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I really like Billy Bob Thornton. I enjoy him regardless of the role he’s playing, though, truth be told, he’s played pretty much the same role since “Sling Blade.” But he’s fun to watch.

I also enjoyed several shows David E. Kelley has created and written (“Picket Fences,” “Boston Legal,” “Big Little Lies,” and others).

Thornton and Kelley teamed up in 2016 for “Goliath,” an eight-part series for Amazon. Thornton stars as controversial, temporarily down-on-his-heels attorney Billy McBride, single, but father of the inevitably precocious, sometimes troubled teenage daughter (Diana Hopper). A lot of TV heroes have one of these.

“Goliath’s” first season disappointed me, but enough people liked it that a second season was commissioned, and along the way Thornton won a Golden Globe award as best actor in a series, which is sometimes mentioned as though that were a big deal. It isn’t. The Golden Globes were started by the Foreign Press Association, whose membership included mostly wanabe journalists who worked other jobs in California. The Golden Globes was turned into a television show because TV can’t get enough awards programs — country music alone must have more than 20 of them.

Anyway, winning a Golden Globe award is less prestigious than being honored by the National Association of Parking Lot Attendants. Oh, wait. I think it’s the same thing.

THE FACT “Goliath” won only that one award in its first two season tells you it doesn't belong on anyone's "must-see" lists, unless you really like Billy Bob Thornton.

When a third season went into production, it did so without any scripts written by Kelley, and this tempted me to write a headline like "David's absence slays 'Goliath.' For all I know, Kelly has no further involvement with the show, except to receive paychecks. I could do some Googling and find out for sure, but this program isn’t worth the effort.

So why did I watch five-and-a-half episodes of season three? You guessed it. Because I really like Billy Bob Thornton.

If I correctly interpreted the credits, season three’s eight episodes were written by Jennifer Ames, Steve Turner and a pair with unusual last names I wouldn't even try to pronounce — Andrew Matisziw and Maris Megrsyn. Those last two may be visitors from the planet Remulak, which would account for the season’s unworldly feel, or perhaps they were conceived while their parents watched “Twin Peaks” (which will be a recurring theme in this column).

THERE ARE people who liked season three of “Goliath.” Someone named Sarah D. gave it five stars (out of five) in her brief review on rottentomatoes.com, where customer reviews usually are closer to the truth — my truth, anyway — than those from “professional” critics who write like they are film school students.

Season three of “Goliath” may be the most ridiculous eight hours of television in the history of the medium. It is built around a story that couldn’t fill a two-hour movie, and padded with long pauses, extraneous odd people, and hallucinations brought on by a drug whipped up by casino security head Littlecrow (Graham Greene) with a mortar and pestle.

If you watch season three and wonder who plays the woman who seems to live on a barstool in the casino, that's Illeana Douglas, who for no reason that I can explain had me thinking of the Log Lady in "Twin Peaks." I also was thinking there was no reason the Douglas character was written into this show.

AT THIS POINT, I suppose I should say, “Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!,” except I’m too confused to know if I’m about to spoil anything, and don’t care if I do.

In one long scene in episode one, a bad guy played by Dennis Quaid sings “The Rose” to an audience made up almost exclusively of other Dennis Quaids, made possible, of course, by CGI (computer-generated imagery), without which we would have no more films — unless Hollywood went back to basics, such as developing good scripts with good stories that require no dragons, vampires, space ships, exploding buildings and faceless warriors.

If you’re a fan of “Twin Peaks,” which, obviously, I’m not, you may enjoy season three of “Goliath.” Not everyone will agree with me about the Log Lady, but there are dozens of moments undeniably inspired by David Lynch. (Fittingly, the first actress seen is Sherilyn Fenn, whose breakout role was as Audrey Horne in “Twin Peaks.”)

There’s also a hint of “Chinatown,” because the story concerns a water shortage. For the first couple of minutes I was encouraged, but then the story was cluttered with unnecessary characters, a subplot involving McBride’s daughter, now a college student, and a pair of wide-eyed villains played by Amy Brenneman, as a nutcase who, appropriately, created an almond cult, and Shamier Anderson, as her son and chief henchman, who kills people with courtesy.

In the background are the essential corrupt public servants, and in one absurd stretch, “Goliath” drags in a villain from season two, Marisol Silva (Ana de la Reguera), now mayor of Los Angeles, but previously a councilperson (I think) who somehow participated in a secret meeting vital to McBride’s case in the land of almonds.

ALSO dragged in, briefly, is grotesque lawyer Donald Cooperman, McBride’s former partner and now arch enemy. William Hurt, made up to look like a Dick Tracy villain, hisses through his small role, which serves no purpose.

Brenneman’s character, Diana Blackwood, is identified as the sister of Quaid’s Wade Blackwood, and if that’s true, their relationship is incestuous, and involves taking baths in almond milk. Yeah, it’s that weird.

Diana runs some kind of almond-centric clinic, resort or rehab facility that must have materialized overnight because Thornton’s hotshot lawyer, now wealthy thanks to a class action lawsuit in season two, seems oblivious to its existence when he arrives in Central Valley to take on a case involving a friend (Fenn), who recently died under mysterious circumstances. You’d have thought McBride would have done more research before driving to the middle of nowhere in the red, 1965 Mustang that is de rigueur for TV good guys.

A DROUGHT produced a water shortage that left most valley residents unable to flush their toilets, wash their dishes or sell their homes.

Wade Blackwood and his big-farmer friends control the local water board, which finessed the state into allowing them to freely tap California’s water surplus, an element that doesn’t ring true. Another is that huge facility run by Diana Blackwood, a loose cannon who thumbs her nose at the water board and is building a secret tunnel to steal even more water for her precious almond trees. (The tunnel project puts "Goliath's" ridiculousness over the top.)

So while the rest of the county is bone dry, Blackwood and his friends are freely watering their crops.

No story these days is complete without a Native American casino, which gets us back to Graham Greene, who, I thought, had cornered the market on juicy villain roles for people we used to call American Indians. But Greene was strangely missing from “Cold Pursuit,” Liam Neeson’s latest film in his “To Bad Charles Bronson Is No Longer With Us” series.

I like Greene almost as much as I like Billy Bob Thornton. You’d think the two of them together would make “Goliath” entertaining. Quaid is good, too. I also was pleased to see singer-composer-actor Paul Williams return briefly as McBride’s investigator and fixer, and I always enjoy seeing stunning Tania Raymonde, the former Krelboyne (gifted student) from “Malcolm in the Middle.” And Nina Arianda, as McBride’s associate Patty Solis-Papagian, is fun to watch.

Yet somehow season three of “Goliath” is a complete mess. The only way to enjoy it, I guess, is to smoke some of Littlecrow’s special blend.

 
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