Television was about 40 years old in the mid-80's, was (seemingly) running short on ideas, and - coupled with the country's perpetual nostalgia craze - the result was a flood of The New XXX, Return to YYY, ZZZ Again, etc. One of the efforts, of course, was a revival of Perry Mason (tho, unlike a generally unsuccessful effort in the 70's, the original cast returned).
Whether or not this was a good idea is, obviously, open to debate...fierce debate!! Suffice it to say that a show which played heavily upon the youth and vitality of its cast, and had at its heart the vagaries of the pre-Warren era legal system, faced challenges in just picking up from where it has left off twenty years earlier (indeed those had become problems within the Series itself). So some sensible adjustments were made: occasional movies rather an actual series; back-stories to explain the intervening years; and a reshaping of the Paul Drake role. My thought on these latter two decisions:
- I don't think the premise of Perry having become a judge really worked; altho it played a minmal part in the movies, the idea of Perry having become an impartial arbiter, rather than a fierce, partisan advocate seems like a fundamental violation of the show's very purpose.
- the PI character, if he was to be retained as a youthful sidekick, should have been Paul's nephew, rather than his son; just as with the case of the judgeship, this was a major continuity blunder: it was clear thru the Series that Paul was a carefree (and often clueless) bachelor...having had a son makes no sense, either from a logistical or thematic perspective. Notcom 051722.
I don't want to be unduly harsh here, but my impression of the whole PM TV-movie series is that Fred Silverman and company took unfilmed Matlock scripts, moved the setting to Denver, puffed out the scripts with lots of chase scenes, and VOILA, Perry Mason had returned . . . but not really. Submitted by BobH, 17 May 2022.