Ally McBeal - The Complete First Season

Ally McBeal - The Complete First Season
For a while in the late '90s, Ally McBeal was one of those water cooler shows that had people talking, and even generated headlines such as the infamous "Is Feminism Dead?" issue of Time Magazine. Calista Flockhart struck a chord as the title character, a young lawyer who was a hopeless romantic, both figuratively and literally. She was also always looking for love, but also dealing with the fact that she was working at the same law firm as her first true love, Billy Thomas, who was now married. The show was full of creator David E. Kelley's typically eccentric characters and storylines, where the court cases mirrored the lives of the main characters. Yet despite its success, it has been somewhat forgotten, most likely because it was overshadowed and surpassed by Kelley's Boston Legal, which was pretty much the same show with different characters. Nevertheless, Ally McBeal has actually stood the test of the time rather well because it has just the right balance between quirk and substance. Kelley was his usual infuriating self, apparently writing a sympathetic female lead on the surface, but constantly undermining himself with Ally's comic misadventures. Hence the Time Magazine cover. He isn't a very subtle writer either, with an obvious agenda, at times. Fortunately the supporting cast often surpassed the leads, especially 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski, who steals every scene as personal assistant Elaine, and that helps to keep the show entertaining when it gets preachy or puts too much focus on a message. The music was always an important part of the show, usually via Vonda Shepard's performances as the singer in the gang's local bar, and those are all here intact. With so many series having issues with licensing music because of the costs involved, it's a pleasant change to watch a show the way it originally aired. Unfortunately that care and attention don't extend beyond the music and there are absolutely no extras on the set. That's a pity because it was an important enough show at the time to warrant some additional bells and whistles. Hopefully something will show up on some of the later seasons. (Fox)