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George Markov
George Markov

The Good Fight - Season 6


In truth, the show has already had its share of goodbyes. The expertly executed Covid episode, which saw cast members separated by oceans and safety protocols, bid adieu to main cast members Delroy Lindo and Cush Jumbo. That felt like a mini series finale, in a way. The season and a half since then have been marked by that same go-for-broke energy the show has always had, hypercharged by a giant reminder that in our world and the world of the show, life is short.




The Good Fight - Season 6



In the cheerfully unsettling sixth season (premiering today), people eventually just stop noticing all the explosions. Bangs keep echoing outside the windows of Reddick & Associates. It's from the protests, or maybe it's a car bomb, tear gas, gun shots, who knows? Attorneys conduct business, juggling office politics with legal tomfoolery. But threats are everywhere. So how nice to see the calm moment when multiple beloved characters ride down an elevator together. It's how a TV episode should wrap up, that giggle among coworkers, jobs well done till the same time next week. And then a grenade lands at their feet.


Safe to say, I think, that Good Fight is officially the weirdest normal show ever. Co-creators Robert and Michelle King never lost this spinoff's fundamental network-procedural DNA. Every episode embeds familiar signifiers: Clockwork courtroom scenes, guest-star judges, devastating cross-examinations. Stories are ongoing, yet not always serialized. Constant cast rotation suggests the opposite of a five-season plan. It's possible all the young Euphoriacs no longer carry any deep memory of regular weekly TV. But that feeling of old order lets The Good Fight dramatize genuine chaos better than almost any TV show of our chaotic era. You expect murder on a post-apocalyptic series. Here's a series full of people who have watched plenty of post-apocalypses and worry there's one happening, like, tomorrow. That constant feeling of rupture gave Good Fight its jolt, and made a lot of wannabe-deep recent shows seem intellectually bankrupt, even cowardly, by comparison. We're lousy with lame dystopias and historical miniseries scoring decades-later points. You went to Good Fight to watch headlines rip into flaming confetti.


The last couple years had brilliant standalones and centered the Diane-Liz relationship, giving more attention to McDonald's charismatic frustration, which can turn on a dime from hilarious to heartbreaking. (The McDonald eye-roll plus the Baranski laugh equals pure television.) Seasons 4 and 5 also edged deeper into outright absurdity, and could shed any pretense at character drama for scenes that sounded like directly-transcribed writers' room arguments. Was the show keeping up with reality's traffic? Looming doom gives the new season more of a compass, I think, despite some awkward early steps. Carmen's dalliance with crypto feels vague. You want a Good Fight case to become a dizzying 10-ring circus, where different arguments turn your own opinion sideways. Here, crypto just seems weird and monstrous: Accurate, maybe, and not very specific. Diane's return to psychedelia really does feel repetitive, even if the dialogue works hard to convince you "déjà vu" is a whole theme. Braugher's gleeful swagger is welcome anywhere, but Ri'Chard is such an all-caps CHARACTER that it takes a few episodes for everyone else to stop gawping at him.


I can't shake the feeling this season is leaving me with, though. It's never been more of a genuine thriller, even if the tension is mainly lingering. You fear any casual conversation could take a violent turn. Ever-confident Marissa finds herself shaken, worried that she's become targeted by an anti-semite militia. The streets of Chicago seem overpopulated with multiple shadow societies, some noble, some monstrous, all inscrutable. There are still occasional joys, even some ambient chat about the greatness of Below Deck Sailing Yacht. But some kind of end is near. "Feels like bad times," Carmen says at one point. It'll be worse when Good is gone. Grade: B+


EXCLUSIVE: The Good Fight is getting another high-profile cast addition. Emmy winner André Braugher, coming off an eight-season run on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, is set as a series regular in the upcoming sixth season of the Paramount+ legal drama. Now in production, The Good Fight is slated to return this summer on the streaming service.


Braugher, who just became available after his long run on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, joins The Good Fight a year after the show added another award-winning veteran actor to its ranks last season, Mandy Patinkin.


The Good Fight loves a grand reveal. Take the second episode of the show's sixth and final season, which premieres Sept. 8. The operatic opening credits don't arrive until the 14-minute mark. By then, a fan favorite from The Good Wife has returned, hysterical protests have overwhelmed the streets of Chicago, and Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) has ended a medically sanctioned ketamine trip with a verse from West Side Story's "Something's Coming." Will that something be as great as the song's lyrics promise? Knowing how The Good Fight has wrested its characters from their various plights in the past, the answer is yes.


Diane's current plight involves a curious case of post-vacation déjà vu. Like many of us, she's plagued with the sense that every day generates as much bad news as the one before it, making each hard to distinguish. "I feel like I'm back where I was six years ago," she says upon returning to her law firm. She could stop doom-scrolling, but that's not easy. Diane needs something a bit more psychoactive, as she did in Season 2 when she briefly weathered the Trump presidency by microdosing psilocybin mushrooms. In her ketamine haze, she floats, sometimes literally. And so it's revealed to her, at long last, that life is small. The earth keeps spinning, but its events grow more and more absurd, her place within them fleeting. For a progressive who desperately wants to do good, the realization is comforting.


And yet the Kings, who also created Evil and produced Showtime's Your Honor, didn't treat that impediment as an excuse to coast. With each season, The Good Fight has grown more singular, more experimental, and more purposeful. That might mean Elaine May playing the ghost of Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Mandy Patinkin showing up as an eccentric judge running fair-minded arbitration in the back room of a copy shop. Whether it's a eulogy for a Supreme Court vanguard or an examination of the justice-system imbalances that beg for alternate models, beneath the show's whimsy lies heft.


Beyond Diane's ketamine adventures, Season 6 regards chaos as a baseline. Demonstrators hurl tear gas outside while indoors the workday persists. On one of those days, in walks Ri'Chard Lane (a giddy Andre Braugher in a revolving slate of colorful eyewear), a new partner there to disrupt the harmony Liz Reddick (Audra McDonald) has finally achieved after many staffing upheavals. As the show's guest stars are wont to do, Braugher electrifies the season, further texturizing Diane and Liz's hot-and-cold relationship with his suspicious smile. What exactly does Ri'Chard, who wears $10,000 suits and won't stop initiating prayer circles, want with their firm?


The Good Fight will officially wrap up with the upcoming sixth season, Paramount+ announced Friday, confirming it will be the legal drama's last. The series' final season, which is currently in production in New York City, will kick off Thursday, Sept. 8.


This is the second show to use an episode title from Lost in the past couple of months, and so I look forward to seeing which show does "Ab Aeterno" soon (and, of course, look forward to seeing the conversation on Donna's coverage of this final season).


For as many balls that are thrown up in the air with this episode, I think a consistent theme is embedded in the title: Everyone has drifted off mission. Ri'Chard arrives talking about how he and Liz have common goals, but can anyone say what those goals are? This is an ostensibly Black firm that's run by white corporate suits. Clients like ChumHum and Carmen's lowlifes have the lawyers on the wrong side of every issue. Diane's progressivism has yielded regression, if anything. Perhaps this is the starting point of a season-long redemption story, but boy are they low right now. (Great episode, though. I'm feeling like it's fully back in the groove after some missteps and false starts last season.)


This week, on the post where Myles announced that I\u2019d be covering The Good Fight, Lynn asked whether they needed to catch up with seasons 4 and 5 before watching and reading along with season 6, week by week. I breezily answered that I thought they could forge ahead.


I hope you\u2019re still with us after this moshpit of an opening episode, in which half a dozen consequential plotlines -- many from late last season -- surge forward, sweeping us along toward the barricades whether we feel ready or not. Let\u2019s see if we can enumerate them:


And the guest stars! Longtime viewers know that sometimes the opening credits don\u2019t drop for one or two whole acts, but for this season premiere they proudly lead off the hour, with a list of names designed to drop jaws: John Slattery, Wallace Shawn, Ben Shenkman, Richard Kind, and of course, the man himself, Andre motherfucking Braugher. Our heads are spinning before the first scene.


And I love it. The way the Kings and their collaborators generate this feeling never fails to leave me absolutely giddy with delight. If you had my living room bugged during The Good Wife, Braindead, Evil, or The Good Fight, you\u2019d hear honest-to-God cackling. Over the next several weeks, as we watch this final season together, I hope to get a chance to explore why these shows give me an experience like nothing else on television.


I really wish this show had been rendered obsolete almost as soon as it premiered. Instead, for the last six years there\u2019s been a new gut-punch in each season\u2019s opening credits, new images infuriating and dystopian, their documentary glimpses keeping us grounded in the shocks to which we can\u2019t afford to become numb. And then stories unfold in that reality that we\u2019re living through, a setting that warps the conventions of the lawyer show like a fun-house mirror. 041b061a72


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