I had forgotten that the early episodes of this series were a bit creaky. and at first Ally seemed
so young, goofy and nervous that she felt more like a teenager than a smart 27 year old lawyer.
But by episode 5 or the show and the character finds it's stride. And if it doesn't quite measure
up to the best 'grown up' TV of today, it still deserves praise for being one of the series that broke
the mold of what a TV show was supposed to be in the US.
It had an openness to complicated tones that seamlessly mixed wild, sometimes surreal humor,
more subtle humor and drama, to long story arcs and not easily solved once a week problems,
and to being more about character than event, making TV a more novelistic and sometimes
cinematic medium in the process.
Certainly Ally McBeal wasn't the first show to do any of these things, but it was one of the first
shows that was a big success with these new approaches, and that helped paved the way for
many of the best dramas dramadies and comedies on American TV in the years since.
I'll admit, with years of even braver shows since, Ally McBeal no longer feels quite as special, and
in fact now feels a little limited. Especially with DVDs allowing more than once a week viewing,
a certain sameness to Ally's constantly fearful, broken heart and her funny/sad attempts to overcome
it starts to plague the show.
But there's still a lot to enjoy here. The performances are terrific from top to bottom, and every
'silly' character is given their serious and moving moments, and every 'serious' character is allowed
to be laugh-out-loud funny at times. Special mention has to be made of Peter MacNichol's 'The Biscuit',
one of the oddest, funniest characters to actually work brilliantly in any series.
The writing is sharp and full of wit and pathos. The music is integrated in a way that was rare for
TV before, but much imitated since, with montages to songs played and sung by Vonda Shepard
(a great voice) who often also appears in the series as a singer at the lead characters favorite after
hours watering hole.
I do have to say, some of the music now feels, in retrospect, too on the nose. The songs chosen (or written) almost
always have lyrics that are too spot on, too obvious a commentary on the action, That good and bad
side to the music sort of sums up my perspective on the series looking at it again in 2011. I appreciate and admire
it for what it gave us and TV, I still enjoy it, but I'm no longer just blown away by it ' not in a world of Breaking Bad,
Weeds, Mad Men, Nurse Jackie, Arrested Development, etc. etc.
on April 21, 2012
With respect to the series itself, I think that anyone who is going to order this probably already enjoys the show....otherwise it would be a bit odd to order it. That said, I personally received this DVD series a few weeks ago and we have watched the first two seasons so far. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the series and it is great to watch again. There is a lot of viewing time per season because each season has 23 or 24 episodes...so much more than a lot of the current series have.
With respect to purchasing the product itself from Amazon...the pro would be that I ordered it in the afternoon one day....and it was at my door less than 24 hrs later.
The con would be that a lot of the plastic DVD cases themselve were chipped and cracked. I kept them regardless, since I didnt expect any better with another shipment. So far, I havent had any problems with the DVDs themselves.
So all up I think this was a great purchase as I got it at a discounted price on a one day sepcial from Amazon. I would highly recommend the series. But then again, as I said...I can't imagine anyone ordering an entire series of any particular show without already knowing you enjoy it.
on January 1, 2013
Such a great series, this is the third time I'm re-watching it and I love it still...was sent quick and I got it for a great deal...One of the DVDs has a weird colour distortion on on disc but that's not anyones fault but the makers, I can deal with it as long as the RDJ / Larry season is perfect :) lol
on December 3, 2010
Ah! Quel beau souvenir, j'ai adoré cette série. Histoire de coeurs, d'amitié, de l'humour et de bonnes causes au tribunal assez osées quelque fois qui dans mes souvenirs on fait de bonnes discussions autour de la table, la musique est très bonne. Ce que j'aime aussi de ce produit c'est qu'il est dans plusieurs langues, moi je l'écoute en anglais et mon conjoint en français donc je l'écoute 2 fois, je trouve que c'est difficile de trouver de bon films ou série américaine en français (pour mon conjoint) donc je suis comblé. J'ai commencé par le dernier disque avec les entrevues et j'ai bien aimé. L'emballage est en gros carton rigide, je trouve ça bon aussi pour le rangement et en plus je l'ai reçu en une semaine. Quoi de mieux. J'adore.