Tribeca TV Festival Continues its 2019 Series Reveal: ‘GOLIATH’ Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Nina Arianda, Dennis Quaid
The premise of the TV series GOLIATH about Billy McBride, a former high powered lawyer who built his own successful law firm then crashed and burned into drinking and depression after an attack of conscience, cannot help but be alluring in the time of Trumpism. GOLIATH created by David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro stars the superb Billy Bob Thornton (the first season out he won a Golden Globe) as the “David” who stands against various Goliaths (one each season) defending the “little guy” against money, class privilege, corporatism and impossible odds.
Sporting a fine cast with Nina Arianda as the wacky DUI lawyer Patty Solis-Papagian, Tanya Raymonde as Brittany Gold and Diana Hopper as Denise McBride, Billy’s daughter, each season has been sprinkled with veteran greats like William Hurt and guest actors like Maria Bello, Molly Parker (season 1) and Ana de la Reguera and Mark Duplass (season 2). With a heady selection of actors in the cast of Season 3 (Dennis Quaid, Amy Brenneman, Griffin Dunne, Beau Bridges, Graham Greene, Shamier Anderson, Illeana Douglas) it is clear that the series, which is edgy, darkly ironic, humorously wry and loaded with suspense and intrigue, has made its mark for Amazon Studios. This year the television web series opens on Amazon 4th October.
I had the opportunity to screen the first two episodes of GOLIATH and catch the Q and A with director Lawrence Trilling and principal members of the cast Billy Bob Thornton, Nina Arianda and others who discussed the journey of this powerful, well-written, dynamically acted and excellently directed GOLIATH. This season’s focus is gravely current and its urgency is not to be underestimated.
The background subject is water, the foreground is corruption, corporate hegemony, power politics, money. Trilling and the writers chose an ongoing crisis that has global implications and reflects the current nightmares coming out of the White House with themes beautifully threaded by smiling, affable characters like billionaire Wade Blackwood (Dennis Quaid is a joy to watch) and his eerie, possibly insane and brother-lusting sister Diana Blackwood (Amy Brenneman). The Blackwoods are billionaire owners of a corporate, industrial sized farm.
The setting of this season is the present. Though the California drought has been declared at an end, its aftershocks have multiplied for one of the richest areas of California in the agricultural Central Valley whose massive land area is sinking because there has not been enough water to supplant what was lost. In an attempt to recover, area landowners dig deeper and deeper wells to draw out the water. This overpumping damages land sustainability and adds arsenic to the water supply.
These effects threaten homeowners and farmers alike as rivaling needs for clean, available water increase and power struggles manifest over who gets the water and how much of it should be allotted. The focus of this season’s series is doubly prescient given the full frontal attack by Trumpism and the Federalist Society’s conservative push to relax/eliminate environmental protections. Clean air, clean water and clean soil as precious resources are under siege. Homeowners and little farms run up against powerful politically tied-in globally-minded corporate farmers whose billion dollar industry supplies fruits, nuts, vegetables to this nation and world-wide markets. Which stakeholder is more important? Can billionaires sit back and share water or is the “greed is good” attitude the only sustainable policy?
Enter legal genius and astute investigator Billy McBride. Billy is called in by long-time friends who own a small vineyard. When the Bennets are forced to confront a weird, horrific accident, Billy’s services are paramount. The incident they confront is irrevocably tied-in to the water supply in the Central Valley.
The opening scenes of Episode 1 are mysterious and foreboding as Trilling establishes the conflict with atmospheric lighting design and cinematography that builds to an intense climax of the tragic event that kicks off the plot. As a coda Trilling’s grand use of the natural landscape to full effect in night and day scenes that vie with sometime sterile interiors provide an interesting contrast of living and non-living elements and heighten the accuracy of what is currently happening to the farmers, homeowners ranchers in the Central Valley. Replete with supernatural, spiritual symbols are zany characters who menace and smile with insidious intent (Quaid, Amy Brenneman, Graham Greene, Shamier Anderson) but they are only pursing what’s in the best interests of the country and their workers. So, is that a problem?
The stakes are high. Billy’s life is endangered on this wild ride down a diminishing river that eventually will run dry due to a scorched-earth policy which has no vindicators, no redeemers. Whose policy is it and can they be held accountable? Who are these people that Billy, Patty and his friends and assistants are up against? Clearly, Billy must piece together the intricacies of the Bennet’s case then step back and consider the best way to litigate if he ever makes it to a courtroom.
This promises to be a terrific Season #3 of a creatively dramatized and near flawlessly executed story for our time. October 4th is the opening. Watch it for your edification and pleasure. The performances are spot-on great.
Posted on September 15, 2019, in Tribeca TV Festival and tagged Amy Brenneman, Beau Bridges, Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid, GOLIATH, Graham Greene, Lawrence Trilling, Nina Arianda, Tribeca TV Festival 2019. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.