"Perry Mason" and the Pandemic Binge - by Eric C. Clark
Updated: Mar 10
Thanks to this lovely pandemic, viewing entertainment has been put in the hands of streaming services. For a guy like me, who has been chained to a laptop, working from home since mid-March, binging some of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time, these streaming services have been a virtual God send. Well, if that’s something you subscribe to?
With so many of these services battling it out for your binging time, HBO decided to enter the ring with its own version known as HBOMax in addition to their regular HBO service.
HBOMax not only offers streaming of all things HBO, but it also has many programs available through their partnership with WarnerMedia, and has some exciting new exclusive content. Among the HBO content is the reimagining of the courthouse drama of old, "Perry Mason."
**** MILD SPOILERS ****
In this updated version, Matthew Rhys brilliantly takes the reins from the fantastic Raymond Burr, as the sleuth turned defense attorney seeking truth and justice for the innocent.
We open with Rhys as a haunted private eye working under the tutelage of aging attorney E.B. Jonathan portrayed by the profoundly talented John Lithgow, in a post-Great Depression 1930’s Los Angeles. After the kidnapping of a newborn goes horrifically awry, Mason is set on an investigative path set to change everything he believes about himself, and his career.
The eight-chapter season one is filled with unexpected turns that will not only, at times, twist your stomach, but will definitely keep you itching for next Sunday to reveal even more of the mystery. Who killed baby Charlie? What role did the cult-like church play? Can the LAPD be trusted to investigate? Mason must uncover the truth and find the real killer before a woman is sentenced to death.
Joining Rhys and Lithgow in this soon to be classic are the likes of Juliette Rylance as Della, Chris Chalk as Officer Drake, Gayle Rankin, Lili Taylor, and Robert Patrick. And in a brilliant cameo as E.B.’s son is Ian Lithgow, real life son of John Lithgow, with potentially sinister plans for his fathers firm.
Everything about this series screams talent and experience. It’s definitely another Home Run for HBO and all involved. I’d be very surprised if "Perry Mason" weren’t heavily represented in next year’s award galas.
Produced by the uber-talented Robert Downey Jr., and with the writing of co-creators Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones, among others, this is a true, modern masterpiece of small screen story retelling. A dark, gritty setting lends to the sinister events unfolding in a poverty-stricken Los Angeles where people will do almost anything for the almighty dollar.
Eric is a writer, artist, horror aficionado, and Hüsker Foöd Zine's resident film/TV guru. You can check out some of his work here.