Law on Television: the ABA’s Top 25

posted by Nell Minow

The magazine of the country’s largest organization of lawyers, the American Bar Associaton has published its list of the 25 all-time greatest legal television shows from enduring classics like “LA Law,” “Law & Order,” and “Perry Mason” to some quirkier choices like the animated “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law” and the short-lived divorce lawyer drama “Civil Wars.” The list includes a comedy (“Night Court”) and genre-expanding, even surreal (“Ally McBeal”). Some focus more on civil litigators with controversial cases like “Owen Marshall,” “Boston Legal,” “The Practice,” and “The Defenders,” while others focus on the military (“JAG”), civilian prosecutors (“Law & Order”) or defense attorneys — almost always with innocent clients, of course — (“Perry Mason”). Sometimes, the focus is on the judge (“Judging Amy”).
Drama requires confrontation, and putting on a trial is always about telling a story, or rather telling two competing stories and letting the judge and jury decide which one they believe. And the law is where people go in the direst of circumstances, often when they have already tried to come to an agreement and failed. Only certain parts of the story are relevant in a courtroom, but it is always intriguing to find out what goes on behind all of that party of the first part and let the record show. So courtrooms and law offices are always a good place to look for good stories. Real-life lawyers like Erle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason), barrister John Mortimer (creator of “Rumpole of the Bailey”), Terry Louis Fisher (co-creator of “LA Law”), and Fred Thompson (co-star of “Law & Order”).
In an interview in the magazine, Sam Waterston of “Law & Order” reminds us that there is a fantasy element to even the grittiest legal drama on television. The cases brought to conclusion in one episode would take months or years to resolve in real life. “We tell stories about what’s fair and what’s just so we can get our minds around them, or just get to know them. In reality, conclusions are muddy, there are no final curtains, and life just goes on.”



  • mmagnolia

    Dear *Mr. McCoy*,
    MerciBouquets for helping to redeem that “vast wasteland”!
    Yes, Life goes on–indeed! However, it is enhanced when we curse darkness [in systems, in relations] by lighting candles–also known as: Speaking Truth!
    Godspeed All of Our Truth!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Many thanks, mmagnolia! I love it when I get a comment referring to my dad’s famous description of television as a “vast wasteland!”

Previous Posts

Exclusive Clip: Ida -- The Story of a Nun Who Learned Her Family Was Jewish
I am delighted to be able to present an exclusive clip from "Ida," the new award-winning film written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-v82_JEXF-0?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Poland 1962. Anna (newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska) is a beautif

posted 12:29:51am Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Join Me at Ebertfest!
I'll be at Ebertfest through Sunday and will update when I can.  Tonight I'll be at the opening event, a screening of "Life Itself," the crowd-funded documentary about festival founder, Roger Ebert. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWLVD9g4SZU[/youtube]

posted 3:59:08pm Apr. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: The Normal Heart
Larry Kramer's searing, Tony award-winning play "The Normal Heart" is coming to HBO with an all-star cast. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XMN75Opf1_A" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:57am Apr. 23, 2014 | read full post »

The Top 100 Animated Films of All Time: The Animators Pick
Time Out New York asked top animators to pick the greatest 100 animated films of all time.  All the Disney, Pixar, and Miyazaki classics are there, plus some surprises.  I have some disagreements, but am entirely in favor of the #1 pick. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAykOz1gWi4[/you

posted 3:59:23pm Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Daniel Licht, Composer of "Dexter"
Daniel Licht composed the music for "Dexter" as well as two of the "Silent Hill" video games and films including "Permanent Midnight" and "Stephen King's Thinner."  He talked to me about the difference between composing for thrillers and comedy and why he hit his guitar with a frying pan. Tell m

posted 8:00:40am Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.