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Series / Century City

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A noble but doomed effort to do The Practice 20 Minutes into the Future.

This series attempted to examine the legal and social ramifications of technology by shifting the setting forward a few years. Unfortunately, they elected to do this in a fashion that attempted to "normalize" the epoch by making the character arcs exactly like today's character arcs. The message being that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The audience probably already knew that.

Note: Century City is also the name of the part of the City of Los Angeles where a number of movies and TV series have been filmed by 20th Century Fox, notably Battle for the Planet of the Apes and Die Hard. (It was once their expansive backlot, until Fox suffered financial issues in the 1960s after Cleopatra; while their studio facility still occupies one corner, the rest were turned into highrises and other non-entertainment development.) Ironically, this show was produced by Universal and not Fox.

Century City provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Made in 2004, featuring LA of 2030. Bright, clean, with emerging technologies like cybernetic enhancement and genetic engineering much more prevalent, with the law firm on the show handling cases related to this. Overall it looked pretty believable.
  • Butt-Monkey: 80% or so of Darwin's characterization.
  • Clones Are People, Too: The main court case of the first episode, dealing with smuggled cells that were purposed to be made into a clone to save a child's life.
  • Cure Your Gays: The pilot episode was shuffled around and eventually buried, as it dealt with the consequences of a prenatal procedure that could reduce the chances of a child being born gay (most parents decided to have their kids born "normal," and the gay community was undergoing a slow withering). While the episode eventually concluded with a Gay Aesop, the subtext was hinky as all hell.
  • Designer Babies:
    • A genetic fertility specialist is sued for having his clients end up with homosexual babies.
    • Similarly, one of the lawyers Le May is born from the "Genetic Prototype Project".
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Continual insinuations about what Lucas and Lemay did or didn’t get up to before the premiere.
  • Electronic Eyes: In the episode "Love and Games", a baseball player had an eye replaced in his youth, and has to appeal in order to be able to play in the League, as bionics are not allowed for unfair advantages.
  • Everything Is Online: The episode "Without a Tracer" is an egregious example of this, hinging on the assertion that an implanted microchip can somehow hack into any nearby security camera without being connected to it.
  • Evil Twin: Invoked in the last episode of Century City, when the client's genetic clone commits a murder. Lampshaded of course.
  • Expendable Clone: Debated in the first episode, as a clone's organs would be used to save a child's life.
  • Fantastic Legal Weirdness: The whole show was structured around this.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Since this show is all about unexplored areas of the law as it relates to technology, you'll frequently find yourself siding with the opposition against the protagonist's case. At its worst, it lapses into Straw Man Has A Point.
  • Grumpy Old Man: None of the characters are really that grumpy, and only one can be called old, but that one old man, and the much younger ex-congressman, are the ones with the most "old-fashioned" points of view.
  • Hollywood Law: In the first episode, the US Attorney opposes Lucas' replevin action by citing Livengood vs. Markusson, where the court of the first instance claimed that domestic animals were not property. But Livengood won the case when this ruling was reversed after she appealed.
  • Interface with a Familiar Face: Darwin falls in love with his computer PA, Voxxy, so he tracks down the actress the computer's appearance was modeled on. Turns out she's a porn star.
  • Jackie Robinson Story: "Love And Games", with a bionic-eyed baseball player trying to make it to the league via an appeal, as league rules don't allow bionics to play because of the unfair advantage.
  • Jerkass: Several characters qualify, but the one that virtually raped the client in To Know Her and then rubbed her face in it takes the Jerkass cake.
  • Love Triangle: A classic "Man is married to non-main character wife, in love with co-worker/fellow main character".
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: In this case, it's the child sitcom star that wants to inflict this on himself and is opposed by his parents, instead of the usual other way around. He claims it's a simple financial decision, but naturally, he's just trying to make up for his lost childhood.
  • Older Than They Look: Comes up twice, first with the 70-year old boy band from the eighties, fresh out of plastic surgery and ready to go on the road, and the second time with the child star that wants to take hormone suppressants to hold onto his sitcom stardom (and get a second chance at childhood).
  • Old Retainer: Martin Constable shows shades of this, since he's implied to have worked with and admired Hannah Crane's father.
  • Pass the Popcorn: The rest of the law firm watches an archive video of Darwin when he was a young lawyer, and actually was enthusiastic and nice to people.
  • Post-Cyberpunk
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Darwin is established as such a bad boss that a group of his ex-assistants literally sue him for being an ass. It's mostly Offstage Villainy though.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Pretty much averted. Hannah Crane, the lead partner of the firm, is a Deadpan Snarker, but that's it. The actress actually commented on her inability to play this role.
  • Schizo Tech: Very mild example, but some of the examples of technology from one episode to the next don't seem to mesh.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Surprisingly high on the idealistic side. Yes, people find all kinds of ways to pervert technology, but it's constantly being kept in check, and most feuding ex-couples reunite by the end of the episode.
  • Stylistic Suck: ''Mom, Dad and Jerry'' is a sitcom that seems to consist entirely of people acquiring Amusing Injuries as Juni utters his catchphrase "Ooh, that's got to hurt!". It's been running for five years and has 112 million viewers.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: A textbook case. The year 2030 is far enough away to allow for significant technological and social change, close enough to relate to, and a nice round number.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Generally, each episode had one serious case and one comedic case. For instance, a fight between a father and his kid's abusive mother over giving the child a drug that would cause him to forget her entirely so he could get over the trauma she'd caused him; and a couple caught having sex in their automated car, on a highway, by a bus full of kids.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: A possibly unique example. No, she wasn't actually a man, nor had she ever been one. She just happened to have a penis. A cosmetic one. It didn't keep her from having sex, but it did get her a hefty lawsuit when the guy realized it.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Here it is more "Did they or didn't they?"