David E. Kelley’s Goliath TV show premieres on Amazon, Friday, October 14, 2016. One of the few to have created series airing on all four major commercial U.S. broadcast networks — the prolific TV show writer and producer may never return to that medium. A legal drama, Goliath (formerly Trial) stars Billy Bob Thornton, William Hurt, Olivia Thirlby, Maria Bello, Molly Parker, Dwight Yoakam, Harold Perrineau, and Ever Carradine.
During the Goliath presentation at the TCA summer press tour, when asked if he would ever return to broadcast television, Kelley said, “[I] don’t think so,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. His upcoming comedy series, Little Big Lies, starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Alexander Skarsgård is bound for HBO.
Here is more from THR:
Kelley went into detail about the “burden” on broadcast television writers “of constantly having to bring your viewers up to speed in case they missed that last episode.” Whereas on Amazon, “you have no such burden here,” he continued. “You’re trusting that your audience is going to sit down and maybe watch the whole series in a week. You don’t have to remind them what they saw an hour and a half ago. You can be more efficient in your storytelling and you can just go deeper.”
Kelley also spoke about having to craft stories around commercial breaks. “Even if you’re fast-forwarding through it, it’s very onerous,” he said. “In this, we’re doing one hours and we don’t have to take those breaks and we don’t have to craft episodes with those obstacles and it’s a much freer and richer way to tell stories.”
“One of the things that always appealed to us is, wouldn’t it be great to really do an anatomy of a trial and be more myopic of the pieces of the trial,” said Kelley. “Mining it over eight hours was something I was never able to do on broadcast television and I quite enjoy doing it here.”
When asked if he thinks Goliath could air on broadcast TV, Kelley said there would have to be several changes to the current format before he would consider it.
“I haven’t seen anything on broadcast that is like it, so I think it’s possible but we have some pretty deep and dark character arcs within this series that really require a lot of patience with the audience, patience that I’m not sure a broadcast regime is going to give you,” he said. “I guess it is possible. If broadcast gets rid of commercials and changes their storytelling form, then yes. … But I do think that the form of storytelling that we’re engaging in on this show is not currently thriving in broadcast.”
For all of his issues with the current state of the Big Four, Kelley also sounded slightly cautious about Amazon as well, particularly when it comes to the reach and accessibility of the platform. “I am a little bit daunted by the fact that Amazon shows aren’t the easiest to watch — that’s getting better. I’m a dinosaur, I just like to turn on the remote and want to see it come on the screen,” he said. “They need to get better at that. They are, but it’s a concern.”
Amazon says, “Goliath follows a down-and-out lawyer (Thornton) as he seeks redemption. His one shot depends on getting justice in a legal system where truth has become a commodity, and the scales of justice have never been more heavily weighed toward the rich and powerful.”
What do you think? Do you prefer shows on premium cable, Amazon, Netflix, and the like, or are you still a broadcast network devotee? Do you plan to check out the Goliath TV series, when it drops to Amazon?