When Does It Start: Sunday 8th Jan at 9.00pm EST on NBC (the show’s regular slot will be Thursdays at 10pm)

In A Nutshell: The Tom Cruise film from 1993 gets reworked as a TV series. Who says there are no new ideas left in Hollywood!

What’s It About: 10 years on from the events of The Firm, Mitch McDeere (Josh Lucas), his wife Abby (Molly Parker) and daughter Claire are emerging from witness protection. You may recall that the McDeeres had become caught up with a corrupt law firm with ties to the mob – before the couple battled back and brought down the firm.

Now a decade on, the McDeere’s are trying to start a new life, Mitch has launched his own upstart law firm, but the company is strapped for cash. So when another large law firm offers to take on the fledgling company the McDeeres decide to partner up. Guess what happens… yep, lightning really does strike twice!

Plus Points: In a crowded TV marketplace at least The Firm has some name recognition behind it. The original 1993 movie was a big hit at the time, the new series is Executive Produced by Grisham himself, and stars Josh Lucas and Juliette Lewis are making their first real forays into the small screen business.

NBC are smartly launching The Firm at a quiet time of the year when it will be easier for a new show to break through, unlike the ultra competitive Fall season. Sunday night’s preview could entice viewers to give the show a shot and NBC have kept promotion low key, perhaps burned by the big splash they made for Prime Suspect which didn’t help the show find an audience at all.

Having Grisham involved in the new show definitely lends The Firm credibility. Turns out a TV sequel to the book / film has been in development for some time now – originally at CBS. The current version is an international co-production and 22 episodes have already been greenlit. The question is – will all the episodes air here in the US?

On The Downside: So here’s the deal – how many people out there really remember the original Tom Cruise movie? I have a vague recollection of the film – specifically that it involved Cruise getting caught up in a corrupt firm and then turning the tables on the company. But I wouldn’t exactly call The Firm a classic. And was anyone out there really crying out for a TV version of the movie?

Then there’s the TV plotline. Is it just me or is The Firm wildly implausible? The idea that McDeere would ten years later end up working for ANOTHER corrupt law firm feels like it’s stretching credibility to breaking point (and this from a guy who loves Revenge – hardly the most realistic show on TV)

Plus I wonder how The Firm will be able to keep spinning this particular plot line for potentially years to come. My instinct is that the show will become another ‘court case of the week’ procedural with some vague rumblings behind the scenes. Great – just what TV needs – another legal show. Especially since NBC has done so well with Harry’s Law!

The Firm will soon be moved to the dreaded Thursday at 10pm slot, where it will face competition from the likes of The Mentalist and Private Practice. The latter won’t be too much of a challenge but the CBS procedural still performs strongly and targets essentially the same audience as The Firm.

Plus this isn’t Grisham’s first go round in the TV world. A TV version of The Client lasted just one season on CBS back in 1995, while a version of The Street Lawyer was developed at ABC but never aired. Will it be third time lucky for the famed legal author? Or are there just too many legal shows on TV already?

Prediction: Let’s call it Prime Suspect version 2.0. Despite name recognition I just can’t see The Firm being the breakout hit NBC so desperately needs.