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The Deep End – CliqueClack Preview

ABC’s new hour long, The Deep End, brings some familiar faces back to television, in a relatively fresh take on the legal drama. Apparently, comparisons to Grey’s Anatomy will be the norm, but I think Ally McBeal is a more accurate comparison. The first hour of The Deep End works for me, based on a well put together cast, that seemingly has quickly gelled.

Before I sat down to watch, I’d already heard the comparisons to Grey’s Anatomy (The Hit Fix’s Daniel Fienberg called it Grey’s Attorney,” which is at least witty, as opposed to Defying Gravity’s “It is Grey’s in Space”).  While I respect the opinion, I don’t buy it. Is every show that over stylizes sexual relationships in the workplace going to be compared to our favorite doctors in Seattle? Is it a fair comparison? Will I continue to ask rhetorical questions?

The strength of The Deep End is in its cast. Matt Long (Jack and Bobby) as Dylan the idealist, leads a group of first year associates that includes Addy (Tina Majorino, Veronica Mars) the pushover, Liam (Ben Lawson, Neighbours) the male slut, Beth (Leah Pipes, Sorority Row) the legacy, and Malcolm (Mehcad Brooks, True Blood) as the guy with only one scene. The original four associates instantly have a bond that is completely believable based on the whole foxhole mentality of their jobs (Probably the strongest part of the comparison to Grey’s and the group of interns in the early seasons).

What didn’t jump off of the screen for me was the internal politics of the firm’s leaders. Cliff (Billy Zane, Samantha Who) has been running the Sterling firm (and liked doing things his way) while the namesake, Hart Sterling, played by the ubiquitous Clancy Brown (Lost) took time off to care for his dying wife. Huddle’s wife Susan (Nicole Ari Parker, Soul Food) further complicates the dynamic by not really picking a side, which probably has something to do with Cliff’s affair with Katie (Rachelle LaFevre, Twlight) who also has caught Dylan’s eye. The firm’s leadership is rounded out by Rowdy (Norbert Leo Butz, Broadway’s Wicked), who seems to be the associates guide/supervisor/mentor who has trouble managing his lost idealism against the allure of the money he’s making.

The guest casting in the first hour was also pretty damn good. The casting team has done a great job. Meredith Monroe (Dawson’s Creek), Timothy Omundson (Psych), Kate Burton (Grey’s Anatomy), and Patrick Fagan (Veronica Mars) are just a couple of examples. I look forward to who else they might have in store for us.

I’m not normally one drawn to legal dramas. The Deep End looks to be a bit different from the usual fare, and the cast really impressed me. There are some hiccups with the politics of the firm, which frankly just don’t seem to fit with the rest of the show. More of the associates, and less of the partners, and The Deep End will be better off. The show premieres Thursday, January 21st at 8 pm EDT, up against Bones, Survivor, FlashForward, the Vampire Diaries, and Community & Parks and Recreation.

Photo Credit: ABC

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One Response to “The Deep End – CliqueClack Preview”

January 4, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Just caught the pilot. I would definitely say this is more along the lines of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” than “Ally McBeal.” There are no fantasy elements or nonsensical humor that “Ally” had, so I’d say if you were a fan of that show, don’t look for it here.

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