FIRST LOOK: Perry Mason (2020 TV Series) – HBO Max – NOT the Perry We Know and Love

When I heard that HBO was rebooting the TV series Perry Mason, I was both skeptical and curious. I mean, how do you do this without the legendary Raymond Burr?

Origin story. Prequel.

I won’t begrudge you for having Star Wars prequels nightmares. George Lucas ruined prequels for me. That’s not quite what this is, though, is it?

Somewhat SPOILER, but that does seem the path the pilot episode is taking. It’s backdrop is the Great Depression, and it’s not the courtroom drama we’re used to seeing from the old black and white episodes. It’s a very different Los Angeles …

1931, Los Angeles. While the rest of the country struggles through the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong. Based on characters created by author Erle Stanley Gardner, this drama series follows the origins of American fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason. When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.

Perry Mason – Rotten Tomatoes


It’s got f-bombs, nudity, sex, blood, violence and, yeah, it’s very much for mature audiences.

But does it have a good mystery being solved?

That’s the signature Earl Stanley Gardner Perry Mason, complete with the defeat of defense attorney Hamilton Burger. Does it have Perry’s faithful, demure assistant Della Street? She’s in the first episode, but — you’ll have to tune into see what she’s doing. I’m not here to spoil the entire episode.

This prequel Perry Mason is a detective, taking pictures and showing emotional outbursts that one can’t even fathom the calm, collected Perry Mason we know having.

After watching the first episode, I’m getting the sense that the drama is waiting to see when we’ll see the Perry Mason we know and love appear.

Argh, I played that waiting game with the evolution of Darth Vader and it took two movies to sort of get there. I’m in for one more episode, but probably not going to be reviewing this one each week. This feels much, much more like Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (minus the nervous tic, and despite it being the gumshoe 50s, vs. the 30s) than Perry Mason.

Only this scene gives viewers any real sense of the Perry Mason we are familiar with …

Missing the mystery of the original already. You? Seems like they just used the Perry Mason IP to get people to watch this. Don’t like being tricked like that …

Perry Mason (2020) Season 1, episode 1 is now available on HBO Max for streaming.

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