I bailed on HBO’s Perry Mason five or six weeks ago. Right after episode #2. Too icky, muddy, smokey, gunky and grimly desaturated. Plus Matthew Rhys, the 45 year-old actor with the lined, Elmer’s Glue-All, beard-stubbled complexion, is too long of tooth to be playing a World War I veteran in 1931, particularly one who’s still trying to come into his own as an attorney.

“No way,” I told myself. “I will not sit through eight episodes of this shit. Life is too short.”

Perry Mason ended last night, and the general complaint is that it didn’t pay off, much less deliver a socko finish.

Rolling Stone‘s Alan Sepinwall: “If there’s a fictional character whose most famous gimmick, by far, is that he puts the real criminal on the witness stand and talks them into confessing, and you decide to not have him do that in your version? Well, you’d better come up with something really spectacular to do in its place. And the HBO series’ first-season finale utterly failed to do that.

The ending, says Sepinwall, is “cynical and extremely underwhelming. Previous Mason stories certainly leaned toward wish-fulfillment fantasy — tales of a man so noble, and so smart, that he needs only his wits to talk killers and other criminals into going against their own self-interest and admitting their guilt — but this feels like edgelord-style revisionism.

“It’s as if the HBO show’s writers couldn’t imagine Erle Stanley Gardner’s pure-hearted and persuasive creation existing in a more “realistic” world, so they had their guy cheat. But in not having Andrew Howard‘s Joe Ennis character take the stand at all — not even for Perry to try and fail to get him to confess — there’s no real drama at all to the season’s climax. It feels like both Mason and the show simply run out of ideas by the end, and just hope things will work out anyway.”