Customer Product Reviews

Reviewer: wezzo
Reviews Written: 1

Ally McBeal - The Complete DVD Collection - £40.69

A generally impressive show

It's easy to forget just quite what a pop cultural phenomenon "Ally McBeal" was in the late 1990s. Like "Friends" and "Sex and the City" of the same era, it acquired quite a devoted audience - particularly among twentysomething women - on both sides of the pond. Unlike "Friends" and "SATC", however, it hasn't been repeated to death on digital TV in the intervening decade, so it no longer holds a significant place within our collective cultural consciousness. Which is a shame, really, as it's actually a pretty good show.

The basic premise? We follow the day-to-day life of Ally McBeal, lawyer at Bostonian law firm Cage & Fish. She's a quirky, neurotic twentysomething with persistent relationship issues. We meet her co-workers (equally quirky) and friends, and spend roughly equal time learning about work life (each episode is home to one or two court cases; typically somehow bizarre, sex-related, or otherwise unusual) and her social life (wherein we get to know her co-workers in a more casual setting, and meet her roommate and friends).

As is typical for a David E. Kelley ("Boston Legal", "Picket Fences") the style of the show is hard to pin down. Every genre is worked into the mixture; from slapstick comedy to witty banter, romantic tension to intense legal battles. As is also typical for a David E. Kelley show, the cast saw significant churn; of perhaps fifteen major characters throughout the five-season run, only three or four are present from beginning to end. This, combined with an apparent weekly desire to out-crazy every previous episode, led to later seasons becoming a little tedious. But the first three seasons are wall-to-wall brilliance, and it's a real shame they don't get the repeats they deserve.

The boxset lacks extras (there's a few featurettes, but nothing substantial) but it's a great-value purchase anyway; there's hours and hours of good-value entertainment here.