A slight emendation

Re-reading what I wrote yesterday about David Kelley's first draft script of Life On Mars, I seem to have said that I believe Mr. Kelley has a hang-up with his own perfection. That's not what I meant. Though with his history of uber-clever, successful writing, he'd have damn good reason for thinking highly of himself.

So, no offense to Mr. Kelley personally. Or to any of his previous -- and one hopes future -- wonderful shows.

But his script was still a miserable adaptation. Though I have heard that the Kelley script that was actually shot (and discarded) was a later version that hewed more closely to the original BBC show in tone and character. I hope so. Everyone's allowed a crappy first draft. Though even the later draft clearly wasn't what the network wanted. And what they wanted was pretty darn good.

Maybe even super-talented writers just can't write something they don't at heart agree with. David Kelley's best work is about lawyers. And Life On Mars isn't a lawyer show. Not just in its subject matter -- in its philosophy. It argues that the kind of elegant thinking and reasoning -- seeing both sides of an argument, and protecting the intangible rights behind the laws even at the expense of the person immediately in front of you -- while GOOD THINGS (can't argue with that), can also lead to deadening of the instincts, and even of the soul.

Deep stuff. But it's cop stuff. Not lawyer stuff.

Still, I have to give credit to Kelley for bringing the show to ABC and seeing it got made. Thanks, man.

Now go write some awesome lawyer stuff.

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