Hey, there’s a new Perry Mason reboot on the way from HBO and I have a feeling that a lot of you have no idea who or what I’m talking about. Don’t worry, that’s understandable. Originally airing way back in the late 1950s, Perry Mason was officially the very first one-hour film television series ever produced in Hollywood. The historic courtroom drama followed Raymond Burr’s titular Los Angeles criminal defence lawyer as he tried cases every week. The show initially ran until 1966, and then was revived briefly in the early 1970s before Burr would reprise the role again from 1985 until his death in 1993 in a series of nearly 30 direct-to-television films. This makes Perry Mason one of the longest-running legal drama series ever.
Of course, this was all in the USA, and while Perry Mason was syndicated for years afterwards both in American and several international regions, we never really got it down here in South Africa. Hence, why you may not have any excitement about the thought of an upcoming reboot. Hopefully, I can change that soon though as this new show looks pretty damn good.
Produced by Robert Downey Jr., the upcoming HBO drama serves as a prequel of sorts as it follows a younger Perry Mason before his lawyer days when he was still a Private Detective in 1930s Los Angeles. Originally, Downey himself would have starred, but he had to drop out due to his busy movie schedule, which opened the path for Emmy Award-winning The Americans actor Matthew Rhys. And based on the first trailer released by HBO last night, he’s doing a great job. In fact this whole show looks rather superb. Check it out below!
1931, Los Angeles. While the rest of the country struggles through the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong. Based on characters created by author Erle Stanley Gardner, this drama series follows the origins of American fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason. When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a sucker for this Depression Era noir period in Hollywood drama, filled with desperate gumshoes and swooning dames (see: my unending love for LA Confidential), but I’m really liking the look of this. Throwing in Black Mirror’s ridiculously talented Tatiana Maslany alongside a cast that also includes the likes of John Lithgow and Shea Whigham, and using Radiohead on the soundtrack sure as hell isn’t hurting either. Then there’s the fact that acclaimed playwrights and Emmy nominated writers Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald (Friday Night Lights, Boardwalk Empire) are the ones who penned this new take on the classic show, while prolific TV director Tim van Patten (Boardwalk Empire, The Wire, Sopranos, Game of Thrones) will be helming all eight episodes of the first season. So yes, please sign me up!
Perry Mason is scheduled to premiere on HBO on 21 June 2020, and thanks to local streaming platform Showmax’s deal with the US cable network, we’ll probably get it at the same time.
UPDATE: I’ve chatted to Showmax and they’ve confirmed that they will be getting Perry Mason, but alas it will only be in October. That’s still better than nothing though.
Last Updated: April 17, 2020