Don’t let the cancellation of Hulu’s “Reboot” fool you — resurrecting old TV series from the dead is still all the rage. “That ’70s Show,” “The Wonder Years,” “Perry Mason,” and “DuckTales,” among others, have all found their way back to our screens. So I guess it was only a matter of time before someone had the grand idea to call upon everyone’s small-town, folksy lawyer. CBS has ordered a return to the courtroom in the form of a “Matlock” robot. Variety reports that a pilot from writer and executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman (“Jane The Virgin” creator) is in the works.
The original “Matlock,” created by Dean Hargrove, aired from 1986 to 1992 with Andy Griffith playing the titular lawyer for the show’s nine-season run. The series follows Ben Matlock, a very expensive criminal defense attorney with a penchant for solving murders. But unlike the gruff, crime-solving individual who usually leads these weekly murder stories, Matlock was an old-fashioned, grandfatherly fella. While the attitude will probably remain the same, the face at the center of this story will be pretty different: Kathy Bates is set to star as the brilliant Madeline Matlock.
Say hello to Madeline Matlock
Who’s to say if people were clamoring for a “Matlock” reboot? All I know is that Kathy Bates running circles around her competition in a courtroom definitely appeals. It’s even better when you remember that this isn’t her first time kicking ass as a lawyer: she also starred in the short-lived David E. Kelley legal comedy, “Harry’s Law.” While that series didn’t last beyond two seasons, the opportunity to see Kathy Bates be a courtroom badass has returned and we shouldn’t waste it.
The new “Matlock” series is not a continuation but takes inspiration from its predecessor (which hopefully means bringing back the Dick DeBenedictis theme music). The official description reads: “After achieving success in her younger years, the brilliant septuagenarian Madeline Matlock (Bates) rejoins the workforce at a prestigious law firm where she uses her unassuming demeanor and wily tactics to win cases and expose corruption from within.”
CBS has plenty of pilots ready for takeoff
Between “Matlock” and Rian Johnson’s “Poker Face” (the Peacock original being touted as a modern-day “Columbo), it sounds like case-of-the-week murder sagas are making a comeback! In fact, it looks like CBS is really doubling down on the courtroom antics; in the same breath, the network ordered a pilot for another “The Good Wife” spinoff, starring Carrie Preston. The series, “Elsbeth,” will follow the “astute but unconventional attorney” after her successful career in Chicago. Making the move to the big city, she will use her “singular point of view to make unique observations and corner brilliant criminals alongside the NYPD.”
If they really want to gear up for a blast from the past, then maybe these two attorneys will cross paths in a TV crossover event. The world needs more crossovers that don’t involve tights, aliens, or infinity stones! I demand to see Kathy Bates and Carrie Preston go head to head in a rousing courtroom drama! Or at least work together to solve a really twisty crime. But first, these pilots will have to inspire two series orders.
CBS, obsessed with crime and IP, has also ordered a pilot for a show called “Watson.” While inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries, the series won’t actually feature the famous detective. It’s not enough that HBO Max keeps advertising me a show about Batman’s butler, or that they also have a “Scooby Doo” series without the titular dog— now CBS is trying to see us on Watson without Holmes. What has the world come to? The series will follow Dr. John Watson after the death of Sherlock Holmes, putting together the clues to hunt down his friend’s murderer and archnemesis, Moriarty.