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Not that many people will be reading my comments as this show is a couple of years old now but we are seeing it for the first time in Australia and I must comment on the grittiness and unglamourous world of the arraignment courts in the USA. We are bombarded with lawyer and police shows with beautiful people who are, oh, so smart and unbelievable! Yet, 100 Centre Street works because it does not glamourise itself and the stories and actors are all believable. The few episodes we have seen so far, only about 4 or 5, have all been outstanding and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing more. Superb, this is a 10/10 for anyone who wants to see the 'other side' of life!
I envy you folks in Australia getting to spend time with the fantastic
characters in this show. When it went off the air here in the U.S., it
absolutely broke my heart. I had come to care about so many of the
characters and loved the time that was spent getting to know them. It is one
of the few shows that actually let people talk...
It reminded me of European films, and even television, that delve deep into characters and themes and don't feel pressured to bang out action sequences for the A.D.D generation.
I so hope Mr. Lumet gives us more of exactly what this was -- one of the best dramas on television, ever. Lumet really amazes me.
I know this is a late comment, but we in Australia are just viewing this
American series. Firstly, I would like to thank Mr Lumet, for such a
American TV. Normally what we, non-American audiences, are subject to what
is the common formulised-to-the-max drama with each episode inevitably
concluding with a win for the "good guys/gals". I simply am bored, no a
angry, with all these trite and over-glamourised TV dramas. I refuse to
shows like Law and Order and other similar shows because they follow the
same, thoughtless formulas which are normally so predictable, it really
worth my time while depicting a warped view of human societies.
In Australia we are showing it on our national TV broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, similar to the American Public Broadcasting System without the ads. This means, naturally, the audience is rather limited here which is, for me, a great shame. For if more non-Australians watched this insightful and mature drama where ordinary people are depicted as close as ordinary people are, they would get to know how flawed the most powerful country in human history is for those for lack the finance for the basic decencies of human needs, like sufficient nutrition, decent shelter, equal rights under the law, humane social welfare system, etc etc - and all this in a country which boasts the greatest number of billionaires on the planet. I cannot praise Alan Alder's acting enough though the rest of the cast deserve equal praise. But it is in the very conception and the great writing which has never faulted in its depiction of a courtroom environment that deserve the greatest praise.
I would imagine that a television drama which gives equal depiction to story and character would not be easy to sell to American and thus overseas networks. Whatever, it makes for compelling and intelligent television - a rarity from American networks.
It is such a shame that it doesn't have a wider audience.
I like this gritty, well written drama. Good acting, realistic stories. I just have one complaint: The story line involving the brouhaha over judge Alan Arkin releasing the young kid who subsequently killed a young cop seemed a little disingenuous, since the kid was before the judge for jumping a turnstile in the subway. No mention of any violent crime. No one could have forseen that the kid would have committed a violent crime. Except for that one point, this looks like a terrific show. Hope to see it on A&E
This was a series that ran something less than two full seasons. I'm
not sure all the episodes listed actually ran.
It had an unusually large and diversified cast, headed by Academy Award winning actor Alan Arkin and the magnificent LaTanya Richardson as diametrically opposed, both judicially and politically, but sill close, New York City judges.
It seems to me producer Lumet sought to bring back some of the quality that occasionally surfaced in the early days of live TV drama. I think he succeeded brilliantly. While the series slightly lost focus in its' second season, due mainly to cast defections and resulting plot line changes, it was, IMHO, head and shoulders above most of what passes for dramatic TV these days.
It is always a joy to see artists the likes of Arkin, Richardson, et al, applying their craft in an obviously friendly environment.
So far as I know, this two season series is not available on DVD. It should be.
100 Center St was a great show. Another of many (Boomtown is another)
killed because it wasn't dumb enough, not of the formulae of the
moment, and not immediately "hot", and therefore no immediate financial
gratification or foreseeable success to the unimaginative producers or
networks. It was gritty and sometimes controversial. It had the
misfortune of being on a small unsure network that could not/would not
afford longterm investment.
Alan Arkin, who plays a judge, was and is an American acting gem. Lumet's concept and writing was real, smart, painful, revelatory, and ultimately satisfying as great tragedies are. Overall the ensemble was a delight and made us want to know how they and stories would develop or cope with their many very real challenges - challenges that were common to many of us, and not the extremes shown on 'Law & Order' or 'House'...
(100 Center St is the real address of the downtown NYC courthouse. The show followed the working and personal lives of the judges, prosecutors, and defenders and the struggles between law, justice, politics, true care, and personal ambition or desire around this common case inner-city court.)
I miss this show. Every episode was like a feature film. Real quality work. It was treated poorly by the network that aired it. Word of mouth can go only so far. It should've been advertised more. Alan Arkin was so perfect in his role . I have added this to my journal of "The Graveyard of Great Shows"
Wow, I was shocked to read some of the negative comments about this show.
Something I have always hated about "Hollywood" is that any project is much more salable if it closes on an upbeat or has a "lived happily ever after" ending. Being real isn't always part of the criteria, substance much less important than if it looks good and is well polished.
Unfortunately, I have experienced first hand the very popular belief about a shows potential and it's success being not based on it's subject, content and the real often twisted nuances of life. Rather it seems to have more emphasis on whether or not that it is slick, highly promoted and has a good score, if it does then it must be good, it must be okay... (Now don't get me wrong, while I do have a special appreciation for the Mike Post's and Pete Carpenter's of the business, I find their contributions to be an added bonus to the production but not a critical must.)
And I just wanted to say that it's not all good, it's not always okay...
I think the point that Mr. Lumet is trying to make is that life sometimes is tedious, stereotypical and tarnished. Often the bottom line, end of story and/or real deal in life is that it doesn't always have a happy ending.
It accurately illustrates that sometimes more often than not, life is just not fair or even good and the outcome in general really does suck.
Honestly tells us a story about the human condition - the gist being you get sick, you get old and you die, and with this you make the best of it otherwise you don't.
100 Centre Street does just that and it is what I love about the show the most, it's simple approach to complicated issues, people and scenarios that are sometimes raw, sensitive and rude. Just puts it out there, like it or not, without all the extra bullsh... This I understand and appreciate very much... I do because I have lived it and know it all too well...
in love & light, shell
PS - Mr Lumet, if you read this, boy have I got a story for you... LOL
"100 Center Street" is the single best show on television. This underrated, incredibly written drama far outweighs any courtroom competition. I have been a casting director for over ten years and I have never seen a cast put together that is so wonderful. Watch this damn show!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember 100 Centre Street and it as the antithesis of Law and Order
(which was a fine series may I say). I'd say in 100 Centre Street, not
all the good guys win, but sometimes the bad guys do, and I guess
100 Centre Street was gritty, hard-edged and somewhat fatalistic, and whilst it pre-dated the OJ Simpson trial of the century by about 5 years, it was prescient in many ways.
One scene though did disturb me I'm afraid and it speaks subtle volumes about racial casting and depictions in the USA. It was where an African-American got into a violent altercation with a Chinese- American at his takeaway store. The store owner got knocked out unconscious and the culprit poured boiling oil in the store owner...how gruesome. A moment later the culprit screamed understandably.
I don't know if the culprit was ever caught but what was in the writers' mindset when crafting this scene? Why not feature an Italian-American whose faced is covered with a pizza? Or a Greek- American whose faced is smothered with souvlaki? Or a Scottish- American whose faced is stuff with Big Macs?
Also I wonder if the takeaway store owner got casting credit in the episode?
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