Hey, You. Why Aren’t You Watching ‘The Good Wife’?

09.08.14 20 Comments

The sixth season of The Good Wife premieres on September 21st. Based on my very scientific research tactics of (a) asking people I know, and (b) glancing in the comments of maybe every third or fourth post about the show, it appears many of you aren’t watching it. This is a mistake on your part. The Good Wife is a good show, and it has been for a while now. Its most recent season was probably it’s best, too, which is saying something for a network drama in 2014 that churns out 22 episodes per year, as opposed to its cable counterparts, which only produce 10-13 (or less, if they’re a beloved AMC series in their final season). My point here is this: You should watch The Good Wife.

In an effort to convince you to start watching, allow me to address some of the concerns I imagine you might have.

It’s on CBS and CBS’s shows are all dumb cookie-cutter procedurals.

You’re not totally wrong here. It is on CBS, which is a network best known for cookie-cutter, crime-of-the-week procedurals like your various NCISes and CSIs. But I swear to God The Good Wife is not like that. I mean, there usually is a new case in each episode (or at least a new issue for one of the show’s firms’ bigger clients), and many of the cases do cover ripped-from-the-headlines issues like NSA wiretapping and personal information getting posted on Reddit, but it’s a lot more than that, too. It’s less of a self-contained Law & Order-style program than it is a legal version of Justified, where at worst the cases are fun and interesting diversions and at best they provide a through-line for the aspects of the show that unfold during the season, or over multiple seasons. In fact, it’s a lot more like a cable series than a network series in a lot of ways. You could take this show and NBC’s Hannibal and plop them on FX, and I really don’t think anyone would notice.

Isn’t it a lady show?

First of all, no. I suppose you wouldn’t have been entirely out of line to think that when the show debuted in 2009, in part because of the title and in part because its jumping off point was Julianna Marguilies’s character, Alicia Florrick, returning to work after her politician husband was sent to jail following a corruption/sex scandal. (The show was inspired by a bunch of political scandals, most notably the Eliot Spitzer one from the same period.) But it became so much more than that, quickly. It’s a whip-smart legal show that features strong performances from men and women alike, including Marguilies, Christine Baranski, Chris Noth, and Josh Charles (who just exited the show during the fifth season), as well as scene-stealing recurring appearances by Michael J. Fox and Carrie Preston. So if you just glanced at the premise five years ago and wrote it off forever, you’ve been missing out.

But second, and more importantly, who gives a sh*t? Even if it was a “lady show,” good shows are good shows, regardless of who they’re aimed at. For the love of God, man, it’s 2014.

Hang on. Aren’t you the guy who won’t shut up about Franklin & Bash, though?

How dare you use my words against me?

Look, yes, one of the reasons I started watching The Good Wife is because I will watch literally any legal show. (Ask me about Suits sometime if you have an hour.) And I do enjoy Frankin & Bash because it’s dumb, silly, mindless fun during the summer. But this isn’t that. This is, like, a real show.

Okay, fine. I’ll watch. But how the hell am I supposed to catch-up on 112 episodes before the premiere on September 21st?

Hmm. That’s a fair point, 112 episodes is a lot of episodes. Although former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claims to have watched the entire series in two weeks after leaving the company, and it is available for streaming on Amazon Prime, so it’s not impossible if you feel like carving out about six hours a day for binge-watching over the next two weeks. If you’re not an recently unemployed multi-billionaire, however, I imagine it could be pretty tough. I guess you could always take your time and get caught up at a more leisurely pace, then jump in live mid-season. Or just hit Wikipedia to get the fast facts and hit the ground running on the 21st. Or, hell, don’t watch this season — Sundays this fall are a killer anyway — and binge-watch it all next summer. I don’t really care. I just want more people to start watching The Good Wife so when I scream “WHAT IS CARY DOING RIGHT NOW?” into the heavens this fall, maybe someone will shout back “I KNOW, RIGHT?” That’s what’s important here.

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