The Good

James Spader and William Shatner are a very well put together duo.

The Bad

No episode commentary tracks. The characters speak in whispers.

I was all set not to like Boston Legal: Season 1. From what I had seen, it seemed like another one of those over the top legal shows in which all the characters speak in whispers. Now, while this show is exactly as I just described, it is also very well written and has excellent chemistry between all the main characters. I could list out various episodes or even talk about all the gorgeous women who come on and off screen (most of them usually have a degree of "cattiness"), but the big reason why this show works is because of James Spader and William Shatner.

As Alan Shore (Spader) and Denny Crane (Shatner) these two characters seem like two sides of the same coin. Shore represents the lawyer that Crane used to be. However, one might think there would be animosity between the characters, but there is nothing but the deepest respect. In fact, the truly special moments (in my opinion) aren't just when the characters are launching quips and barbs, but when they have contemplative moments together to discuss their lives and professions.

James Spader makes it clear that he is certainly one of the most underused and underappreciated actors of his generation.


Court Is Now In Session: How Boston Legal Came to Be

This featurette takes an overall look at Boston Legal from the ground up. It examines how David E. Kelley decided to combine humor and seriousness to levy the tone of the show. We hear from producers and the cast about what it's like not only working on Boston Legal, but how they handle the various material that is thrown at them day to day.

An Unlikely Pair: Alan Shore and Denny Crane

I really liked that this featurette shows that how Allan Shore and Denny Crane interact, is very similar to how William Shatner and James Spader are in real life. There is such a degree of respect between both men and I think they play their characters perfectly. They are very much a comedic duo for the new millennium but it isn't all laughs between the men.

Deleted Scenes from Pilot Episode

These scenes are in one long chunk from the Pilot episode titled "Head Cases." I guess the first version that was made was like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in a courtroom." It seems David E. Kelley wanted to curtail that a bit so they reworked it. After watching most of this segment, I think excising these scenes was a smart idea.


Widescreen - 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. As this is one of the newer shows, I am almost surprised that it didn't come out in one of the new DVD formats. Afterall, this show really has an ahead of it's time feel to it. While I think some of the episodes were shot too dark for my tastes, and I also think they move the camera too much, overall these discs look really good. In fact, I first watched the show on TV on an HD screen. Then, I watched this five disc DVD set on my 9" TV and I really didn't see much of a difference.


Dolby Digital - English Dolby Surround - Close Captioned. Subtitled in English, Spanish and French. My only bone of contention is that I kept having to adjust the audio. There's not any problem with it, it's just that a lot of the actors today feel the need to speak in whispers so I turn my TV up. Then the scene changes and things get loud so I lower my levels. Then they talk in whispers again and... you know what happens.


The front cover gives us Spader, Shatner and Candice Bergen standing tall looking like they have a great legal mission ahead of them. Behind them are the halls of the Crane Poole & Schmidt law firm. The back gives us a small shot of the rest of the main cast, a very brief description of this show, a "Special Features" listing and some technical specs. Three slim cases house the five discs that make up this set, and there is a single shot of Spader, Shatner and Bergen on each one. Each episode is adequately indexed out with a description of the episode underneath it. Once again, Fox provides solidly, economical packaging.

Final Word

It was a mixture of this show and an episode of Living In TV Land that made me realize I had been all wrong about William Shatner. I think seeing him as the indelible Captain Kirk in Star Trek, I took it for granted that this is who Mr. Shatner is. I expected him to always be in command, serious and on top of things. Seeing him sing and do all these things that run in contrast with that serious character was shocking to me. It was watching this show that I realized just how fine of an actor William Shatner is and that because played Kirk so well, I naturally assumed that this was who he was.

Boston Legal: Season 1 is a highly entertaining and engaging show that I am happy to have in my collection.

Boston Legal was released .