The Case of the Reconstructed Perry

This may come as a shock to you, but I was a weird child. I didn’t play with toys, I wasn’t interested in outdoor games, and I didn’t watch cartoons. I wanted to be a bus driver when I grew up because it seemed like something I could handle if I didn’t get lost. I guess I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence when I was young.

Quick aside here: I apologize if I’ve offended any bus drivers reading this. I know your job is a lot tougher than it looks. I was very young when I thought I might be capable of handling it.

I bring up my childhood only because there appears to be a brand-new version of Perry Mason premiering by the time you read this. My absolute favorite show when I was, maybe, seven or eight was Perry Mason. It was in black and white, it had great characters, and I could figure out who did it because it was almost always the person who was made out to be the least likely suspect.

The two Perry Masons.

It also had a terrifically dramatic musical theme and a prosecutor named Ham Burger. What more could you want?

Ham (actually Hamilton) Burger, by the way, apparently was the only prosecutor in the city. He lost almost every case. I have no idea how he held onto his job.

So I was excited when I heard about this. I’ve now seen the trailer (but not the show). I am no longer excited.

I do want to watch the new version. It looks cool, it has some of my favorite actors in it (Orphan Black fans will be excited), and it might even have some social commentary.

But is it Perry Mason?

Maybe. I admit I haven’t read the books, so the TV series I watched as a child may be nothing like them. But this new version is definitely nothing like my childhood favorite.

First off, the new show is in color! There was no color in Perry Mason’s time. What were they thinking?

The new Perry Mason seems able to move. Yeah, the old Perry moved around his office and the courtroom but you were also a little surprised he could do that and worried about imminent heart attacks. It wasn’t shocking that Raymond Burr, the actor who played Perry, next got a starring role in Ironside as a guy in a wheelchair. It suited his athletic talents.

The new Perry Mason, if the trailer is to be believed, also does his own detective work — because he’s a detective and not a lawyer yet. WTF!?! Prospective lawyers are not supposed to be getting into tussles and putting themselves in danger. That’s what detective Paul Drake — a guy able to move — was for.

A successful lawyer who never loses should be well-dressed. This does not seem to be the case for the new Perry. The new style is sweaty-rumpled. There’s even a scene in the trailer with Perry in a wife-beater! This isn’t Perry Mason — it’s A Streetcar Named Murder Mystery!

No sign of Della Street in the trailer, either. Any good lawyer show prominently features a legal secretary who actually gets the work done.

I don’t know why they even bothered calling this new show Perry Mason, but I’ll probably give this thing a chance anyway. I’m hoping this prequel explains that Perry was so traumatized by detective work that he decides to go to law school, buy some nice clothes, and eat a lot of ice cream as the world turns into black and white the way it’s supposed to be.

Otherwise, my childhood is ruined.

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