Los Angeles in the year 2030 is the backdrop for CBS’s
latest law drama, “Century City.” The series seeks to
tackle futuristic, controversial legal cases such as clone
smuggling, bionically enhanced athletes and anti-aging contracts.
While some aspects of the program may be weak, the story and the
cast has the potential to take the overdone law genre in an
interesting new direction.
Emmy award-winning Hector Elizondo (TV’s “Chicago
Hope”) leads the cast as Marty, a senior partner in the
unnamed law firm of the future. He has teamed up with Hannah (Viola
Davis, “Far From Heaven”) to work with several young
associates on one bizarre case after another. Lukas (Ioan Gruffudd,
“Black Hawk Down”) is the most ambitious of the bunch,
taking on a pro bono client in the pilot with the self-confidence
of an optimistic rookie. Nestor Carbonell (“Veronica’s
Closet”) also stars as an ex-congressmen turned lawyer.
The interactions between the lawyers and the characters
themselves seem to come second to the plotline and the display of
various futuristic gadgets. Apparently, holograms are big in the
future, allowing for pre-trial conferencing without leaving the
office and three-dimensional videogames. For the most part, the
holograms appear realistic and do not distract, but a fabricated
skyline of L.A. in several shots is an obvious green-screen
enhancement that weakens the illusion.
Hopefully in the coming weeks, the main characters will develop
and expand from their now two-dimensional shells. The pilot already
hinted at this development with brief mention of a previous
relationship between Lukas and the beautiful Lee May (Kristin
Lehman, TV’s “Felicity”). The stunning lawyer is
a reminder of Nell from “Ally McBeal,” and admits she
was genetically engineered to be smart and strong, an issue that
may come into use in subsequent storylines.
The show would be wise to give the always-solid Elizondo more
screen time. And, with a few minor adjustments, such as some
dedicated attention to visuals and more realistic characters,
“Century City” could last long into the future.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars