Raising the Bar

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Sep 01, 2008 on TNT

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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out of 10
77 votes
  • Watching the Pilot for a second time after viewing 13 shows to date, gives me a much stronger impression of the episode.

    Now that I know the basics of each of the characters, I have a greater appreciation for the Pilot episode, which like all pilots, is taxed with the task of not only introducing the characters, but also the overall theme of the show.

    The first time I viewed the Pilot, I was focusing on each new character, and the actor/actress portraying him/her. Like many, I tuned in to see actors I am already fond of from other shows (J. August Richards, Currie Graham, Gloria Reuben, Jane Kaczmarek, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar). It quickly became clear that the passion for truth held by the character of Jerry Kellerman was the driving force of the show. And think it is safe to say it has held its ground.

    On the first viewing, I marked Jerry, Marcus, Charlie, and Balco as my "ones to watch," and have been mostly impressed by each character's evolution as time has gone by. I'd like to see more development of Nick Balco and Marcus McGrath. We really don't see their private lives in this series, so the challenge to justify their attitudes and subsequent behavior is substantial. In the meantime, I see a strong consistency in the development of all of the other characters during Season 1 based on their introductions in this pilot.
  • Raising The Bar for excellent television!

    I have to admit, I have watched barely any police and crime dramas in my life. So from an unsophisticated crime drama pallet, I have to say this was excellent television. I watched to see Jane Kaczmarek from Malcolm in the Middle just to see if her post-Malcolm life was thriving, and was caught up in the great storyline and exciting characters. It was fascinating involving an alleged rapist, did he do it? With interesting characters, a great plotline and excellent writing, there was rarely a dull moment. While I have read some fellow reviewers notes on the pilot, I can see some tweaks such that can be made such as it did drag slightly in the middle of the episode and that it isn't legally accurate. But these things in my mind are forgiveable. I like the crazy judge plotline, although I'm not sure if it can sustain a television series. Since it's just a pilot, they can still move things around and make it possible to be a long-lasting series. For a pilot though, this was excellent. Just make some tweaks, move things around a bit.
  • The only strong point of this show is Mark-Paul Gosselaar...the rest seemed to just try to throw in one generic controversial act after another.

    I won't go as far to say this show is completely non entertaining, but I felt that there was nothing overly exciting or special about it. Gosselaars' energy and emotion was probably the only bright spot. I thought the girl playing the DA was somewhat attractive and worth watching. All you really saw in the show was attempt after attempt to be radical. There was no depth of substance to the story or the acting. As a whole, if the show doesn't pull me in after the next episode, this show is just not worth watching, especially with so many other great law based dramas out there.
  • No. No. No. No. No.

    This show was seriously disappointing. BotchUp has got to get himself a legal consult for his writing staff. Maybe Joss Whedon could write a single courtroom scene in his entire series of "Angel" and get away with having no legal consult, but this show is wall to wall lawyers.

    You can only have so many "'SomeName vs. SomeName' lets me cop a verbal feel" references, and Blondie couldn't know her boss hadn't taken his Cialis that day. That little sexually aggressive maneuver could've backfired right up her skirt.

    Not to mention her little shower scene at the end. Talk about striving mightily, then eating and drinking as friends.

    The judge was totally unbelievable. Also, Jerry's boss was way out of place in the bar scene (everyone else might've gone to law school together, but she hadn't, and her presence in that group would've been awkward to say the least). "We're all best friends" outside the courtroom is only going to get you so far -- as is after-hours smoochies with your bisexual clerk.

    And thanks for the heads-up that I can't own a Swiss Army knife in New York, or carry one around with me, without I risk seven years in prison if I go before a Looney Tunes judge. What a joke.

    Also, I love how Jerry's client is innocent because he Believes he is. Together with the Jesus hair that should get you about exactly zip. Present some evidence next time.

    Summing up, BotchUp should at least watch a few other legal dramas to gauge the state of viewer sophistication, starting with "The Practice" and "Law & Order." If you're just going to focus on relationships and treat the legal drama aspect as some nonsensical afterthought, maybe you'd like to rethink the whole thing and set the show in a diner or a boutique. Feh!
  • I just can't wrap my head around how bad this pilot was.

    Blergh, I am convinced that this show is going to be completely lacking in ratings amidst the steady flow of new and returning fall shows and maybe that's a good thing. I honestly don't know which was worse - the writing or the acting. The lead character was nothing but a whiny and irritating sob and the judge was just too ridiculously loopy. And even those one-dimensional aspects of the characters did the actors screw up. The plot was too in-your-face and the writers seemed to have skipped realism altogether. Fail.

    Maybe I'll catch the second episode and it could be better but this show needs some serious work done to it.
  • Dropping the bar.

    Maybe I'm not high brow enough for a Bochco series, but to me the whole thing was just sort of annoying. Most of the characters really just don't matter at all, and the ones that do are mega lame. Judge Whatever could have been a really cool, no-nonsense judge, but instead she's just really irrationally mean (yeah she supposedly has some backstory that gives a reason for that but who cares), and it seemed she just was trying to cover her butt when she let dead-weasel-on-his-head Zack Morris out of jail. I see no caring (or interesting) side of her so far - waste of a good actress. Weasel head is even worse - he cried like 10 times throughout the episode, and although that made me laugh, I don't think that was the intent, and it sort of ruined any hope his character had of actually mattering to me. That and he just whines and complaines all the time. By the time he was shown in some bathroom with blonde lady at the end I anti-cared and was glad the episode was over. No luck this time Bochco.
  • Please, Raise the bar it's far too low were it is.

    Well I learned a few things after this episode, like the word contempt which was drilled into my head after the first ten minutes, it's amazing the lawyers spend more time in prison than the actual criminals but I guess I should have expected that (Zack always was a bad boy.) I don't know how exactly I'm supposed to feel about the fact that practically everyone in the courtroom is sleeping with everyone else in the courtroom, I mean seriously was this supposed to appeal to me? Or turn me away? If everyone's judgment can so easily be changed by sex we would have no judicial system.
  • I wasted an hour of my time on this? My wife and I thought this was going to be an exciting series based on the teaser commercials. Wow - just goes to show how well they can play up crappy shows! We waited the entire hour hoping they'd tie up the nonsense

    None of this show made any sense. There's no possible way any judge out there is as nonsensical as the kunt portrayed in this pilot episode. My wife and I both spent the entire hour saying "WTF??" What kind of courtroom or judge disregards the law and doesn't allow counsel an opportunity to cite a precedent set for law in previous historical court cases, much less reason?

    My wife thinks they tried to make the show too much like "Grey's Anatomy" that they completely forgot to make it seem any bit of realistic. They should have hired a couple of people with experience with our court system so they could keep the show somewhat logical.

    Watching this episode was like mixing the movie "Idiocracy" with a somewhat serious show. "It's got electrolytes - it's what plants crave!"

    We definitely won't be watching another hour of this crap. I'm not entertained when I spend the entire hour being ANNOYED at the lack of logic and reason for the sake of trying to stir up some crappy drama.

    This show just pissed us off - far from any entertainment value. Hey, but we DID get to see a commercial for the final upcoming season of "The Shield" on FX!!! I suppose something decent came out of our wasted hour.
  • Public defender battles an embittered judge to free an innocent man.

    The lawyers here, in the DA's and Public Defenders' offices, are friends (they all apparently went to law school together) who try cases against each other. By the time the episode ends, it is revealed that some of them are more than friends, and that some of them are keeping secrets. These relationships, while interesting, were not nearly as compelling as the central story of this episode. Jerry Kellerman, played by Mark Paul Gosselaar, defends a man who has been charged with rape. Jerry believes his client is innocent, and as the trial progresses, he learns that another man has confessed to the crime. The trial judge, played by Jane Kaczmarek, threatens Jerry's client with several years in jail on a weapons charge (he had a pocket knife on him when he was arrested for rape), even after the jury acquits him on the rape charge. She does this, not because the law requires her to--she could let the client walk free on that charge with time served. She does it because she doesn't like Jerry, who is brash and determined. He lashes out at the judge with insults when she rejects his motions and his client is hauled back to jail. But he is impassioned because he wants to see our justice system work in the impartial manner our founders intended. I liked the acting, I liked the story, and I'll be tuning in to the next episode.
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