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"Ally McBeal: The Complete Second Season"
Wayne Klein
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video
Release Date:
Special Features:



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 and Spanish.

Special Features:

Previews Only

Final Words:

The second season of the show arrives intact which is a big plus for fans. Although there are no extras to speak of at least the second season appears without music subsitution or scenes cut. That's a big plus for fans. We get all the second season episodes in a nice looking complete transfer. Celebrate. Quirky. Quirk. Quirk. Qurik.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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