13 January 2000 | Calysta
One of the best shows on T.V
When "Ally McBeal" premiered in Australia in July 1997, I by perchance taped the pilot episode, not even knowing what it was about. It was that sole episode that drew me into "Ally" magic, which quickly dominated a dull Monday night, 8:30pm timeslot.
As a teenager who gives the typically teenaged aim of "Dawson's Creek", "Felicity" and "Charmed" a miss, "Ally" was a complete relief, despite the fact then I knew little about the law.
As expected from David E. Kelley, the characters and the actors portrayals of them are simply first rate. By far the best of the ensemble, Calista Flockhart in the title role is sensational as the insecure, uptight lawyer of Boston. The Ally character is bound to become a future cultural icon of the 1990s.
Peter MacNicol, as the weird John Cage, Greg Germann as the legally unaware, unsympathetic boss Richard Fish and Lucy Liu as the moody, bitchy Ling are the forefront supporting actors of the cast. Jane Krakowski as the snoopish, inventive secretary Elaine is pretty good too.
However, it is the weaker characters of Nelle (Portia deRossi), Georgia (Courtney Thorne-Smith), Billy (Gil Bellows) and Renee (Lisa Nicole Carson) that have begun to show their wear and tear in the second series. Merely, they seem to be paid for standing around looking pretty. Hopefully David E. Kelley will develop these characters more in the coming seasons, otherwise they will continue to be dominated by the stronger cast, looking like beautiful people dressed up with sex to look better than they really are.
The "Ally" cast, and their continuing ongoing struggles in the court room and in their personal lives in a dream of a law firm has been for the majority of the season, one of the most entertaining of the shows on the air today.
However, Kelley's creativity and imagery that goes into each special treat of an episode is excellent. For once, plot and character seem to go hand in hand. By breaking the barriers and creating a show that is neither four parts drama to one part comedy, or four parts comedy to one part drama, was the just the beginning of his dealing with controversial issues.
Since the cross over episode with Kelley's even better show "The Practice", I have graduated from little league law to the darker, grittier side of Boston which has now replaced "Ally" as my favourite show. But the allure for more "Ally" is still there.
As long as Kelley can continue to separate sex and controversy entirely from a show of pure genius, "Ally" will be continue to be fresh and by all means, a great show.