TITLE: BOSTON LEGAL - SEASON THREE
Release Date: September 18, 2007 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 7
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 1030 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 18 minutes 43 seconds
Audio: English Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French; Closed Captioned
- “Out of Order” Featurette
- “Character Witness” Featurette
While a scandalous murder trial rocks the city, it’s business as usual at the law offices of Crane, Poole, & Schmidt, which means a full caseload of criminal insanity, hostage situations, cross-dressing, cannibalism, and outright mayhem! Ethically-challenged newcomer Jeffrey Coho (boy *he* didn’t last long, even by Boston Legal standards) fits right in, lustful litigator Denny Crane (!) finally meets his match, and attorney Alan Shore continues to stretch the boundaries of the law -- and primetime television on the third season of Boston Legal now on DVD from 20th Century Fox.
Created by David E. Kelley and starring multiple-Emmy Award winners James Spader, William Shatner, and Candice Bergen, Boston Legal is a brilliant combination of biting social commentary, riveting drama, and wickedly outrageous humor -- judge for yourself.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
I want to get something out of the way. I still love the zany antics of Denny and Alan, but I’ve become somewhat soured on this show. The simple fact is that this show has had one of the highest cast turnover rates of a scripted series in television history (If this were a *real* law firm, it would probably be out of business due to the clients of the firm leaving due to the excessive turnover.). As such, I didn’t view the entire season. Most of the episodes I *did* get to catch, but at this point in the run the show became less “appointment TV” and more “watch when I can.” This is a shame. Favorite episodes include “Can’t We All Get a Lung,” as well as the episodes introducing us to the Clarence/Clarice character -- probably my favorite addition in season three. Special guests include Michael J. Fox (Can’t We All Get a Lung?), Megan Mullally (The Bride Wore Blood), Jaleel White (Guise ‘n Dolls), Katey Sagal (5 episodes), Delta Burke (5 episodes), Ed Begley Jr. in addition to recurring guests such as Betty White and Tom Selleck.
MEMO TO SHOW EXECUTIVES: YOU HAVE A TALENTED CAST IN SEASON FOUR. KEEP THE CAST.
What I did see in Season Three I largely liked...I just didn’t love it.
Standard Fox packaging...outer box with inner slimcases inside. Outer box uses a white/tan/brown color palette, essentially working off the front cover shot of the principal cast (Shatner/Spader/Bergen) standing in a Crane, Poole, & Schmidt hallway (though this is obviously Photoshopped.) Rear cover features a shot of the primary and supporting cast for season three. Of the 9 people on the rear cover, only 4 are still full cast members (The trio plus new-for-season-three cast member Gary Anthony Williams [Clarence/Clarice]), while two others (Mark Valley, Rene Auberjonois) will still have occasional appearances. The other three are already gone. I mentioned this cast turnover earlier in the review as being one of *the* biggest detractions of the show.
Each of the slimcases features two to three cast members in front of the CP&S lobby. Case 1, which houses discs 1-2, has James Spader and Bill Shatner on the front. Case two (Holding discs 3-4) has Julie Bowen, Craig Bierko, and Mark Valley, case 3 (5-6) has Rene Auberjonois and Candice Bergen, while case 4 (Disc 7) has Constance Zimmer and Gary Anthony Williams.
The episodic breakdown is a bit strange. Discs 1-5 feature 4 episodes per disc. Simple math there -- for a specific listing see the runtimes section. Discs 6 and 7 are the bizarre ones. Each disc has only two episodes -- plus one feature -- per disc. Unlike the first 5, dual-layer, discs, the final two discs are *single-layer*. Why they couldn’t put the contents of discs 6 and 7 onto the same disc is absolutely baffling, and wasteful. Each disc features random paneling (similar to what can be found in the CP&S hallway) with the show logo at the top, with the disc number appearing in the bottom right panel, and the episodes on the discs in the bottom left panel.
Menu Design and Navigation:
One good thing with Fox releases is that you know the menus will be good. The background animates (it features a white/warm colors scheme) while in the center various bits play. Theme plays in background. However, the one flaw in Fox menus is also present -- episodes are directly selectable from the main menu -- complete with lack of play all. However, I would gladly trade Play All for Scene Selection -- which is what went on here. Scene selection is definitely present here. Overall, it is a nicely designed menu system.
Video and Audio Quality:
Absolutely outstanding without flaws. No audio glitches, no video glitches, nothing. Chapter stops obviously at the end of each scene. Audio is at exactly the right mix. No noise, no artifacting, nothing. Color balance is perfect. This section is so short because I don’t have anything to complain about. So, on to runtimes:
Can’t We All Get a Lung: 42:34
New Kids on the Block: 41:55
Desperately Seeking Shirley: 41:43
Fine Young Cannibal: 42:14
Whose God is it Anyway?: 43:06
The Verdict: 42:26
Trick or Treat: 43:05
On the Ledge: 43:09
The Nutcrackers: 43:07
Angel of Death: 43:06
Dumping Bella: 43:07
Selling Sickness: 42:14
Fat Burner: 43:11
The Good Lawyer: 42:03
The Bride Wore Blood: 41:33
Son of the Defender: 43:00
Brotherly Love: 42:41
Guise ‘N Dolls: 41:21
Tea and Sympathy: 43:08
Guantanamo by the Bay: 41:29
Duck and Cover: 41:26
Trial of the Century: 42:36
We have just two special features. That is better than nothing at all, I guess.
Out of Order (6:06): A Featurette about the group of folks playing judges on the show.
Character Witness (12:37): The special guest stars and side characters get their turn in the spotlight.
Total Run Time of Special Features: 18 minutes 43 seconds
I really wish Fox would include more special features on the set. Otherwise, this is a well done set. The features that are here are well done, but there’s just not a lot. Where’s a blooper reel -- a show like this has to has tons. In addition, the cast turnover hurt my opinion of the show -- after re-watching the season’s episodes perhaps that was a bit harsh -- but it did hurt the show in my opinion.
Forget what needs to be done with future sets for a minute, let’s discuss the show. As stated earlier, the show producers have GOT to stop this cast turnover. It WILL eventually destroy viewer interest in the show if every season brings an entirely new cast. STOP IT. Stick with who you have for as long as you have.
Otherwise, this is still a pretty good show, and I recommend it. But please Fox, stop scrimping on the special features.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Special Features: 1/5
Final Score: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 09/30/07
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