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Boston Legal - Season One


TITLE: BOSTON LEGAL - SEASON ONE


Info:

Release Date: May 23, 2006 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
(Color/2004-05)
MSRP: $49.98
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 17
Running Time: 728 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 31 minutes 32 seconds
Audio: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; Closed Captioned.
Special Features: Denny Crane.
Actual Special Features:
*Deleted Scenes from “Head Cases” (Pilot) Episode
*Exclusive featurettes “Court is Now in Session: How Boston Legal Came to Be” and
*“An Unlikely Pair: Alan Shore and Denny Crane”


Introduction:

Denny Crane. From David E. Kelley, the creative mastermind behind Ally McBeal, Picket Fences, and The Practice, comes one of the hottest and most innovative new shows in recent years. Featuring Emmy Award-winning cast members James Spader, Candice Bergen, and William Shatner, Boston Legal takes a fast-paced and wildly comedic look at the personal and professional lives of the high-priced attorneys at the law firm of Crane Poole & Schmidt. Court is now in session and the jury is in: Season One of Boston Legal is cutting-edge television at its finest.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Denny Crane. I love this show. I REALLY love this show. So why it took me awhile to do this DVD is beyond me. Every episode of this show is, simply, amazing ­ at least, that’s assuming you can remember who the cast is in each episode. Seriously, though, there is really no episodes bad enough to make other episodes look better ­ all are good. A few high spots, for what it’s worth: Head Cases is, of course, the pilot to the show. Brad arrives from the DC office of the firm at the same time that named partner Edwin Poole has a meltdown ­ arriving to a staff meeting pant less. Denny Crane tries to hide the fact he’s having an affair with a client’s wife, while Alan takes on the case of a girl who was denied the lead in a production of Annie because she’s African-American. In the 2nd episode, Still Crazy After All These Years, Alan represents an ex-lover who once tried to murder him, and Denny’s erratic behavior begins to really worry the firm. The next episode, Catch and Release, sees the introduction of Denny Crane’s estranged son, Donny. Episode 4 sees Edwin Poole escaping from the mental hospital and takes on the case of an accused cop-killer. In episode 8, Loose Lips, Alan defends a department-store Santa who was fired for being a transvestite…On disc 3, Schmidt Happens... Fans of Boston Legal finally get to meet the 3rd named partner in CP&S, Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen). She immediately butts heads with Alan and Denny, while Lori represents a man suing the United States government, and Alan defends a man who “accidentally” killed his mother with a skillet in a fit of rage. In the next episode, From Whence We Came, The firm defends a school superintendent who is being sued after firing science teachers for refusing to teach creationism. Meanwhile, Alan’s client, who killed his own mother, is in trouble again. In Let Sales Ring, lawyer Milton Bombay enlists the legal aid of Denny and Shirley in his quest to be cryogenically frozen. Alan and Chelina represent a high school student accusing his principal of censorship. Finally, in Death Be Not Proud, Alan and Chelina travel to Texas to make an appeal for a death row inmate who may be innocent, and both Denny and Shirley defend a businesswoman charged with paying for sex. Meanwhile, Lori finally has had enough with Denny, and files a sexual harassment complaint against Denny for his offensive behavior.

The Denny Crane list of Guest Stars follows. This list does NOT include recurring actors like Betty White, who was a regular guest over a majority of episodes. This also doesn’t include cast members who started out as non-credit recurring, but got added to primary cast later (such as Rene Auberjonois).
Al Sharpton: Head Cases, Loose Lips
Freddie Prinze Jr: Catch and Release, Tortured Souls
Dana Delany: Truth Be Told
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe: Hired Guns, From Whence We Came, Schmidt Happens
Carl Reiner: Let Sales Ring
Shelley Long: Death Be Not Proud


Packaging:

Denny Crane. The packaging is nice.­ Candice Bergen, James Spader, and William Shatner stand in front of a orange-tinted hallway at Crane, Poole, and Schmidt. The Boston Legal logo is at the top. The back cover has an orange-tinted shot of Boston, with the 5 associate cast members in a little bar below the skyline shot. Each of the main covers on the inner 3 slimcases features a primary cast member in front of more orange-tinted hallway. James Spader is on slimcase 1, Candice Bergen is on slimcase 2, and William Shater are on case 3. The back covers of the 3 slimcases feature the similar orange building, with episode details listed out. On disc 3, the bottom half has a bar similar to the back cover of the outer box. Each of the discs uses the same orange hallway shot, with a headshot of a cast member on the disc. Amusingly enough, the 5 discs use headshots of the 5 cast members from season 1 still WITH the show.

Breakdown:
Disc 1: James Spader: Episodes 1-4
Disc 2: Candice Bergen: Episodes 5-8
Disc 3: William Shatner: Episodes 9-12
Disc 4: Mark Valley: Episodes 13-16
Disc 5: Rene Auberjonois: Episode 17 + Special Features.


Menu Design and Navigation:

…Denny Crane. In the cast photo, he (William Shatner) is standing 3rd-to-the-right. The menu features an animated background, with red-tinted shots of Boston zooming in, out, and by. Black translucent “Boston Legal” text goes by in the background. In front of this animation is the entire Season 1 cast, from left to right, Monica Potter, Mark Valley, Lake Bell, Candice Bergen, James Spader, William Shater, Rhona Mitra, and Rene Auberjonois. The disc contents are all selectable from this menu, with an underline denoting the active choice. Below this is the main Boston Legal logo, with larger Boston Legal text translucent behind it. In the background of the menu the main theme (taken from the episode “Questionable Characters”) plays. Episode has its own menu, with Play Episode, Language Selection, and Scene Selection being options. The menu itself is a red-tinted shot of Boston, with an episode photo on the right half of the screen, and the options on the middle-left. In the bottom near-left, just below where the SDTV non-letterbox cutoff would be (these ARE widescreen menus) is the episode number and title. Special Features also has its own menu. It has the features options to the left, again, on the SDTV cutoff line, with a picture of Shirley and Lori on the right.


Video and Audio Quality:

Denny Crane. The video is NICE. There are absolutely NO visual defects ­ this is truly pristine video. The colors are perfect, edges are perfect, and the video is simply PERFECT. Even when viewing the episodes on, say, a computer with widescreen LCD screen at a high resolution, the video simply looks AMAZING. Some of the best TV DVD video I’ve ever seen in two years of doing this. The audio is amazing for a 2.0 track ­-- the background noises are so-well done that it actually sounds as though the noises are originating from behind me --­ even with a little pair of earphones. The vocals are perfect, the music is perfect, and all audio is intact. Chapter stops at fade-to-blacks.

Runtimes may seem a bit short on paper, but remember, this is 2004/05. These ARE the correct times.

The Denny Crane list of Runtimes:
Head Cases: 43:07
Still Crazy After All These Years: 43:04
Catch and Release: 43:17
Change of Course: 42:49
An Eye for an Eye: 43:15
Truth Be Told: 42:33
Questionable Characters: 42:17
Loose Lips: 41:41
A Greater Good: 43:11
Hired Guns: 41:25
Schmidt Happens: 41:25
From Whence We Came: 43:14
It Girls and Beyond: 42:12
‘Til We Meet Again: 41:48
Tortured Souls: 41:54
Let Sales Ring: 42:30
Death be Not Proud: 43:17


Special Features:

Denny Crane. Feature Number 1 is entitled “Court is Now in Session: How Boston Legal Came to Be.” Runs 11:34. Interviews with the cast and crew ­ David E Kelley looks like he hadn’t had much sleep. Has an interview with the cast about the characters and their quirks, plus Mr. Kelley about the show development.

Next is “An Unlikely Pair: Denny Crane and Alan Shore.” 5:20. Clips of Alan and Denny with interview clips from David Kelley, Bill D’Elia, Bill Shatner, and James Spader.

Deleted Scenes from Head Cases: Interspersed with interview clips with the same people as before. The clips are in SDTV with lower VQ, but they’re still good. I wish they’d been included with the episode itself, but ah well. 15:38

Total Runtime of Special Features: 31:32.


Final Comments:

Denny Crane. Season two, which will probably be released sometime between now and next summer, will be a big set - a significantly higher episode count, and I can only hope more special features. What was here was good ­ REALLY GOOD, but I think better can be done. Myself, I’d like to see some commentaries: Here’s an idea: Have Bill Shatner and James Spader do an episode or two of commentary: IN CHARACTER. THAT I’d love to hear! Or even them as themselves. Maybe invite Candice in for a couple tracks. This show has to have a decent blooper reel, why not include that?

Still, it’s a well-done set, for one of the most entertaining shows on television today, in my not-so-humble opinion, and I think you’re going to love this show, if you don’t already. Its comedic elements are definitely present and frequently occurring, and yet it knows when to be serious as well. And that, to me, is the hallmark of quality television. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

Denny Crane.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Final Score: 4.5/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/22/06

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000EHSVBE/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=173214


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