Follow Eli Stone (Jonny Miller) on his quirky quest for answers in this exciting and upbeat comedic drama. When Eli awakens to an unending George Michael soundtrack that only he can hear, gets dive-bombed by a WWI biplane ... more »on a busy San Francisco street, and faces a fire-breathing dragon outside his office window, there are two possible explanations: delusions caused by a potentially fatal brain aneurysm or the chance that something greater is at work. He might just be a prophet sent to change the world. Victor Garber and Loretta Devine lead an acclaimed supporting cast in this wonderfully wacky new series, ELI STONE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON. Complete with every Season One episode, exclusive bloopers and behind-the-scenes footage, this 4-disc box set will surprise, inspire and leave you feeling like you gotta have faith.« less
Lisa D. from COPPER CENTER, AK Reviewed on 12/22/2012...
Eli Stone is a terrific lawyer based show. Jonny Lee Miller is just great as Eli Stone. The shows are a mixture of drama, humor, musical number, and faith. I've only seen it on DVD (first season), and I can't believe I missed it when it was on TV.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Betty G. (Rowlena) from SOUTH SALEM, NY Reviewed on 1/29/2009...
Eli Stone is one of those shows that makes you think, question and act. Eli starts the show as an incredibly selfish high paid lawyer who is all about himself. Then the appearance of a private concert by George Michael in his living room, changes everything. On a mission from The Higher Power Eli changes everything about his life and starts changing other peoples in the process.
A great cast of characters ranging from a selfish head of the firm to Eli's doctor brother and the clients are just as varied from a mom who wants to sue vaccine makers to a doctor that might be be the reason that several people are dead. This is a show not to be missed. But sadly season two looks like it will be the end of this wonderful show.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
A genuine "feel good" series
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 07/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warning! Many, many spoilers! Do not read if you want to avoid spoilers!
The 2007-2008 television series has to go down as one of the most unfortunate in recent decades, not primarily because of the quality of the shows - there were, in fact, an unusually large number of very high quality shows - but because of the large number of truncated seasons that so many shows experienced. We also saw a smaller number of midseason series. For instance, the eagerly awaited new Joss Whedon series, DOLLHOUSE, starring Eliza Dushku, was initially planned to appear for seven episodes this spring before returning next fall for a new regular slate of shows. Now it has been postponed to the fall, where it will be the most eagerly anticipated new show of the 2008-2009 season.
But one thing the writers strike did mean was that the few new midseason shows had little or no competition. I was really looking forward to TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, and was delighted when it didn't disappoint. But just before it debuted I started hearing about a new series called ELI STONE. To be very honest, under normal circumstances I would never have tried it. I would have had a full slate of shows that I was already committed to and I simply wouldn't have bothered to work it into my schedule. Furthermore, it was set at a law firm, and I generally detest shows set in law firms. But the early reviews by critics were positive if not ecstatic and I had virtually nothing to watch on TV until my favs began to crank out new episodes following the resolution of the WGA strike. So starved for new shows I decided to give it a shot.
From the very beginning ELI STONE was at least decent and fun. I wasn't blown away, but each episode was enjoyable enough to bring me back the next week. Jonny Lee Miller (who felt more "American" to me than any of the actors from Great Britain or Australia portraying one of my fellow countrymen) was instantly likable as an up and coming attorney who suddenly begins having strange visions as the result of a brain aneurism. His acupuncturist suggests that there might be a purpose to his aneurism, that he might, in fact, be called by his visions to be a modern day prophet. Credence is granted to this as his visions lead him to help people he had seen in his visions but whom he had never met in actual life. Gradually one person after another comes to have "faith" (Eli's first vision is of George Michael singing the song "Faith" while standing on his coffee table in his living room) in Eli, even the initially hard-hearted head of the law firm, played wonderfully by Victor Garber.
All of this would be well and good except for one thing: with each episode the series developed more and better layers. The show started off good, but by the end of its 13-episode run it was approaching something not far from great. The moment that illustrates ELI STONE at its best - OK, ONE MORE SPOILER ALERT! - was an episode from near the end of the season. Eli has a vision. He is on Time's Square in New York (made even more unusual in that the series takes place in San Francisco), tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people crowded about, holding signs that read "Live Brave!" Eli sees a platform with a podium and a young but charismatic black man take his place behind the podium and begin to speak, beginning with his name. Eli sees this as a vision that he is supposed to help him. Discovering that he is currently a prisoner in the California penal system Eli takes on his case, eventually leading to uncovering systematic civil rights abuses at the prison. The man he came to help was not released, but at least the possibility of his eventual release was created. You think perhaps at this point that this episode was over, that all the central points had been made. But as Eli leaves the office building his vision returns, the young man once again speaking on the podium. Eli is further astonished to see himself standing at the base of the platform, one of his coworkers standing near him holding what is obviously his and her child. And in the speaker's next words we understand that he wasn't the point of this great assembly, which is what Eli had assumed, but was there merely to introduce the central figure for the evening, Eli Stone himself. The episode fades out with an expression of shocked incredulity on Eli's face. The whole scene might be my favorite moment from any show of the entire 2007-2008 season so far (and that is saying a lot with shows like PUSHING DAISIES and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS out there).
The show is made even better by a very, very good cast. I've seen Jonny Lee Miller in a lot of things over the years, from HACKERS (where I believe he met Angelina Jolie, with whom he was long involved) to MANSFIELD PARK, but he's never been someone I thought of as someone who could anchor a show. But he certainly does here. I already mentioned Victor Garber. This show might center around Eli Stone, but without Victor Garber in his role, many of the vision scenes would not work. Many people may be aware that Garber, in addition to being a talented actor (most know him as Jack Bristow on ALIAS) is a phenomenally gifted Broadway musical performer. He puts his musical skills on display frequently on the show. Similarly, Loretta Devine, who plays Eli's assistant, is a ferociously talented singer and she gets her own opportunities to sing. The beautiful Natasha Henstridge plays Eli's former fiancé and Garber's daughter and brings a lot to the show as someone no longer with Eli, but someone who still cares a great deal for him. I could mention many others, but I'll stop with two. Matt Letscher has many wonderful moments as Eli's brother. One of the highpoints of the season occurs when Eli relives his father's death through the eyes of his brother. And I instantly loved Julie Gonzalo as the new and idealistic assistant who frequently takes second seat in Eli's cases. Her involvement on the show leads to one of the show's best shout outs. Eli and Maggie (played by Gonzalo) go to Hawaii in search of a key witness in a case. As they are walking along Maggie makes a suggestion about how they might locate him. In his mildly snappish reply Eli calls her "Veronica Mars." Gonzalo had, not coincidentally, played Parker on VERONICA MARS, the ditzily happy roommate of Veronica's friend Mac.
There are two things that I really loved about ELI STONE. First, I really appreciate the fact that it got better and better as the season went along. So if you give this a try and don't like it at first, just wait. It starts off OK but ends up a thing of beauty. Second, this is perhaps the finest "feel good" show on TV. I wouldn't rank it as one of the very, very best shows on TV (I'd group it in the next tier of shows). It isn't quite in the same category as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, LOST, PUSHING DAISIES, or MAD MEN, but it is ultimately upbeat and hopeful to a degree that those are not. FNL has many, many dark moments as many characters perpetually struggle with their own demons. LOST is often dark, but BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is so much darker that it makes LOST look like HAPPY HOUR. MAD MEN deals with a bunch of cut throats. Even PUSHING DAISIES, perhaps the most magical series in the history of TV, mixes much of its magic with some genuine darkness. But ELI STONE is all about hope. With his vision on Times Square we even know -- more or less -- how this whole thing ends. We know who he will end up with romantically. We know that he will achieve great things. What we don't know is how things will progressive from here to there. But the happy ending has been put in at the beginning. And moreover the tone of each episode is very positive and upbeat. Like I said, a feel good show.
The only possible problem is that we do not yet know if ABC is going to renew ELI STONE. The ratings for the last few episodes were good if not stunning. The word is that execs in ABC like the show. And I believe that a buzz for it was building near the end of its run. I would be dishonest if I didn't say that I think the chances for its renewal are very good. In the meantime I recommend that anyone who likes good TV go out and watch this show. Either stream it off ABC.com or get these DVDs when they come out. Make yourself a fan. I promise it won't be difficult."
Well worth gettng hooked
Lorelei | Quincy, IL | 07/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
Because the nearest ABC station is over 100 miles away, and has been in a running spat with the two satellite/dish companies, up until I got my HD converter hadn't seen a ABC show in two years. (Life's too short to try to watch all the downloads) Wish I'd had the chance to see this show first run -- thank heaven for reruns.
Wildly funny with a lot of heart, this kind of series is very difficult to pull off. If the creators aren't careful it's easy to drown in syrup, and too hard an edge grinds down your characters. "Eli Stone" threads this needle with precision. Themes of belief, faith, whether higher powers are guiding Eli, and a not-so-subtle call for social justice. The first season's arc grows everyone, not just Eli, and Eli and Nate's father grows the most -- a sweet trick since he's been dead for ten years. Sliding relationships, office politics, courtroom drama and cases drawn from real life problems are balanced by the rowdy goofiness of his visions' musical numbers. It seems there's never a good time to have a full-on hallucination. ("Good Lovin'" from #4 and "I Feel the Earth Move" from #8 are favorites.)
The cast is consistently wonderful. Have loved Victor Garber for years, way before "Alias", and it's great to see him not only act but perform. Julie Gonzalo, Natasha Henstridge, Loretta Devine, Matt Letscher, and James Saito are all excellent, not a clunker in the bunch.
But the show hangs on Jonny Lee Miller, and I must admit, he's been amazing. Miller has an marvelously expressive face. From confusion and embarrassment to desperation, sympathy, sarcasm, cunning, panic, innocence and sometimes fury when he's defending his clients. You can always see what's passing in Eli's head. But Miller's voice is just as amazing, practically every line has an softness or an edge that pulls your attention, makes you listen. Full blown drama to light comedy, he's been incredible to watch.
(Warning: spoilers ahead!) Glad the show has been renewed. The creators have carefully planted a half-dozen story threads. Eli and Maggie are destined for each other, but she's currently engaged. His ex-fiancee, Taylor, still loves Eli, but can't believe in his visions. In episode 12, Eli both accurately predicted an earthquake and prevented a disaster. But the season's finale neatly sidestepped how the city will view him, Eli has to go public now. But the most intriguing question is: how has he changed? Has he changed? Eli had the aneurysm causing his visions removed. While the surgery was a success, a hemorrhage and heart attack so damaged his brain his brother was about to pull the plug. Odd thing though, even without the aneurysm, even while comatose, Eli was still fulfilling his mission and trying to convince a dying cancer patient to fight to live. Did the aneurysm give Eli his visions, or was it just a scientific excuse? Will the visions still come? And now Eli has brought himself back, out of the coma. A miracle that everyone will have to accept or deny.
Hope the suits at ABC keep their fingers off this show, Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim have proved they know what they're doing. Really looking forward to the fall."
Well Worth Your Time
R. E. Somers | Aiken, South Carolina United States | 07/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We watched this show, at first, with very guarded reservations. We are Victor Garbor fans and just wanted to see what the show was about. I must say, that after the first episode, we were hooked. Yes, it is quirky and not at all real-life, but it is very good. We highly recommend that you give this series a try. It has a lot of heart and feel good moments."
James Hiller | Beaverton, OR | 09/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"How many law shows do we need in this country, and don't they all simply run together? PerryLABostonthePraticeMcBealandOrder? I can understand the writer's interest in writing a law show; great episodic stories that you can immediately buy into for a week's episode supported by guest stars that easily come and go, inter-office romances, people who make a lot of money which usually means they make a lot of problems. But aren't they all basically the same?
I guess that's why I initially shied away from watching Eli Stone, despite some catchy promos that I was watching during my Lost-fest. All we needed was another law show like we need another medical show. However, being a legal show grouping, and still smarting after the cancellation and no-DVD release of Ally McBeal, my partner Shane became a quick fan.
So it was just a matter of time before I'd sit down in front of the tube to watch Eli Stone. And what I was, ultimately, was enjoyable! Why? First, the premise of the show is interesting, having a killer corporate lawyer Eli Stone (Jonny Lee Miller) discover he has a brain aneurysm which causes him to have visions that ultimately help out his cases and causes. The visions seemingly point Stone to take cases that normally wouldn't have appeared on his radar screen, much to the chagrin of law office partner Wethersby (Victor Garber) and his daughter and Stone's fiancee Taylor (Natasha Henstridge).
As each episode untangles, you get the sense of some larger pictures that Eli Stone can paint; issues of destiny, divine intervention, and sometimes having to appear to do wrong in order to do right. Stone is not afraid to address these issues, nor are the characters in the show willing to back away when confronted with them, as office assistant and svengali Patti (the amazing Loretta Devine) keeps Stone on his moral toes.
While in every sense, this is yet another legal show, with cases, and many law office scenes, one can sense something bigger and larger looming on the horizon with Eli Stone. For sheer entertainment value (when Eli has a vision, watch out!), and a chance to see George Michael appear on TV, Eli Stone will on my watch list this season."
The gospel of Eli Stone as sung by George Michael
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 02/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Eli Stone, embarking on a new day: "There will be no George Michael songs. There will be no World War II battlefields. Fire breathing dragons will not take up residence in my closet."
Repeat after me: Air a terrific show, axe a terrific show... This seems to be the recurring mantra of these television networks. ELI STONE, debuting during the horribly horrible writers' strike, lasted barely two seasons, totalling a number of 22 episodes that were broadcast, with four unseen episodes still waiting in the wings. But that's many enough to make an impact and to give me flashbacks of fun, quirky shows like ALLY MCBEAL, Wonderfalls - The Complete Series, and Joan of Arcadia - The First Season. WONDERFALLS hinted at and JOAN OF ARCADIA referenced the divine as the underpinning of their respective weirdness. ELI STONE ambles down the same path, whimsically presenting a 1980s British pop icon as possibly the Dude Upstairs himself (if you go by Season 1's finale).
Eli Stone is one of those litigious mo-fos you love to hate. In his own words: "I'm a lawyer. I work at Wethersby, Posner & Klein in San Francisco. Unless you own a huge company that's screwed over the little guy, you've probably never heard of us." Eli greases the wheels of justice in favor of the big corporations, and it's no surprise that he's long been projected as heir apparent to the lead chair of a prestigious San Francisco law firm and engaged to the head partner's beautiful daughter. But all this changes when George Michael starts singing in Eli's living room.
It's a hallucination, of course, possibly stemming from a tiny inoperable brain aneurysm. Or is it a vision, brought about by a modern day prophet just coming into his own? Eli Stone suddenly finds himself experiencing a rash of these hallucinations, and his co-workers begin to note his erratic behavior. His secretary thinks he's freebasing copier toner. But what if these hallucinations actually mean something? This series tells of how Eli comes to grips with his weird, maybe God-given ability and his metamorphosis from weasely attorney to defender of the little guy. Because, nowadays, Eli is more likely to take on a 15-year-old kid as a client or maybe sue the establishment (*cough* Catholic Church). Thanks a bunch, George Michael.
13 episodes in Season One, and they went by like a blur, and faster so on this DVD set. If you hanker for unconventional TV shows, with an irresistible premise and marvelous storytelling, ELI STONE'll do ya. ELI STONE is framed in the legal drama genre, but distinguishes itself with its elements of comedy and quirk. What intrigues the most, of course, are Eli's always arresting visions, which vary from non-sequitur scenarios (a WW2 battlefield, surfer dudes on the beach, an aggresive fire-breathing dragon) to frequent eruptions in giddy musical numbers, to flashback sequences featuring Tom Cavanagh as Eli's tortured father (who, as it turns out, shared Eli's plight). One of my favorite things about Eli is how he gets so into his visions, whether it's his singing and clapping along to the songs or heedlessly diving onto the floor to avoid an imaginary buzzing bi-plane.
George Michael plays a huge role in this series, and not only in Eli's visions. The fun ninth episode features George Michael appearing as himself in real (and not an imaginary figment) and championing the cause of a high school girl expelled for playing one of his songs over the school's PA system. He even delivers a telling courtroom speech. Anyways, the episodes make for compulsive watching as I was kept tuned in to see how everything comes together, how Eli's hallucinations fit into the story. In episode #8 ("Praying for Time"), Eli's crisis of faith comes to a head when he predicts a devastating earthquake and proceeds to get his hands dirty trying to save lives. Except that the earthquake doesn't happen.
I like that there's continuity from one episode to the next. There's a feel that the overarcing narrative is going somewhere. For this first season, the arc concerns Eli's reluctant owning up to his troubling gift and how this irrevocably alters his life and his lifestyle. Another factor which sparks his change of ways is his brain aneurysm. Nothing like possible imminent death to get your priorities straight. If there's a flaw in ELI STONE, it's that the latter episodes are fraught with soap opera indulgences. Of course, the guy and the girl can't start out being together; where's the drama in that? But if they did, well, break that sucker off, even if Eli's fiancee happens to be beautiful and as brilliant a practitioner in law as he. Never mind that the reasoning for the break off smacks of the silly and contrived. Introduce then a short parade of lovelies in Eli's life and my interest all of a sudden kinda waned. It was obvious, after a while, which girl we're supposed to root for to hook up with Eli. It's just that the show gets too cute with all the romantic plot twists.
On the legal side, Eli Stone, even when he was a corporate shyster, was already a great litigator, and this hasn't changed even after he'd turned over a new leaf. We get to see him and his fellow lawyers in action as they try cases flavored with hot button topics, whether it's same gender marriage, prison rights, racism versus prejudice, what constitutes sex education, the right to perish or pharmaceutical shenanigans. There's even a case revolving around whether chimps are deserving of equal human rights. These courtroom scenes are handled pretty decently, although they won't send an electric current thru you like A FEW GOOD MEN did. Me, I'm not too fond of those sequences devoted to the smarmy shyster Matt Dowd.
Headed up by Jonny Lee Miller, the cast is very good, and most of them sing. Miller, whom I've always liked since Hackers, is yet another Englishman who can mimic an American accent, and he's very likeable and disarming as Eli Stone, scum turned hero. Victor Garber (ALIAS, THE MUSIC MAN) lends instant credibility to whatever show he's on. As usual, he steals many scenes here as Eli's exacting boss. Not to mention, dude can belt out a tune. My favorite supporting character is the idealistic and irrepressible first year associate Maggie Dekker, played very friggin' winningly by Julie Gonzalo. James Saito is also good as the Chinese acupuncturist who doubles as Eli's vision interpreter. The biggest surprise for me is that Natasha Henstridge can actually act. And she has a sense of humor and is cognizant of how she's perceived in cinema. In fact, in the extended pilot commentary, at Natasha's first scene, when a commentator remarks, "Oooh, here comes Natasha," she responds drolly with: "You can tell because there's a sex scene." It made me like her more.
For the curious, this 4 disc set includes these special features: lighthearted audio commentaries by cast & crew on three episodes ("I Want Your Sex," "Soul Free" and the extended pilot episode); 7 deleted scenes (including a significant one in which Maggie confesses to Taylor that she kissed Eli); Eli Oops! (bloopers); "Acting on Faith: Eli and George Michael" - an interview with George Michael; "Turning a Prophet: The creation of ELI STONE"; "Creating Visions: The Effects of ELI STONE; and "Inside the Firm: The Natasha Henstridge Tour." Overall, this is stuff worth accessing, especially the commentaries.
Season One ends with Eli having explored and decided on the notion of brain surgery. The final episode is a more introspective one, most of it taking place inside Eli's head and highlighted by a rousing rendition of "Feelin' Good" performed by the cast and George Michael (By the way, Jonny Lee Miller is the only one to not sing a song in this season as all he does is react to all the crazy in his brain). This episode's last few moments are comprised of a pensive close-up of Eli Stone, signifying all sorts of possibilities up in the air. And then the credits roll, this being a pretty good way to shut down the season - leaving its viewers wanting more. Of course, little did we know that "more" would consist of only one more season - and not even a full one, at that. "Air a terrific show, axe a terrific show...""