Perry Mason

Continuing 2020’s theme of “Things I didn’t see coming”, HBO presents Perry Mason. It appears to be based more on the novels that also inspired the classic TV series. So, here’s a trailer:

Looks interesting but from the first book, Perry Mason was always an attorney. He wasnt a hard nosed detective. That was Paul Drake. Its basically creating an origin story and from what I can tell will continue to portray him as a private dick and not an attorney. So no, I don’t think it is going to be as true to the books.

Perry Mason is something my parents watched. I’m 61. How much traction does this IP have, especially if he’s no longer an attorney? As I recall the courtroom drama was part of the show.

Yeah. That trailer really confused me.

I remember watching the show. It is still on some obscure cable channels but I find it almost unwatchable now. I think every show ended up with Perry solving the murder in the courtroom.

Having him be a private detective seems so wrong. I wonder if they will use the classic theme music.

As far as I can tell, this is the ONLY reason to use the Perry Mason character.

And yeah, if my mom were still alive, she would be all over this. I’m not sure who else it’s supposed to appeal to, and that’s from someone who’s probably seen more episodes of the show than most people.


Put me in the “why even call him Perry Mason?” camp. Name recognition is worthless if you’re going to make such a radical change to the IP.

I’ll pass.

Even though I’ve never seen Perry Mason, it’s still got a lot of name recognition. It used to be a big part of pop culture, mentioned by stand-up comics, late-night hosts, etc. So even though I’m not exactly sure what the show was about, I know that it was a show, and that it was really popular among old people.

I’d be willing to check out a new version.

That may be, but using a recognizable IP and turning it into something completely different does not get you a lot of good will.

It’s as if I said I was producing a comedy about a wacky opera company and calling it The Sopranos

He’s a defense attorney who never loses a case. He solves a mystery by finding the real perp behind the crime.

As I recall he would maneuver the guilty party, usually in the gallery, into jumping up and confessing. Also, he did lose a case at the beginning of one episode.

He then won it on appeal.

Oh, and the DA’s name was Hamilton Berger (get it?)

I watched the first episode last night and really liked it. It’s got a killer prologue and opening sequence with Perry on the job. The production design, cars, sets, costumes, all of it looks amazing. Great cast also.

It actually reminded me more strongly of videogames than anything else (specifically, the original Mafia and L.A. Noire) though there are also hints of The Untouchables and The Exorcist. It’s darkly funny and introduces the main character in dire circumstances with the odds firmly against him from the outset.

Can’t wait to watch more but I love love love that HBO still makes me wait.

I also dug it; though it comes with a few disclaimers. First, it’s the full HBO-being-edgy package, so there’s nudity, gore, and subject matter that may put some people off (children not just in peril but much worse.) Second, it has zero to do with the presentation of Perry Mason in the TV show and the books - here he’s shown as a PI, not a lawyer. Third, it starts off really dark.

Points two and three might not stick: it looks like this is an origin story for Perry and we’re starting with the darkest part. Perry pointedly says “No one is innocent!” in the first episode and that’s the kind of remember-this-for-future-reference line that ends up getting a contrast at the end.

But taking it as a dark noir* set in 1930s LA, I’m quite pleased. The first scene in the morgue was like Billy Wilder at his finest: both disturbing and hilarious.

As a random historical side note, this is the second show currently airing with an Aimee Semple McPherson-like character in it (Penny Dreadful being the other)

*So sue me.

Perry Mason was not a lying, cheating, blackmailing asshole and I find it hard to believe that this is what they decided on for his origin story. The whole blackmail thing really put me off It was pretty common knowledge that Hollywood in the 30’s was very “connected” As a PI he absolutely should have known that. Why he thought he could blackmail the mob and they wouldn’t make him pay for it boggles the mind. Perry Mason is supposed to he a superior intellect not a total frikkin moron Just my opinion but they never should have made this show under the Perry Mason banner. Its insulting to the source material. Its not a bad noir style detective show but as a Perry Mason origin show its hot garbage.

I watched the Perry Mason TV movies from the 80’s with Raymond Burr reprising his role from the original. That’s how I remember him: Matlock with a goatee…

And though I don’t have any idea why they’re using that name in this new series, I really like it. The details are really nice, like when Perry uses “hammer and tongs”, the sex scene where he ends up wedged beside the bed was great, the total lack of rules of evidence, but there’s still fingerprint dusting, Tatiana Maslany’s sweaty face when talking to the parents. I love the “golden noir” styling. I think Rhys plays up the hang-doggedness just a bit too much. Give some life to the character! But I’m having a blast with it so far.

We have certainly enjoyed the first two episodes.

Its certainly got the HBO production values behind it, with a solid cast. Story has been interesting so far. See if it holds in the end.

I was curious about Tatiana Maslany’s Sister Alice character and decided to check and see if she is based on a real life figure. It turns out that she is. Sister Aimee Semple McPherson was one of Hollywood’s first entertainment televangelists and Sister Alice is clearly built on her, right down to a bizarre kidnapping.

So like I said, an origin story. A little contrived, but Google tells me that yes, all you have to do to be a lawyer in California is pass the bar. And it was a clever way to introduce Hamilton Burger as a character.