Web This Site

Monday, February 20, 2006

Boston Legal: Boston's best

October 27, 2004

If I’m ever accused of a crime, I’m heading to Boston.

Any TV viewer worth his remote knows that all the best attorneys practice in Beantown. Well, at least the brilliant ones created by TV genius David E. Kelley. From Ally McBeal to Bobby Donnell to Denny Crane, it’s a good chance that whatever crimes you’re accused of, the eccentric lawyers from Kelley’s universe have probably done worse.

In his latest drama Boston Legal, we’re introduced to more oddball attorneys, who are winners in the courtroom. The evidence: one character had a breakdown and showed up at the office without his pants or briefs. Boston Legal is vintage Kelley and reminiscent of his former shows L.A. Law, Ally McBeal and The Practice.

Kelley has a knack for casting fantastic actors in his dramas, and Boston Legal doesn’t fall short. William Shatner is loose canon Denny Crane. James Spader steals every scene, as the morally challenged Alan Shore. And Mark Valley is utterly perfect, as the fast-talking Brad Chase.

What makes this show different from the other procedural dramas cluttering the airwaves is that it’s character driven. We get to know what makes these people tick outside the office. We aren’t limited to the legal details of their latest case. Kelley is a master at intertwining the personal lives of his characters into complex legal plots.

However, as good as this show is, I’m cautious about getting too involved. Kelley has a history of starting shows that are divine and then going places I hate to mention. Before you know it, your favorite character is bleaching his hair blonde and hanging out with Robert Palmer girl look-alikes.

There was a time when Kelley could do no wrong in my eyes. After all, he created Doogie Howser M.D, that hilarious dancing baby on Ally McBeal and turned an entire generation onto the soothing sounds of Barry White. But that was all before half the cast of The Practice suddenly disappeared, and neurotic Ally started dating Jon Bon Jovi.

If you like Kelley’s work, try Boston Legal. You won’t be disappointed.

Since the show is set in Boston, I’d love to see other characters from the Kelley universe do some guest spots. Can you imagine the Biscuit going up against Spader? It would be Godiva-chocolate good.

Boston Legal airs at 10 p.m. on Sundays on ABC.

Schedule changes – There must be some kind of TV rule that if a show is good, it must air on Wednesday nights. Each year, it’s the same dilemma. I’m already trying to juggle Lost, Smallville, The West Wing and Kevin Hill. Now, this week, two of my new favorite shows are joining the already crowded Wednesday lineup. It’s enough to make a gal invest in TiVo or swear off TV altogether. Jack and Bobby is getting killed on Sundays by ratings juggernaut Desperate Housewives, so it’s being moved to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. LAX also makes the move and will air at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. NBC executives must have lost their minds to put the struggling LAX up against this year’s water cooler show Lost and the respectable Smallville. Are they trying to get it cancelled? The good news is I’ll only need to watch TV on Wednesdays. If you don’t have a VCR, I feel for you. Trying to choose between Lost, Smallville, and LAX is more distressing than Clark Kent with a hunk of Kryptonite.

A pathetic plea – It’s not often I beg, but desperate times you know. I implore you TV lovers, please, please, please watch Jack and Bobby and LAX. Sadly, neither show is scoring noteworthy ratings. It’s not often good, scripted shows make it to the small screen. It would be a shame if these two gems get cancelled to make room for more reality TV. Jack and Bobby is intelligent and heartwarming. LAX is good, clean fun. Don’t miss them.

Originally published 10/27/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


Copyright 2007 Tube Talk