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Boston Legal - Season Two


TITLE: BOSTON LEGAL - SEASON TWO


Info:

Release Date: November 21, 2006 (20th Century Fox)
Color/2005-06
MSRP: $59.98
Number of Discs: 7
Number of Episodes: 27
Running Time: 1165 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 14 Minutes 25 Seconds.
Audio: English Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French; Closed Captioned
Special Features:
- Exhibit A: The Look of Boston Legal
- Legal Pad: The Words of Boston Legal


Introduction:

Well, after beating the Denny Crane joke into the ground the first time around, I really don’t know of any comedic effects to add to the review to help things along, so let’s just cut straight to the point. This is the 2nd season, from 2005-06, of ABC’s hit comedic drama Boston Legal. The revolving door cast lineup that was such a problem would continue into the early part of Season Two. Monica Potter would leave early on after a sexual harassment arc, and Rhona Mitra would also depart the cast. Julie Bowen would be added to the cast as Denise. Other characters came and went. As five episodes from the first season were held over to the 2nd season, the season had 27 episodes.

The primary cast for season two is William Shatner (Denny Crane), Candice Bergen (Shirley Schmidt), James Spader (Alan Shore), Mark Valley (Brad Chase), Rene Auberjonois (Paul Lewiston), Julie Bowen (Denise Bauer), plus Ryan Michelle Bathe (Sara Holt) and Justin Mentell (Garrett Wells). In addition, Betty White holds a recurring role as Catherine Piper.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The first episode that really blips on my radar is “Truly, Madly, Deeply.” Denny is called upon to defend a man who raped and killed a 13 year old girl, but decides he’d rather go to jail than defend the man. Alan gets to deal with his fear of clowns, while Shirley dumps a bestiality case onto Denise. In “Gone,” Brad helps Denise go undercover as a rogue agent with the FBI to find a missing boy who’s close to her heart. When legal and ethical roadblocks come up, they have to make some choices. Speaking of ethical roadblocks, Denny shoots a homeless man with a paintball gun. Denny Crane.

Shifting to guest stars for a moment, the first episode of the season, “The Black Widow,” sees William Shatner’s “TJ Hooker” co-star Heather Locklear guest star. Her arc would continue into episode two, “Schadenfreude.” Larry King would appear in the episode “Truly, Madly, Deeply,” interviewing Denny after Denny’s actions in regards to the rapist.

Michael J. Fox’s arc starts in “The Cancer Man Can” and continues for the next several episodes. Michael plays Daniel Post, and has a rather strange relationship with Denise over the course of the arc--some high quality television throughout. Tom Selleck guest stars as Ivan Tiggs in Live Big, as does Adam Arkin. Also in the episode, Knots Landing fans should keep an eye out for Stacy Galina, who played Kate in the last three seasons. Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law) plays Eli Granger in “….There’s Fire,” which also features Nicole Sullivan, who hopefully you remember as Holly from “The King of Queens” and may not remember her as Chloe on the short-lived “Hot Properties” from ABC last season. There’s Fire is also a fun episode, as Bev (Joanna Cassidy, recurring) files for divorce from Denny hours after her marriage to him, and demands half his assets. “Shock and Owww!,” the next episode, is also good. Shirley asks Alan for help when nude photographs of her surface for auction…meanwhile, Paul suspects his daughter is once again using drugs, and sends Brad in undercover. At the same time, Denny is inspired by a case involving self-defense and electrocution. The arc involving Lewiston’s daughter would continue into Stick It and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In Stick It, she’s placed into rehab; while in Chitty, Paul begins to cut back time at the firm as she takes priority, causing worry among the other partners. In Chitty, Tom Selleck once again returns as Ivan, while Ed Begley Jr. (Whom I’d hope many people remember from St. Elsewhere. Which reminds me: St. Elsewhere Season 1 DVD hits stores November 28, 2006!).

ANYWAY, in “Word Salad Days”, Alan begins to speak gibberish in court, and turns to Denny for help. A secondary plot in this episode I particularly like involves Paul and Brad defending a video game company when the mother claims the company’s game resulted in the death of her teenage son. Incidentally, Rene Auberjonois’ daughter Tessa portrays Evette in this episode. Ivan (Tom Selleck) once again returns in “Ivan the Incorrigible”. Also guesting is Adam Arkin once again, in addition to Howard Hesseman as Johnny “Fever” on WKRP in Cincinnati, but more by myself as Charlie Moore from Head of the Class. In “Race Ipsa,” Denny shoots his therapist. In the next episode, Edwin Poole returns to the firm from the sanitarium to sue a candy company. These folks are batty. In “Squid Pro Quo,” Denny once again goes head-to-head with his son Donny (Freddy Prinze Jr.) Jenny O’Hara [“The Facts of Life,” “My Sister Sam”] also guests as a judge. In Spring Fever….(takes breath): Ed Begley Jr. reprises his role as Professor Cabot, Howard Hesseman reprises HIS role, Wes Craven cameos as himself, Robert Wagner (Hart to Hart), and Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager) guests as Courtney Reese. This guest spot means that in this episode, three different actors from three different Star Trek series all guested (William Shatner played Kirk in the original Star Trek, Rene Auberjonois played Odo in Deep Space Nine, and Jeri Ryan played Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager). Both Mr. Wagner as well as Ms. Ryan would guest again in the next episode, “BL: Los Angeles,” which served as the finale.

Whew.


Packaging:

Like the previous season, the packaging consists of an outer box, with inner slim cases holding the discs (two discs per slim case). Due to the sheer number of episodes of the season, four slim cases, each holding two discs, were used. (This compared to two or three two-disc-holding slim cases for most shows). Also, with 27 full hour-long episodes, spanning seven discs, this set has the most pure content (I think) of any show I’ve reviewed in my 2+ years with this site. Anyway, the box and artwork use a blue theme for this season. The Boston Legal title is at the top, with Denny and Alan below sitting in chairs on the balcony with the Boston skyline behind them, both with cigar in hand. The back cover features the primary season two cast (L-R: Shatner, Auberjonois, Bowen, Valley, Bergen, Spader). The front cover of each slimcase features a different cast member or cast members standing towards the camera on the balcony, in front of the Boston skyline. Case 1 has James Spader on the front, Case 2 has William Shatner on the front, Case 3 has Candice Bergen on the front, while Case 4 has Bowen, Valley, and Auberjonois). The rear features a list of each episode on that disc in the respective case.

Each disc has a various law, lawyer, or show related theme in a white-blue-black color scheme. The disc number is then in large type to the right of the disc. Here is the breakdown of disc art choice and episode breakdown. Behind the plastic disc holders is a faint version of the Boston Legal skyline (most appreciated in case 4, as there’s only 1 disc)

Case 1:
Disc 1 (Episodes 1-4): Gavel
Disc 2 (Episodes 5-8): Supreme Court building

Case 2:
Disc 3 (Episodes 9-12): Lawyer sitting at a table with ashtray and drink (wine? champagne?)
Disc 4 (Episodes 13-16): Witness stand with American flag at left

Case 3:
Disc 5 (Episodes 17-20): City of Boston
Disc 6 (Episodes 21-24): Bookshelves with law reference books

Case 4:
Disc 7 (Episodes 25-27/Special Features): Stacks and stacks of papers and folders.


Menu Design and Navigation:

So, I put disc 1 into my DVD player, and the usual copyright notices came up. Then the menu started. And wow. Just…wow. The menu is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen in 2+ years of DVD reviewing. The menus are animated, and boy are they animated…keep in mind that everything I describe afterward on the main menu is with a shot of some high-rises in Boston rotating in the background. All of the season two cast members are standing in a scrolling line across the center of the menu. One by one, the menu brings that cast member to the forefront, and next to them a clip involving them plays. Below all this is the show logo, reflecting off “glass” near the bottom. The episode titles are to the left and right of the show logo.

Episode selection menus are also nice. A black bar with a red-tinted and angled shot of a building is in the lower third of the menu. Above this, is white, with a faded out shot of the Crane, Poole, and Schmidt offices in the background. The “BL” portion of the logo is just to the right of the left 4:3 screen cutoff point. The menu options for each episode (Play Episode, Language Selection, and Scene Selection) are above this “BL.” To the right of all this is a still shot for the episode, which fades down to just above the top of the red bar. Language selection features the same red bar, plus the white section showing more buildings. In the foreground are the menu options on the left, with a cast photo showing them in front of/at a table with some law books. Scene selection uses a gray bar instead of a red, with the image being that of what appears to be a different building at street-level. Above that is the white section with a courthouse in the background. Still photos of each scene are presented, with a red border denoting a selection. I won’t say these are definitely the nicest menus I’ve seen in my tenure, but they’re definitely a contender for the crown.


Video and Audio Quality:

So the menus are certainly shiny, but what about the episodes? The increasing amounts of us privileged enough to get to watch shows in HDTV got to see a shiny picture. The picture is even better on the DVD ­ it’s simply flawless. FOX does a wonderful job with most of their DVD sets, and this is a prime and pristine example. The transfer is perfect, there are no defects, and the colors are perfect. The audio is about the nicest 2-channel Dolby Digital track you’ll ever hear. No defects. I’m trying to come up with anything I can see as a flaw, and honestly, I can’t. One touch I love is that FOX left in the season 1 highlight promo with the season 1 clips and patriotic-sounding theme in the background from the ABC airing. It’s a nice touch. Episodes obviously aren’t syndication cuts, since the show hasn’t even been cut for syndication.

Disc 1:
The Black Widow: 43:13
Schadenfreude: 43:14
Finding Nimmo: 43:00
A Whiff and a Prayer: 43:16

Disc 2:
Men to Boys: 42:37
Witches of Mass Destruction: 42:32
Truly, Madly, Deeply: 41:34
The Ass Fat Jungle: 43:04

Disc 3:
Gone: 41:56
Legal Deficits: 41:45
The Cancer Man Can: 41:42
Helping Hands: 43:09

Disc 4:
Too Much Information: 43:17
Breast in Show: 42:57
Smile: 41:37
Live Big: 43:15

Disc 5:
…There’s Fire: 43:02
Shock and Owww!: 42:48
Stick It: 43:14
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: 42:10

Disc 6:
Word Salad Days: 42:01
Ivan the Incorrigible: 43:10
Race Ipsa: 42:54
Deep End of the Poole: 42:11

Disc 7:
Squid Pro Quo: 42:07
Spring Fever: 42:31
BL: Los Angeles: 43:12


Special Features:

Legal Pad: The Words of Boston Legal (5:08): A feature about the writing of the show, featuring show staff interviews.

Exhibit A: The Look of Boston Legal (9:17): This is a similar feature, but more relating to the set design and aesthetic look of the show.

Total Runtime of Features: 14:25


Final Comments:

Wow. I admit, my interest in the show did go down just a little bit over the season --­ the move to Tuesday doesn’t completely mesh with my schedule. But watching this DVD set I’m reminded of just why I love this show. It’s intelligent, hilarious, dramatic, and so many other things, all at the same time, with an excellent cast and wonderful characters. It’s simply one of the best shows on television today, in my opinion.

My only complaint with the entire set is the special features, or lack thereof. It seems to be a consistent issue with a lot of FOX-produced sets. I’d love to see bloopers, deleted scenes, cast interviews, commentary. Touches like those make a wonderful set into a perfect set.

Still, this is an otherwise-great DVD set for one of the best shows on television right now, and I urge everyone to purchase it. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED


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

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall Score: 4.5/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 11/14/06

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000HT3P56/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=187672


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