Why HBO's "Perry Mason" Reboot Isn't the Courtroom Drama Fans Expected
We're not kidding when we say our TVs have been working overtime these days. And then the Perry Mason reboot hit HBO, and boy are we surprised our television sets haven't combusted. Since the series debuted last month, we've definitely been glued to the edge of our seats to soak up each episode of the captivating new series.
The original series first aired on CBS from 1957 to 1966 and is based on the fictional character created by Erle Stanley Gardner. Perry Mason originally appeared in Gardner's original Perry Mason novels, which were published between 1933 and 1973, and adapted into films in the 1930s.
Now, as fans tune into the hotly anticipated HBO series, they are quick to notice that Mason does not play his iconic role as a criminal defense lawyer but rather a private investigator. So why the dramatic change?
"Perry Mason is the show that launched a thousand shows," Ron Fitzgerald, one of the show creators of the new HBO series, told writer Adam Rathe in a piece for Town & Country. "Every courtroom drama you've ever seen comes from that Perry Mason template."
Co-creator Rolin Jones backed Fitzgerald's sentiment, saying, "It was revolutionary TV for the time and was like a giant shot of adrenaline. But we had no interest in repeating that because they already did it so well. There was a pathway to revive this for the here and now."
Hence, the amazing 1930s set design and fashion endure in the new series, but the premise of the show has been updated to hold the attention of today's audience. Unlike the original series, the HBO version also abandons the format of chronicling a different crime in each episode, but tracks one mystery for the entire season.
Per HBO's official description, the show is based on Gardner's characters, following the origins of American Fiction's most legendary criminal defense lawyer. Indeed, the new series was created as a prequel of sorts, chronicling how Mason spent his days before he became an attorney.
WATCH: A New Perry Mason TV Show Is Now Airing on HBO
If you haven't watched yet, we hope we're not the first to tell you: the new Perry Mason is well worth sinking into your couch for a few (more) hours this week and catching up on pronto. Fear not, There Will Be Fedoras.