Eli Stone

I’ve been tilting at windmills lately — or for those who know me — more than usual. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the debut of the new ABC series “Eli Stone” so much last week (we get episode 2 tonight at 10:00 pm). I’m also a sucker for a series that makes music part of its core experience. I’m not the biggest George Michael fan in the world, but the use of his song “Faith” — and the fact that he’s right there in the middle of the show performing it — is terrific.

A great song can do so much to elevate a dramatic moment. “Faith” immediately keys you into the life changing direction that hot shot lawyer Eli Stone is about to take. In a weird way it’s a lot like the failed series “Journeyman.” That show tried to use time travel as a way of fixing the wrongs of the past. “Eli Stone” gives its protagonist an inoperable brain aneurysm, changing him from a heartless corporate tool — into a defender of the underdog, a problem fixer, and possibly a prophet. Jonny Lee Miller has just the right mix of bravdo and hubris to pull it all off as Eli.

Sure it’s pure fantasy — another classic case of Hollywood’s do as we say not as we do ethos — but popular culture needs a healthy dose of positive energy. Eli can’t change the whole world, but he’s doing his bit. Not a bad message in these less than sunny times.

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