Eli Stone

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Eli Stone
Intertitle
Genre Musical
Legal
Comedy-drama
Created by Greg Berlanti
Marc Guggenheim
Written by Greg Berlanti
Marc Guggenheim
Directed by David Petrarca
Vincent Misiano
Michael Schultz
Starring Jonny Lee Miller
Victor Garber
Natasha Henstridge
Loretta Devine
Sam Jaeger
Laura Benanti
James Saito
Matt Letscher
Julie Gonzalo
Jason Winston George
Composer(s) Blake Neely
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Greg Berlanti
March Guggenheim
Ken Olin
Producer(s) Carl Ogawa
Jeniffer Lence
Leila Gerstein
Chris Cheramie
Andrew Kreisberg
Andy Ackerman
Editor(s) Ted Desrosiers
Elena Maganini
Location(s) San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, United States
Cinematography Michael O'Shea
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 45–48 minutes
Production company(s) ABC Studios
Berlanti Television
Distributor Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run January 31, 2008 (2008-01-31)  – July 11, 2009 (2009-07-11)

Eli Stone is an American legal comedy-drama TV series, named for its title character. The series was created by Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, who also served as executive producers alongside Ken Olin who directed the pilot, with Melissa Berman producing.[1] The series originally aired on ABC from January 31, 2008 to July 11, 2009, for two seasons.

The series follows Stone (Jonny Lee Miller), a San Francisco lawyer who begins to have hallucinations (such as a George Michael soundtrack that only he can hear and getting dive-bombed by a WWI biplane on a busy San Francisco street) which leads him to two possible conclusions: a potentially fatal brain aneurysm, and the chance that something greater is at work. His visions lead him to accept cases with little monetary gain but a lot of moral goodness; Stone also predicts an earthquake that hits San Francisco. Other such events occur throughout the course of the series, but the series was cancelled before reaching a coherent conclusion.

The series has been met with generally favorable reviews from critics, and each season has been released on DVD.

Premise[edit]

Greg Berlanti, who co-wrote the show with Marc Guggenheim, described Eli Stone in Variety as "a Field of Dreams-type drama set in a law firm where a thirty-something attorney, whose name is the title of the show, begins having larger-than-life visions that compel him to do out-of-the-ordinary things".[2] Eli suffers from an inoperable brain aneurysm that causes him to have realistic hallucinations often relating to the plot of the episode to the extent that he may be considered a modern day prophet.

Pop singer George Michael was featured prominently throughout the first season of the series, and each episode was named after one of his songs.[3] Berlanti is a fan of Michael and made an effort to have him appear on the show. As luck would have it, Michael claimed he was a "TV junkie". This led to the singer agreeing to do several episodes, including one in which Stone represents him in the case of a teen girl who plays the song "I Want Your Sex" in protest of an abstinence-only sex education program in her school.[4]

The show's legal setting, mixture of comedy and drama, and use of fantasy sequences has drawn comparisons to the series Ally McBeal from some critics.[5]

Production[edit]

Produced by ABC Studios, After Portsmouth and Berlanti Television, the series was officially greenlit and given a thirteen-episode order on May 11, 2007,[6] and it aired as a mid-season replacement in 2008.[7] Eli Stone premiered on Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 22:00 Eastern/21:00 Central, following the return of Lost;[8] its first season finale aired April 17, 2008.

On May 13, 2008, ABC officially announced that the show had been renewed for the 2008–09 season.[9] Moreover, in Canada, CTVglobemedia announced that they would send down the series to CTV's relaunched "A" television system for the 2008–2009 season.[10] Season 2 premiered on Tuesday, October 14 at 22:00 Eastern/21:00 Central.[11]

On November 20, 2008, however, ABC told the show's producers that it had opted not to order any new episodes, signaling that the series would be cancelled once all the episodes were used up.[12]

The last scheduled episode of Eli Stone aired on December 30, 2008. The final four episodes of the series aired on Saturdays at 22:00 Eastern/21:00 Central on ABC starting Saturday, June 20, 2009.[13] The final episode, "Flight Path", aired on July 11, 2009.

The unaired episodes starting with "Sonoma" were broadcast in Ireland by RTÉ starting March 13, 2009. The British Sci-Fi channel aired the final four episodes starting March 16, 2009. The episode aired in Israel's yes stars Drama/HD channel and German TV channel Pro7 starting on March 31, 2009. Finally, in Australia, the Seven Network aired the final four episodes in the month of April, on Tuesdays at 22:30.

Future[edit]

The series lasted two seasons with 26 episodes. If the show had been renewed for a third season, Eli would have a complete wrap-up of the series, including Taylor giving birth to a baby girl and Matt being a surprisingly good father with a better attitude to others, Jordan meeting his ex-wife for the first time since the divorce, and Eli meeting Grace again. Also, the show could have ended in a cliffhanger, with Eli having a high profile as a prophet, and Dr. Chen becoming rich and a star.[14]

Controversy[edit]

The debut episode attracted controversy due to its plot line, which depicts the hypothesis that autism is caused by a mercury-based preservative formerly used in common childhood vaccines[15] and treats the hypothesis as being credible and legally compelling.[16] This hypothesis is not supported by scientific evidence, but has contributed to decreased vaccination rates.[17][18] The American Academy of Pediatrics asked ABC to either cancel the episode or include a disclaimer emphasizing that mercury is not used in routine childhood vaccines, and that no scientific link exists between vaccines and autism.[19] ABC instead decided to present a written notice and voice-over after the episode saying "The preceding story is fictional and does not portray any actual persons, companies, products or events",[20] with a second card directing viewers to the autism web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[20][21]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

  • Jonny Lee Miller as Eli Stone, a successful attorney in San Francisco who is diagnosed with an inoperable brain aneurysm which is causing hallucinations. The hallucinations cause Eli to become alienated from his peers and soon his life takes a detour. Despite the fact that he is not religious, he interprets his hallucinations as signs, helping people in accepting lawsuits in hopes of bettering their lives.
    • Young Eli is played by Justin Lieberman.
  • Natasha Henstridge as Taylor Wethersby, Eli's ex-fiancee who is also an attorney. She formerly works in another company, and later joins in Eli's firm after they broke up. Although taken aback by Eli's episodes of hallucinations, she is determined to help him at any means. She is the daughter of Jordan Wethersby, the head of Wethersby, Posner & Klein.
  • Loretta Devine as Patti Dellacroix, Eli's helpful and bossy assistant. She considers Eli as a dear friend of hers and she is always blatantly honest to Eli.
  • Matt Letscher as Dr. Nathan Stone, Eli's caring elder brother who is a doctor. He is the first who discovered Eli's conditions and he is also skeptical about his visions. Nathan dated Beth, a girl who Eli lost his virginity to in college, after Eli introduced both of them to each other at his engagement party.
  • Sam Jaeger as Matt Dowd, Eli's co-worker and rival in the law firm. He is described as sarcastic, arrogant and having a frat-boy personality. He is dating Taylor Wethersby and they are going to have a baby.
  • James Saito as Dr. Chen, an acupuncturist who explains Eli's conditions as a prophetic message. He helps Eli to analyze the visions Eli has and advises Eli to pursue them. He studied acupuncture in Beijing as well as holistic medicine. It is revealed that he is not a Chinese immigrant, and the "Dr. Chen" is merely an act so he will be taken seriously because, "No one trusts an acupuncturist from New Jersey". He once worked for Eli's father, who told him once that he would repay a favor by helping his son (Eli) someday.
  • Julie Gonzalo as Maggie Dekker, a junior attorney who is ambitious and enthusiastic to her work. Much to Eli's dismay, she often assists him in his cases in hopes of moving up the career ladder. She is considered a religious person who is the first person to believe in Eli's visions without hesitations. She was engaged to Scott, who is in Eli's visions of the earthquake.
  • Jason Winston George as Keith Bennett, a criminal law attorney who sued a potential employer for racism. After Keith lost the lawsuit, Jordan hired him as he saw Keith's potential.
  • Victor Garber as Jordan Wethersby, the co-owner of the firm and Taylor's father. He is often skeptical of Eli's imaginings. However, he is a mentor and father figure to Eli, and represented Eli when Eli was brought before the bar for allegedly being unable to represent clients' interests while suffering visions.

Recurring characters[edit]

  • Laura Benanti as Beth "Lizzie" Keller, the girl who Eli lost his virginity to back in college who now has an autistic son. She dated Nathan. (Seasons 1 and 2)
  • Tom Amandes as Martin Posner, one of the co-owners of the firm. He had a relationship with Patti in the past. (Seasons 1 and 2)
  • Katey Sagal as Marci Klein, one of the co-owners of the firm. She is unfriendly and is more interested of the financial benefit of the firm. She is not fond of Eli's intentions of helping more individuals than major corporations. (Seasons 1 and 2)
  • Pamela Reed as Mrs. Stone. (First season only)
  • Tom Cavanagh as Jeremy Stone, the late father of Nathan and Eli. He also had a brain aneurysm which causes hallucinations. He suffered from depression and was an alcoholic, which causes Nathan and Eli to resent him. He died from a heart attack 10 years ago. (Flashbacks in seasons 1 and 2)
  • George Michael as himself. (First season only)
  • Bridget Moynahan as Ashley Cardiff, Eli's ex-girlfriend.
  • Taraji P. Henson as Angela Scott, Patti's daughter. (Second season only)
  • Kerr Smith as Paul Rollins, a partner at Posner/Klein.

Special guest stars[edit]

On November 6, 2008, TV Guide reported that Jamey Sheridan would guest-star as an evening news anchor.[22] On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported that Gregory Smith would make a guest appearance on the show's finale.[23]

Episodes[edit]

Ratings[edit]

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season premiere Season finale TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
18-49 Network
1 Thursday 10:00pm
Sunday 10:00pm (April 13, 2008)
January 31, 2008
April 17, 2008
2008
#80[24]
8.09
2.8
ABC
2
Tuesday 10:00pm (October 14-December 30, 2008)
Saturday 10:00pm (June 20-July 11, 2009)
October 14, 2008
July 11, 2009
2008–2009
#77[25]
5.28
2.4

Critical Reception[edit]

Season one was met with generally favorable reviews, and currently holds a Metacritic score of 62 out of 100, based on 24 collected reviews.[26] Season two was met a more enthusiastic response, and holds a Metacritic score of 72 out 100, based on 9 collected reviews.[27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for Eli Stone
Year Award Category Result
2008 ALMA Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Television Series - Julie Gonzalo Won
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Loretta Devine Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actor - Musical or Comedy Series - Jonny Lee Miller Nominated
WGA Awards Episodic Drama - "Pilot" Nominated
2009 Prism Awards Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline - "The Humanitarian," "Happy Birthday, Nate," "Help" Nominated

International airings[edit]

Eli Stone premiered on ABC on January 31, 2008. It premiered on Fox Life in Greece, and AXN in Japan in 2010. In the UK, the show was first shown on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2008[28] and was then broadcast on Fiver in June 2010.[29] In Malaysia, the show premiered on TV2 in June 2009, airing all the complete 26 episodes until December 23, 2009. The series was later re-run in 2010.

DVD releases[edit]

On September 2, 2008, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the complete first season of Eli Stone on DVD in Region 1.[30] Season 1 was also released in Region 4 on March 18, 2009.[31] The second and final season was released in Region 1 on August 18, 2009.[32] By February 2013 the First Season had also been released as Region 2 in a combined Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland set. This set includes the original English dialogue with no captions as the default.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete First Season
13
September 2, 2008
By February 2013
March 18, 2009
The Complete Second Season
13
August 18, 2009
Unknown.
Unknown.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Devwatch: Eli Stone". The Futon Critic. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  2. ^ Martin, Denise (August 3, 2006). "Berlanti sets series at ABC". Variety. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 
  3. ^ "George Michael Signs Up for New US Sit-com". Entertainmentwise. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 
  4. ^ Sullivan, Brian Ford (January 31, 2008). "On the Futon with... "Eli Stone" co-creator Marc Guggenheim". The Futon Critic. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 
  5. ^ Goodman, Tim Goodman (January 30, 2008). "Eli Stone goes for quirky, Ally McBealstyle, but after a while, kooky can start to get irritating". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 
  6. ^ "ABC adds 20 newcomers, renews Notes, Road". The Futon Critic. May 11, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  7. ^ "ABC unveils 2007–08 primetime schedule". The Futon Critic. May 15, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  8. ^ "ABC unveils midseason primetime schedule". The Futon Critic. December 14, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  9. ^ "ABC upfront, take one". The Star Ledger. May 13, 2008. Retrieved May 13, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Fall 2008 Schedules Announced for CTV and A". CTV. June 3, 2008. Retrieved June 5, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Eli Stone – Home". ABC. Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2008. 
  12. ^ Levin, Gary (November 21, 2008). "Life on Mars saved, but Daisies and Eli Stone shelved". USA Today. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  13. ^ "ABC Announces Its Summer Schedule". The Futon Critic. April 8, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Eli Stone: The Future Revealed". E! Online. Retrieved August 16, 2009. 
  15. ^ Wyatt, Edward (January 23, 2008). "ABC drama takes on science and parents". New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2008. 
  16. ^ Allen, Carole; Benjamin Kruskal (January 31, 2008). "Perpetrating the autism myth". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  17. ^ Offit, Paul (2007). "Thimerosal and vaccines—a cautionary tale". New England Journal of Medicine 357 (13): 1278–9. doi:10.1056/NEJMp078187. PMID 17898096. 
  18. ^ Doja, Asif; Wendy Roberts (2006). "Immunizations and autism: a review of the literature". Canadian Journal of Neurological Science 33 (4): 341–6. PMID 17168158. 
  19. ^ Jenkins, Renee (January 25, 2008). "Letter to Anne Sweeney, President, Disney-ABC Television Group" (PDF). American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved January 29, 2008. 
  20. ^ a b Wyatt, Edward (January 29, 2008). "ABC show will go on, over protest by doctors". New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2008. 
  21. ^ "Autism information center". National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2008. Retrieved January 29, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Criminal Intent Alum Needs Eli Stone '​s Help". TV Guide. November 6, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Everwood Alum Gregory Smith Returns to TV Which ABC show grabbed him?". TV Guide. December 1, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2008. 
  24. ^ http://abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=061708_07
  25. ^ http://www.abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=052709_07
  26. ^ "Eli Stone - Season 1 Reviews". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Eli Stone - Season 2 Reviews". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  28. ^ Sweney, Mark (September 30, 2008). "George Michael stars in Eli Stone trailer". The Guardian (London). 
  29. ^ http://www.five.tv/programmes/drama/eli-stone
  30. ^ "Amazon.com: Eli Stone: The Complete First Season...". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 21, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Eli Stone R4 release". 
  32. ^ "Eli Stone R1 release S02". 

External links[edit]