LOS ANGELES – Fans of intelligent, provocative dramas should pony up $6 per month for a CBS All Access subscription to watch “The Good Fight.”
Donald Trump, however, should avoid it at all costs.
Alec Baldwin’s impressions of the president on “Saturday Night Live” were a pinprick compared with the needling this “Good Wife” spinoff gave the president during its first two years on the air.
Not that the left is completely off the hook. In one episode last year, creators Michelle and Robert King had their characters squabbling over whether the #MeToo movement has gone too far.
“How exciting it is to be in a show where we portray people that are living in this moment,” said Christine Baranski, who plays Diane Lockhart, the liberal-leaning partner who turned to recreational drugs and gun-carrying last season.
“It’s a brave move for the writers to be in the belly of the beast. I think Rob and Michelle are almost breathlessly reading the newspaper and thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh. What fresh hell is this I’m going to write about?’ ”
In the new season, which kicks off Thursday, we meet Roland Blum, a lawyer with more than a passing resemblance to Roger Stone.
“He’s like the god Pan. He’s just appetite,” said Michael Sheen (“Frost/Nixon,” “Masters of Sex”), who joins the already stellar cast as Blum. “He wants to eat, screw, disrupt, just poke people. If you are incredibly flexible about your morality, it puts you at an advantage in a lot of ways.
“And unless you understand that, you will always be at a disadvantage. How do you combat that kind of behavior without also becoming the monster?”
Not that “The Good Fight” is above having fun. Every episode this season will feature a short cartoon break, loosely modeled on “Schoolhouse Rock,” but with titles such as “Roy Cohn Came to Party.” Characters also occasionally burst into song. Blum gets “I’ll Be There.” Lockhart and her frenemy, Liz Lawrence, pull “Raspberry Beret.”
“I never thought we’d be singing a Prince duet on television, but there you have it,” said Audra McDonald, who joined the show last season as Lawrence.
Don’t expect the performance to earn McDonald an award to add to her already impressive collection of Emmys, Tonys and Grammys. Despite its high-caliber writing and acting, the show has yet to earn even an Emmy nomination for anything other than music.
That’s probably because CBS All Access remains under the radar.
As of last month, the streaming service has just 4 million subscribers. Executives hope to more than double that number by year’s end with the help of a new comedic drama from “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry and a “Star Trek” spinoff featuring Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard.
But swimming outside the mainstream has its advantages.
“I think if we were on a regular network, it would constrain some of our storytelling,” McDonald said. “We’re not bound by the same sort of censorship rules and whatnot. We’re able to tell the story the way it needs to be told.”