Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fairly Legal

I did a short interview with actor and comedian Baron Vaughn, a Las Vegas local who's starring on the new USA drama Fairly Legal, and the show is a good fit for his breezy, goofy style. It's even more lightweight than the typical USA series, if that's possible, with main character Kate Reed (Sarah Shahi) taking on mostly low-stakes cases as a legal mediator (she used to be a lawyer but left the profession after becoming disillusioned). It follows the standard USA model of self-contained stories with a light dusting of serialized elements, although any ongoing plots on this show are even more inconsequential than usual.

Over time I've given up on most of the USA shows I've been following just because they quickly become repetitive, and the only one I do still watch (Royal Pains) keeps me coming back because of the character dynamics, not the procedural stories. Fairly Legal has some mildly amusing characters (including Vaughn's Leonardo Prince), but they're not really compelling enough to carry the show, nor do they get enough time to develop beyond a few brief details (Kate's angst gets a decent amount of screentime, but it's a little overdone). Legal will fit in well with USA's brand without coming close to transcending it, and that brand has become increasingly formulaic.

Premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on USA.

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