First episode date 31 January 2008
Composer(s) Blake Neely
Final episode date 11 July 2009
Created by Greg Berlanti Marc Guggenheim
Written by Greg Berlanti Marc Guggenheim
Directed by David Petrarca Vincent Misiano Michael Schultz
Starring Jonny Lee Miller Victor Garber Natasha Henstridge Loretta Devine Sam Jaeger Laura Benanti James Saito Matt Letscher Julie Gonzalo Jason Winston George
Network American Broadcasting Company
Cast Jonny Lee Miller, Natasha Henstridge, Victor Garber, Loretta Devine, Julie Gonzalo
Eli Stone is an American legal comedy-drama TV series, named for its title character. The series was created by Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, who also served as executive producers alongside Ken Olin who directed the pilot, with Melissa Berman producing. The series originally aired on ABC from January 31, 2008 to July 11, 2009, for two seasons.
- Main characters
- Recurring characters
- Special guest stars
- Critical reception
- International airings
- DVD releases
The series follows Stone (Jonny Lee Miller), a San Francisco lawyer who begins to have hallucinations (such as a George Michael soundtrack that only he can hear and getting dive-bombed by a WWI biplane on a busy San Francisco street) which leads him to two possible conclusions: a potentially fatal brain aneurysm, and the chance that something greater is at work. His visions lead him to accept cases with little monetary gain but a lot of moral goodness; Stone also predicts an earthquake that hits San Francisco. Other such events occur throughout the course of the series, but the series was cancelled before reaching a coherent conclusion.
The series has been met with generally favorable reviews from critics, and each season has been released on DVD.
Greg Berlanti, who co-wrote the show with Marc Guggenheim, described Eli Stone in Variety as "a Field of Dreams-type drama set in a law firm where a thirty-something attorney, whose name is the title of the show, begins having larger-than-life visions that compel him to do out-of-the-ordinary things". Eli suffers from an inoperable brain aneurysm that causes him to have realistic hallucinations often relating to the plot of the episode to the extent that he may be considered a modern-day prophet.
Pop singer George Michael was featured prominently throughout the first season of the series, and each episode was named after one of his songs. Berlanti is a fan of Michael and made an effort to have him appear on the show. As luck would have it, Michael claimed he was a "TV junkie". This led to the singer agreeing to do several episodes, including one in which Stone represents him in the case of a teen girl who plays the song "I Want Your Sex" in protest of an abstinence-only sex education program in her school.
The show's legal setting, mixture of comedy and drama, and use of fantasy sequences has drawn comparisons to the series Ally McBeal from some critics.
Produced by ABC Studios, After Portsmouth and Berlanti Television, the series was officially greenlit and given a thirteen-episode order on May 11, 2007, and it aired as a mid-season replacement in 2008. Eli Stone premiered on Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 10:00 Eastern/9:00 Central, following the return of Lost; its first season finale aired April 17, 2008.
On May 13, 2008, ABC officially announced that the show had been renewed for the 2008–09 season. Moreover, in Canada, CTVglobemedia announced that they would send down the series to CTV's relaunched "A" television system for the 2008–2009 season. Season 2 premiered on Tuesday, October 14 at 10:00 Eastern/9:00 Central.
On November 20, 2008, however, ABC told the show's producers that it had opted not to order any new episodes, signaling that the series would be cancelled once all the episodes were used up.
The last scheduled episode of Eli Stone aired on December 30, 2008. The final four episodes of the series aired on Saturdays at 10:00 Eastern/9:00 Central on ABC starting Saturday, June 20, 2009. The final episode, "Flight Path", aired on July 11, 2009.
The unaired episodes starting with "Sonoma" were broadcast in Ireland by RTÉ starting March 13, 2009. The British Sci-Fi channel aired the final four episodes starting March 16, 2009. The episode aired in Israel's yes stars Drama/HD channel and German TV channel Pro7 starting on March 31, 2009. Finally, in Australia, the Seven Network aired the final four episodes in the month of April, on Tuesdays at 22:30.
The series lasted two seasons with 26 episodes. If the show had been renewed for a third season, Eli would have a complete wrap-up of the series, including Taylor giving birth to a baby girl and Matt being a surprisingly good father with a better attitude to others, Jordan meeting his ex-wife for the first time since the divorce, and Eli meeting Grace again. Also, the show could have ended in a cliffhanger, with Eli having a high profile as a prophet, and Dr. Chen becoming rich and a star.
The debut episode attracted controversy due to its plot line, which depicts the hypothesis that autism is caused by a mercury-based preservative formerly used in common childhood vaccines and treats the hypothesis as being credible and legally compelling. This hypothesis is not supported by scientific evidence, but has contributed to decreased vaccination rates. The American Academy of Pediatrics asked ABC to either cancel the episode or include a disclaimer emphasizing that mercury is not used in routine childhood vaccines, and that no scientific link exists between vaccines and autism. ABC instead decided to present a written notice and voice-over after the episode saying "The preceding story is fictional and does not portray any actual persons, companies, products or events", with a second card directing viewers to the autism web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Special guest stars
On November 6, 2008, TV Guide reported that Jamey Sheridan would guest-star as an evening news anchor. On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported that Gregory Smith would make a guest appearance on the show's finale.
Season one was met with generally favorable reviews, and currently holds a Metacritic score of 62 out of 100, based on 24 collected reviews. Season two was met with a more enthusiastic response, and holds a Metacritic score of 72 out 100, based on 9 collected reviews.
Eli Stone premiered on ABC on January 31, 2008. It premiered on Fox Life in Greece, and AXN in Japan in 2010. In the UK, the show was first shown on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2008 and was then broadcast on Fiver in June 2010. In Malaysia, the show premiered on TV2 in June 2009, airing all the complete 26 episodes until December 23, 2009. The series was later re-run in 2010.
On September 2, 2008, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the complete first season of Eli Stone on DVD in Region 1. Season 1 was also released in Region 4 on March 18, 2009. The second and final season was released in Region 1 on August 18, 2009. By February 2013 the First Season had also been released as Region 2 in a combined Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland set. This set includes the original English dialogue with no captions as the default.