The case for keeping Eli Stone alive
As we reported previously, ABC decided to spin the wheel and cancel three of its shows -- Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money and, the big surprise, Eli Stone. Surprise to me, at least, because I felt that Stone was moving in the right direction since its very strong season premiere. With its slightly new direction, continuing character growth, and imaginative visions that placed the show nearly in the realm of 'musical drama,' the show seemed to be heading in the right direction.But, as usual, my opinion didn't count in the network's decision to axe the show after 13 episodes. It should have, to be honest. Not only because I wield the power of the keyboard and can bring those programming nerds down with a stroke of my CTRL key, but because I speak for the numbers of fans who cherish the show and think it was done an injustice. Not just by being canceled, but being lumped together with Daisies and DSM.
When I think about Eli Stone I see it more like ABC's current hit Life on Mars than I do either Daisies or Money. Both Mars and Eli feature equal amounts reality and fantasy (though, it can be argued that Mars is all fantasy since the main character allegedly time travels to 1973), both have characters that are on a quest, and both feature an underlying sense that there is a reason for their situations. They also feature good writing, excellent actors, and a story that keeps viewers interested. Plus, Stone has the added factor that, on occasion, we get to see the characters do a little song and dance. And, who doesn't love a good musical number?
Then there's the fact that Eli was moving in new and interesting directions with the breakup of Wethersby, Posner and Klein into two separate law firms -- Wethersby, Stone and Associates and Posner and Klein. A new dichotomy for Jordan Wethersby and Eli was created as they jumped the hurdles necessary to regrow their new firm. With secondary characters like Matt Dowd and Maggie moving over to Klein and Posner there was also potential for new relationships to be created both in and out of the courtroom. As well as the added chance that these characters would eventually come back to Eli's firm to fight for the greater good.
There is one more thing that makes this show different than either Daises or Money: heart. And, a sense of spirituality that you don't find in many shows these days. Where love was at the heart of Daisies and greed and lust were the cornerstone of Money, faith has been the crux of Stone. Whether it has been a discussion of Eli's role as prophet between Dr. Chen and himself, or a musical number featuring Victor Garber that highlighted the week's spiritual dilemma, the show was one of those rare programs that entertained as well as made you think. That, in turn, made you care not only for the characters but the situations they encountered.
As you see, there are a number of factors in favor Eli Stone that should give the executives at ABC food for thought. Should they reconsider I would highly recommend putting the show on before or after Life on Mars, giving a boost to both shows which would allow them to continue for several more years. Should they decide that Eli Stone is no longer right for them, then I leave them in the hands of you, the angry viewers, who may reconsider tuning in when Lost or Dancing With the Stars returns to the network.