Review of "Boston Legal" From The TV MegaSite
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"Boston Legal" Review by Suzanne 11/13/04

Boston Legal cast picture from abc.comI watched every episode of "The Practice" for years, so I wasn't very happy when I heard they were getting rid of half of the cast last year.  They basically changed the show completely, which is good news if you didn't like the old show but bad news for those of us who did.  They brought in a lot of big name guest stars, including James Spader.  He was such a hit that they decided to spin him off into his own show this year.

The last few weeks of "The Practice", they started to get us ready for this show.  They may not have been sure which characters would work and which didn't, or they wanted to use the viewers to help figure it out.  Now that "Boston Legal" is its own show, they dumped the annoying bitchy character played by Rebecca DeMoranville and brought in some other people.  They kept William Shatner and some of the other actors. 

They also decided they wanted a show that was funnier and more lighter in tone than The Practice...something not quite as wacky as "Ally McBeal" (all three shows were created by the same guy, David E. Kelley).  The Practice dealt with many heavy issues in their cases, which were largely criminal cases, but Boston Legal deals more with civil and corporate cases, with the occasional criminal case thrown in.  The Practice sometimes got bogged down by the soap opera of the characters' personal lives.  Boston Legal has yet to do that.  So far the office politics and relationships are interesting but not melodramatic.

They have to do a delicate balancing act on this show because James Spader's character was established as someone who, while we feel sympathy for him, is ethically-challenged.  That worked fine when he was just the new guy, but here he is the star of the show, so they might be tempted to make him the hero.  We really don't want to see that because it takes the fun out of his character. 

It's really great that they brought in Shatner and revived his career.  He is great as Denny Crane.  He is not only funny but sometimes brings in great pathos or drama as well, reminding us that he really is a fine actor when he wants to be and not just the caricature we saw in "T.J. Hooker" and so many bad movies.  There are other cast members but I am still waiting to see if they work out.

The show is worth watching and really, what else is there to watch on Saturday nights at this time?

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