By Amy Ryan
Updated September 22, 2006 at 11:22 PM EDT

I enjoy James Woods, and I’ll watch him in just about anything. That includes Shark, even though the premiere last night made the show look awfully derivative. It’s basically House in a courtroom, jazzed up with the celebrity-lawyer theatrics of Fox’s new Justice. Like Dr. House, Woods’ Sebastian Stark (who names their kid Sebastian anymore?) is an abrasive but brilliant crank overseeing a team of wide-eyed young Scoobies and chafing under the supervision of an attractive lady boss (Jeri Ryan). Humanizing him a little is his wise-beyond-her-years 16-year-old daughter (Empire Falls‘ Danielle Panabaker, surely a rising actress to watch for).

The pilot was slickly directed by Spike Lee (who, I’m guessing, won’t be behind the camera in future episodes), and its plot cannily alluded to the phenomenon of supposedly ”unauthorized” celebrity sex tapes that mysteriously make their way to the Internet. Then again, the legal case had a big hole in it that was glaringly apparent even to someone as slow on the uptake as I am, but it took Stark/Shark until the last few minutes to spot it. Guess I won’t be watching this show for the legal intrigue, but just for Woods, who, as a cynical star attorney, could eat Justice‘s Victor Garber as a canapé. Besides, given the show’s placement on CBS on Thursdays at 10, what are my alternatives, Six Degrees and ER? Nah, gimme Jimmy.

Anyone else watch Shark last night? Whadja think?