I’m not the biggest fan of the “Perry Mason” reboot currently airing on HBO. It’s OK, and not boring. The acting is good all around — Matthew Rhys, John Lithgow, Juliet Rylance, Tatiana Maslaney, and Chris Chalk all do nicely — even when some of the characters are poorly written. And the 1930s setting is beautifully evoked. But I found the plotting sloppy and the pacing, which turns Perry from a gumshoe screw-up to a master of the courtroom nearly overnight — consistently distracting.
Still, I’m glad that HBO has just renewed “Perry Mason” for a second season. There is a lot of promise in the show, as it turns network TV’s black and white icon of justice into an HBO-styled flawed hero who suffers from PTSD from his wartime experiences in France. I’m hoping the next season will be smoother, since the writers won’t need to give us Perry’s transformative backstory at the same time that they lay out a crime and then let Perry solve it.
Initially, the show was going to be a limited series. But, not surprisingly, it has been a ratings hit for HBO. The June premiere was ultimately watched by 8 million viewers, which is an awful lot in the cable universe.