Last November, ABC axed three sophomore dramas offering no indication of when, if ever, the remaining episodes would air. Now that the summer season of R&R (reruns and reality) is upon us, the alphabet network is burning off the leftover episodes of their cancelled shows. Last week saw the series finale of the critically acclaimed Pushing Daisies tie up loose ends, and tonight Eli Stone begins a four episode run scheduled to conclude on July 11th.
Created by Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, Eli Stone stars British actor Jonny Lee Miller in the title role as a successful attorney who begins having hallucinations. A visit to his neurologist brother Nathan confirms that Eli has an inoperable brain aneurysm, which begins to affect both his career and his personal life. Yet Eli’s acupuncturist Dr. Chen offers another explanation; that his visions are divinely inspired and can be used for good.
Originally premiering in January 2008 as a mid-season replacement, Eli Stone was seen by 11.83 million viewers and obtained a 4.2/12 rating/share in the important 18-49 demographic. Although it was renewed for a second season of thirteen episodes, the legal dramedy couldn’t capitalize on its lead-in audience from Dancing With the Stars and ratings dropped significantly.
When we last saw Eli Stone, back in December, our favourite lawyer/modern day prophet was juggling his brother’s wedding to his former flame Beth, and a case about a transgendered minister. During an acupuncture treatment called the ‘Dark Truth’, Eli has a vision of Beth calling off the wedding due to unresolved feelings for him. Despite his best efforts to push the wedding forward, he can’t change Beth’s mental state and her decision devastates Nate. As Eli attempts to apologize to Nathan for his role in the decision, his nose begins to bleed.
Tonight’s episode, titled “Sonoma”, involves Taylor, Matt, Eli, and Maggie on an awkward road trip to question a witness in wine country, which leads to a major development in the Eli/Maggie relationship. Meanwhile, Eli suffers the consequences of the ill advised ‘Dark Truth’ treatment.
As for the series finale, Guggenheim promises closure, telling SCI FI Wire, “We wrote it knowing that we were on the bubble, so we wrote it to work like it could be a mid-season finale or it could be a series finale. It has a real satisfying sense of closure”.
Life after Eli Stone is going well for the cast and crew. Jonny Lee Miller is preparing to make his Broadway debut this fall in “After Miss Julie”, and Loretta Devine (Patti) has a role in the upcoming American remake of British comedy Death at a Funeral, to be released in 2010. Co-stars Victor Garber (Jordan Weathersby) and Julie Gonzalo (Maggie) are also keeping busy, with a voiceover role in DC Comics’ animated feature Green Lantern: First Flight and a part in NBC’s new show Day One about survivors of a devastating global event, respectively.
Guggenheim may be mourning the cancellation of Eli Stone, admitting that the worst part about being cancelled was the possibility that the episodes would never air, but his new ABC project FlashForward has promise, already being promoted as a replacement for returning favourite Lost, which will air its final season in January. Before Eli Stone takes its final bow, Guggenheim offered a few words to the small, but devoted, fan base saying, “Thanks for watching. Thank you for posting. Thank you for creating Web sites.”
Eli Stone: The Complete Second Season will be released on DVD on August 18th.
Flashforward premieres September 24th on ABC.