With all the shows NBC has canceled this season, "Harry's Law" has managed to hang on, returning Sunday (March 11) on a new night, opposite ABC's increasingly tedious "Once Upon a Time."

Sometimes, slow, steady and older really can win — or at least, survive — the race.

Starring Kathy Bates as a cranky lawyer, this David E. Kelley-produced series drew derisive chortles in many quarters when it premiered in January 2011, seeming to recycle many of the producer's familiar flourishes. Moreover, its audience profile skewed old enough to resemble some of CBS' creakier procedurals, with close to half its audience eligible for retirement.

In a rare act of generosity, I decided to sample the "Harry's" screener NBC sent out, and I still find the show mildly entertaining, with the episode featuring a plot about suing cigarette companies, and another about a woman who fears her estranged husband.

Is it great stuff? Hardly. But Kelley has assembled an appealing cast — picking up key players like Mark Valley and Christopher McDonald, plus a guest shot by "Boston Legal's" Christian Clemenson — and hasn't completely lost his knack for mixing drama and quirkiness.

So while "Harry's" doesn't come close to representing Kelley's fastball, with all the other gaps NBC has on its schedule, it isn't far-fetched to think the show could survive the season if its Sunday numbers are acceptable, geriatric though they might be.

That's right: "Harry's Law" could outlive all those prettier, younger things like "Prime Suspect" and "The Playboy Club," and hang on to fight into a third season.

Go figure. Or as Harry might say, "Take that, you skinny-assed bitches."

 

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