Unsurprisingly to my most loyal blog followers, I watched The Good Fight‘s first season (the new spin-off series to The Good Wife) every week, and for the most part it was a very entertaining show. Unfortunately though, there was a creeping sense that disaster was just around the corner. The original Good Wife managed to be phenomenal for 5 seasons, and that’s truly impressive, but the problems that eventually overwhelmed it were always there, lurking in the background, festering. We tried to ignore them, we tried to write them off as growing pains but the same problems kept popping up until eventually, it was too late. Worryingly, I see them in The Good Fight too, perhaps not as pronounced as they were during the latter days of The Good Wife, but enough to have me worry.
The creators of the “Good Universe”, Robert and Michelle King, have always had a fascination with technology. They used it more and more as the original series progressed, with its application only growing in terms of complexity and ridiculousness. Technology became less and less rational, and more supernatural as the series went on. It came to resemble magic more than it did any real life application of our existing tech, with shades of that showing up in Good Fight too (see the self replicating twitter bot virus for example). I’m fine with the Kings indulging in their taste for technology, and sure things don’t need to be 100% realistic, but when they break out some fantasy Mickey Mouse BS, that’s when I draw the line. The original series did it more and more as it went on, and The Good Fight will likely carry on with this trend. I really hope they don’t, but my faith in this area at least is scarce.
Ghost Main Characters
In the original series, being a main cast-member didn’t guarantee a character from fading away into irrelevancy. As the series went on and became more and more focused on the titular good wife, the other characters started falling into the wayside. Cary Agos in particular essentially became a ghost, an empty husk that wandered the halls of Lockhart Gardner, unable to do anything in the show but glare at the relevant stars through office windows. Let’s not forget what happened to Kalinda too, who went totally downhill after the feud her portrayer had with Julianna Margulies, that left her boxed out of the shows affairs by its end. Eventually Kalinda had to be written out of the show, but the impact of that was severely dampened by what came before. The Good Fight faces its own challenges as it struggles to find a purpose for the character of Barbara, and weirdly enough, Diane. It seems the writers are ready to move on to its newer characters, and while that’s unfortunate for Diane, between Adrian, Maia, and Lucca Quinn, the show isn’t wanting for central characters to focus on.
Inconsistent Love Stories
This one is more on the actors than the writers. For some reason, the show can’t seem to lock down any consistent love interests for the show’s main characters. We get these great ones for Alicia that have to leave because apparently they need to shoot more episodes of Dowton Abbey, or the actor just isn’t interested in doing more work for the series anymore, or they’re a guest star that doesn’t seem to have a great relationship with the show’s team. Kurt McVeigh (played by Gary Cole) was the one shining exception as Diane’s love interest, and the fact that he’s a recurring character on the spinoff for Diane is part of what saves her storyline from being totally irrelevant. Gary Cole is one of America’s most valuable natural resources, I’m glad this show doesn’t squander him. In terms of love interests, the spin-off’s main focus seems to be on Lucca and Colin, who are passable but don’t reach the heights of Alicia and Will. Maia Rindell, Diane’s god daughter and the newest central character gets a love interest too, but she’s boring and barely used and might as well not even be there. Hopefully her relationship falls apart and she finds someone new to be with in the next season. This is an area and potential pitfall that I don’t think the show can fully control, but one can vainly hope.
In a lot of ways, The Good Fight is less a spinoff and more of a continuation of The Good Wife starring different characters (who are allowed to cuss now), so they share a lot of the strengths and weaknesses. They are run by the same creative team, so this is to be expected, but hopefully the show can shed some of its predecessors mistakes and focus on building on their strengths in season 2. I’ll be discussing those very strengths in another article soon, so stay tuned for that.
Quote of the Day:
– Maia Rindell, The Good Fight. There is nothing special about this line on its own, but Rose Leslie’s scratchy delivery of it is absolutely hilarious.