How can Ally McBeal be easily described? Well it actually can't because it works on a huge variety of levels. The characters are likable and funny, the dialogue is interesting and quirky and the stories vary from downright silly to incredibly moving.
I guess I'm mostly referring to the first four seasons of the series rather than the travesty that was the final one. The first four seasons were fantastic to watch and I really enjoyed every episode. Yes there were one or two duds scattered here and there, but that is only to be expected with that many episodes. But there could be some really moving moments. When Ally has to inform the office that Billy has died the acting by Calista Flockhart was superb because the whole situation was totally underplayed which made the announcement almost real and that much more moving. The final scene of the season one episode "Boy to the World" was heart wrenching That said the sheer comedy moments were also wonderfully played out. Ally getting stuck in a toilet, her fear of murderers, her trial for statutory rape are all a joy to watch.
But how could it all go so wrong after so much right? I won't say I watched the entire 5th season, it was just to painful to see such a decline. We were missing Renee, Ling, Georgia, Billy and Larry, it just couldn't be the same. And after that ridiculous daughter storyline happened, the series was doomed. It's a huge shame it had to end the way it did because of Robert Downey Jr's forced exit from the show. The character of Larry Paul breathed new life into the series and the hasty rewrites at the end of the 4th season are all to evident, yet even these are much better than anything much that passed for the 5th season.
But I can't condemn a series for one flawed final season when it brought me so much joy with the 4 previous ones. All in all I loved Ally McBeal for what it was, and I shall continue to watch my first 4 season DVD's for long time yet
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