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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Sheridan's triumph

Author: skoyles from Calgary AB Canada
23 September 2003

This short-lived series was an acting tour-de-force by the under-appreciated Jamey Sheridan. Here is an actor who captured every nuance of the complex sympathetic Shannon struggling, as much as anything, to re-polish a very tarnished humanity. A fine series, still missed by all too few of us.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One of the best TV shows ever

10/10
Author: margerynan from Goffstown NH United States
10 May 2006

Shannon's Deal was one of the best TV shows ever. Writing by John Sayles, soundtrack by Wynton Marsalis, great acting. It was also interesting in that the endings were not the pat predictable type.

I think part of what damaged the show was its bad luck in timing. The pilot episode aired on the date of the Tiananmen Square massacre--not the sort of event to put one in the mood for light comedy. The next fall, the show was entirely overshadowed by another new show--Twin Peaks. The subtlety of Sayles's writing was lost under the weight of Twin Peaks's bizarreness. It got some favorable press later in the season, but I guess it never built the audience it needed.

I tried to catch the show, but the network kept changing when it was on. The last episode I saw, at the end of a season, was a cliffhanger: Shannon was about to sue his old law firm for mishandling his father's union's pension fund. I don't know if they ever made the episode that was supposed to start the next season.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

My favorite Show

10/10
Author: Tom Trocco (ttrocco@yahoo.com) from Brooklyn, NY, USA
13 June 2007

What a perfect melding of actors, directors, writing, and music! In an era (the turn from the 1980s to th 1990s), Shannon's Deal was ahead of the pack then and now in its quality.

Jamey Sheridan gave us a complex antihero. Elizabeth Pena brought us smarts and sass in a latina character that was not a caricature. Jenny Lewis... Well, jenny Lewis later became a singer.

The closest I can think of are some of the great Howard Hawks films with great characters and overlapping dialog.

I have the pilot and episodes 1-11 on DVDs I burned from my O-L-D video tapes. I cherish these, but the quality is poor. WHEN OH WHEN will this come out on DVD???

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Jamey Sheridan's best work to date

10/10
Author: Cheyenne-Bodie
9 September 2006

My favorite shows of the late 80's and early 90's were "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" and "Shannon's Deal".

Independent film director John Sayles ("Lone Star", "Sunshine State") created this superb series, which kind of crosses "Perry Mason" with "The Verdict".

Shannon is a former big time litigator who lost his job and his family due to a gambling addiction. But his teenage daughter still loves him, and is often around. Shannon now has his own low rent law firm where he handles small time clients. Shannon has trouble paying his secretary, who works part time as a waitress. (Shannon is also half in love with his amazing secretary.) Shannon gets around Philadelphia on a bicycle.

Shannon's goal as a lawyer is to keep his clients out of court. I don't think we ever see Shannon in a trial. (The New York Times TV critic, who loved this show, thought Shannon was a private detective.)

Beautiful Elizabeth Pena ("Lone Star") played Shannon's Della Streeet, who may be even smarter than Shannon. A loan shark's debt collector, who is into self-improvement via watching PBS, is Shannon's Paul Drake. Shannon helps the son of his friend on the force prepare for the law school entrance exams (until he learns the boy wants to be a cop like his father.) Miguel Ferrer plays a DA in some episodes. As far as I remember, we never see Shannon's ex-wife, who could have been an interesting character (Blythe Danner?).

David Strathairn, who went to Williams with Sayles and is a member of his film repertory company, could have been a great Jack Shannon. But they came up with Jamey Sheridan, who was perfect. Sheridan really grew on you episode by episode. A great series lead. I still seek out Sheridan's work.

I really think this show could have been a success if NBC had been more creative and persistent. Characters this appealing don't come along often. Maybe Jack and Lucy (Pena) should have moved out west and become regulars on "LA Law". They could have livened that show up. Arnie would have loved Lucy. As it is, "Shannon's Deal" is a candidate for "TV Too Good For TV".

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Shannon's Deal

Author: Scatchard from Fort Lauderdale, FL
9 February 2005

Shannon's Deal was a well-written, well-acted show. Jamey Sheridan was a perfect fit to play Jack Shannon, an attorney who was starting over with his own law office. The show played out more like a detective show than a typical show about a lawyer. Shannon was usually hunting down leads in an overcoat and even had the small office with the loyal secretary. It was created by John Sayles who also appeared in an episode.

With so many shows being released on DVD hopefully Shannon's Deal can find it's way there as well. Until then I suppose we can take comfort in that Who's The Boss? season one box. It was a high quality show at a low quality time. No wonder it didn't last.

If anyone has any episodes out there let me know!

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One of the best shows... ever.

10/10
Author: efffigie from United States
16 May 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have never forgotten this show and its devastatingly real treatment of the lead character's gambling addiction that ruined his entire life. The pilot movie was good, John Sayles always is, but the show was honestly not only grimly funny but grim. I will never forget one especially tough episode in which Shannon scrapes enough money together to buy his teenage daughter an expensive bicycle, only to discover his gift can't compete with her new stepfather's gift of a new car; she refuses the bike. That was bad enough, but he rides the bike around for the rest of the show, and and at the end, exits a building... and finds the bike gone: it's been stolen. I can't forget Jamey Sheridan's demeanor of near-desperation and hopelessness, staring at a broken bike lock on a courthouse steps and regarding his equally broken life. This was a GREAT show, if often truly brutal; not really violent, but just brutal in it's depiction of someone laid completely low. The second season 'lightened it up' a bit and the show suffered for that; the first season was brilliant TV. Elizabeth Pena was so beautiful in this; the only time she's been more beautiful is in the equally forgotten JACOB'S LADDER. But Sheridan created a character any actor would murder to have inhabited; and it's been almost totally lost. Re-issue this. It's not a 'please' kind of thing: just re-issue it already.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Robin Hood as a lawyer who has a gambling problem.

Author: David Dery from Montreal
12 May 1999

It had a great story line. But did not air long. This series probably upsets lawyer: the hero worked to gain his son's esteem more than for money!

Each week Shannon would face impossible odds, but being a good gambler would win by gambling or bluffing his way through.

I liked the story and the character was sympathetic. But if I remember correctly, it did not have a good time slot...

I guess there were too many lawyer stories, not like today! ;-)

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Robin Hood as a lawyer who has a gambling problem.

Author: David Dery from Montreal
12 May 1999

It had a great story line. But did not air long. This series probably upsets lawyer: the hero worked to gain his son's esteem more than for money!

Each week Shannon would face impossible odds, but being a good gambler would win by gambling or bluffing his way through.

I liked the story and the character was sympathetic. But if I remember correctly, it did not have a good time slot...

I guess there were too many lawyer stories, not like today! ;-)

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