I hate the word "quirky". It's been overused so much
that it has become meaningless. Everything's quirky, everyone
is quirky, quirky is quirky. Quirk. Quirk. It almost sounds
like what might come out of the bill of a duck. So, OK maybe
it IS "quirky". It doesn't really matter but to be nice
we'll avoid the "Q" word for the rest of this review. "Ally
McBeal" became the darling of comedy during its long run
on Fox. It seemed as if we never were going to see the series
on DVD because of all the rights issues associated with
the songs in the show and the songs were essential so just
replacing them with generic background music wasn't going
to work. ***
The second season of the show fleshed out the charactes
so that the humor had more resonance. Of all of creator
David E. Kelley's TV shows ("Chicago Hope", "The Practice"
which were running concurrently with this show), "Ally McBeal"
appealed to me the most because of the typical iconclastic
characters which reminded me of the other Kelley show I
liked quite a bit "Picket Fences" (although it lacked the
"topic of the week" approach of "Picket Fences" which meshed
poorly with the tone of the show but worked so well precisely
because of that reason). Here we learn more about the obsession
that partner Richard Fish (Greg Germann) has with the "waddle"
of his paramour an older judge (played beautifully by Dyan
Cannon), Billy (Gil Bellows) her ex-sweetheart from college
struggles with his wife a lawyer Georgia (the lovely, talented
and often grossly underused Courtney Thorne-Smith)occasionally
associated with the firm, the odd OCD challenged but supremely
talented lawyer John Cage (Peter MacNicol) who is smitten
with Ally (Calista Flockhart)and, of course, Ally's own
biological clock which begins calling as the dancing baby.
Image & Sound:
For a recent show (the second season aired in 1998-1999)
"Ally McBeal" looks quite good. The show as shot in 35mm
and it's clear that the studio went back to the original
source rather than to syndicated cuts of the show here.
Colors are extremely good, detail sharp throughout and while
there is occasional hints of edge enhancement, it's not
overly distracting. The show was shot with 1.78 widescreen
TV prersentations in mind for the second season and is presented
here in that format. ***
Audio sounds extremely good with a solid surround mix.
Although it tends to be a bit too focused in the front speakers
(this is, after all, a dialogue driven show), the show occasionally
stretches out and uses the surround speakers to good effect
adding to the atmosphere of the show. Dialogue is presented
in English, French, Spanish and subtitles are in English