Five reasons why The Good Fight is the smartest thing on TV right now

The American legal drama is proving a ratings winner in the US and the UK. Here are five reasons to rave about it

By Evie Prosser

Regular visitors to these pages may already be aware of our enjoyment of The Good Fight (More 4). It’s a sassy legal drama that spun off from the similarly excellent The Good Wife. And we can’t get enough of it.

    ...you have an agonisingly satirical account of modern American life that manages to shine a torch on the left and right alike.  

The third season started airing in the UK three weeks ago. All previous seasons are available via streaming services like Amazon Prime, so if you’re new to the show, you can get up to speed soon enough.

The Good Fight is brilliant for all sorts of reasons. Here are just a handful.

1) Humour for the age of Trump

Perhaps the most striking thing about The Good Fight is what it’s done with the Trump factor. In an era where real life seems fairly absurd, it can be hard for any of the arts to commentate in a meaningful way, especially if humour is their metier. But The Good Fight has embraced this challenge by out-Trumping Trump.

The latest series has introduced a regular segment, where an animated insert is set to whimsical, folksy music, with lyrics explaining some feature of contemporary American life. The standout was last week’s explainer of Troll Farms, but episode one’s song about NDAs was also pretty great.

Add that to a larger-than-life lawyer with a flimsy hold on the truth, played by the ever-brilliant Michael Sheen, and you have an agonisingly satirical account of modern American life that manages to shine a torch on the left and right alike. It really is a triumph.

2) Taut writing that leaps from the screen

Like most US TV shows, The Good Fight uses a carousel of writers. But unlike many, the writing remains consistent between episodes. That’s probably thanks to the ongoing involvement of show originators Michelle and Robert King, and exec producer Ridley Scott.

It’s rare to find a line out of place in any episode of The Good Fight. Like all the best shows, the viewer often doesn’t realise how clever a line is until the action has moved on. That means you can watch each episode again and again, getting ever more from each viewing.

3) Mesmerising acting from all the leads

Christine Baranski, Delroy Lindo, Cush Jumbo, Rose Leslie, Michael Sheen. All on one screen.

Enough said.

4) Glamour. And a bit more glamour

Like all the best US legal dramas (think Suits and Ally McBeal), The Good Fight recognises its duty accurately to portray the wealth of its characters. When many of those characters are beautiful people attired in stunning outfits, it’s hard not to be smitten by the sheer glamour of the programme’s styling.

Unlike Suits, however, The Good Fight doesn’t let the fancy dresses and bespoke suits steal the show. They’re a compelling backdrop to the drama, creating an important sense of atmosphere and context. But it’s the acting and writing (did we mention how brilliant these are? Oh yes, so we did) that do the work.

5) Political commentary that’s razor sharp (and balanced)

We’ve already covered The Good Fight’s post-Trump humour, but it’s important to address its scythe-like political commentary, too. Like the show that spawned it, The Good Fight addresses contemporary issues such as data security, Russian interference in western democracy, privacy, and nationalism. It does so in a way that’s sassy without being preachy. You can guess the liberal tendencies of the show runners, but they’re never allowed to be explored unchecked.

    The Good Fight offers a balanced critique of the current state of the world.  

For example, in an office of mainly Black American, Democrat-supporting lawyers, we discover in the opening season that one of the partners is a closet Republican who voted for Trump. His vilification is as much a commentary on liberal prejudices as it is on the rise of the alt-right in US politics.

In other words, if you look closely, The Good Fight offers a balanced critique of the current state of the world. It’s worth watching for that reason alone.

Published: 23 April 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

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