Mad, Beautiful Ideas
Up-and-Coming: Eli Stone

ABC has a new show in the works that I’m looking forward to. Eli Stone stars Jonny Lee Miller (best known among my friends as from his role in Hackers), as a lawyer who begins having visions which cause him to change his outlook on life. He goes from being “that guy, you know, the guy who has everything,” to seeking a higher purpose in things. He’s either crazy or a Prophet, and Eli decides to take the direction that he’s supposed to change the world for the better.

The pilot, which airs on Thursday January 31, 2008, has been circulating on the Internet for a week or so for those people who know where to find these sorts of things, and I’ve had the opportunity to view the program ahead of time. I’m not going to say that Eli Stone is going to be one of the best shows ever made, but I think it has the potential to be one of the best new shows this year.

Sure, some of it’s hokey. It’s a show about a guy who starts seeing things which inspire him to change his life, to try to make the world a better place. Eli Stone is in his thirties, and he’s developed a good reputation in his firm for winning cases. Of course, he describes his firm as “if you’re not a big corporation screwing over the little guy, you probably haven’t heard of us.” Eli was always told by his father, an alcoholic that Eli holds little respect for, that he was destined to do great things, speak truths and lead men. Like most things that are told to us by people we don’t respect, Eli forgot about his Father’s vision, and was leading a very different life. Then the visions begin, most of which start as music only he can hear, and often require his acupuncturist to make clear. George Michael is going to appear on the show, and his songs will title each episode, and possibly serve as inspiration to some degree.

The Pilot, which was likely called “Faith” by the writers, chronicle’s Eli’s story as he comes to term with his condition, what it might mean, and with his father. Eli goes from hating his father, to beginning to understand the man, and recognizing things in himself that he always attributed to the drunken ramblings of an alcoholic. The show asks questions about issues of Faith, Destiny, and asks all of us to inspect our own impact on the world. The show isn’t going to be wholly revolutionary, and it’s impossible to say if it will actually press on hard issues, despite the deserved controversy caused by the pilot.

Still, it should be interesting, entertaining, and most of all fun, which is all I really expect out of TV anyway. I’m definitely going to be watching Eli Stone this season, and I suggest you try to make your Thursday evenings available as well. Who knows, maybe there really is a Prophet, even in this day and age.