'Ally McBeal: The Complete Series'
(Calista Flockhart, et al / 32-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: Filled with all the original music fans couldn’t do without, the quirky, funny, dramatic and outrageous show, Ally McBeal: The Complete Series, arrives for a limited time only as a 32-disc DVD collection. Starring an outstanding ensemble cast including Calista Flockhart, Robert Downey Jr., Portia de Rossi, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Lucy Liu, Peter MacNicol, and Jane Krakowski, the original comedy follows the trials and tribulations of an eccentric and neurotic single 28-year-old lawyer (Flockhart) fresh out of Harvard Law School, looking for love and fulfillment in life.
DVD Verdict: I love this show. I love it so much that when it was released on DVD in the UK I got copies imported to me and bought myself a region free player! It has been so wonderful having these shows when no one else in America does at the moment. It feels like my little secret.
Anyway, for those of us that have been waiting for this show to be released on DVD, we say THANK YOU! It's been way too long. Released now on DVD - a HUGE 32 disc DVD box-set, none the less! - it contains every single episode (in order, thankfully) and most all the original music ... oh yeah, and an infamous dancing baby!
This show is so much fun, that seeing it again is well worth the time. David E. Kelley's brilliant writing and ensemble cast put so much life into the characters that you're laughing so hard in one scene and crying in another. Break out roles were given to Calista Flockhart, Jane Krakowski, Courtney Thorne-Smith, and Lucy Liu that certainly broadened their careers. Not to mention Vonda Shepard for her singing appearances and theme song, who was discovered by David E. Kelley and his wife Michelle Pfeiffer!
So yes, here get 5 seasons on 30 discs - excessive discage, sure, worth it, yep - with the first season in full frame and the rest widescreen. Then disc 31 has a new retrospective featurette, and 5 or 6 vintage featurettes. Also an episode of "The Practice" when Ally crossed over (the episode was entitled "Axe Murderer"), and a music video!
The 32nd disc is a "Best of Ally McBeal" soundtrack, which can also be now purchased separately from all good record stores (they still have those, right?!).
Back in the day when it was on TV, and I had yet to import it, I arranged my Monday nights around this show and never missed an episode! You have razor-sharp comedy, balanced with fantasy elements, further balanced with drama. Who can ask for more?
In retrospect I found the relationship between Ally and Georgia to be the epitome of balance that any writer can achive. I am quite sure that the later seasons were written to cash in on the brilliant three seasons that the series was based on. This is a major TV series and I am sure that this will be remembered kindly.
But wait, what's that? You've never seen ONE episode of the show?! Well, after seeing two episodes I'm sure you'll be freshly hooked! It's funny, sad and quirky. At episode two the characterisations are developing so well. Fish's description of why he is into Whipper - "the waddle", the judge who is tolerant to prostitution, Fish's partner who made a speech to staff and then sent around a questionnaire about his delivery of the speech - all a little insane. I was/am hooked on this superb TV series and so will you too!
For, all you truly need to know is that Ally McBeal was a very spunky lady. She was weird, she always saw some dancing baby! That said, the weirdest thing for me was the whole "out of nowhere" daughter. She had donated her eggs , or ovum, or something and all of a sudden her daughter comes out of the blue. Hmmmm, mind you the fact that it turned out to be our now-beloved world-saving 'Cheerleader' herself, goes a long way to prove the depth of talent this show mined. [PP] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
•Season 2: Fox Behind the Scenes
•Season 2 TV Special: Life and Trials of Ally McBeal
•Season 3 Featurette
•Behind the Scenes of Season 5
•Season 5: Goodbye, Ally
•The Practice Season 2: “Axe Murderer”
•The Best of Ally McBeal Sountrack