There is a flamboyancy to this show that makes it work.
Would it have been too much to have a commentary track with James Spader and William Shatner?
Boston Legal: Season 2 continues the fun and absurd moments of the Crane Poole & Schmidt law practice. As this is a new 7 disc set containing 27 episodes, you better believe that you have never seen law practiced the way that it is here. This season sees Alan (James Spader) and Denny (William Shatner) getting into all kinds of problems. However, they are righteously aided and abetted by Brad Chase (Mark Valley), Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois) and Shirley Schmidt (Candace Bergen) among others. The quips come quick, the law is laid down and when all the dust from this simply crafted show finally settles, we have the kind of television that is going to remain in syndication long after it goes off the air.
What really helps this show is how it connects episodes and doesn't wrap cases each week. For example, "The Black Widow" case gets carried over from the opening episode to the "Schadenfreude" one. This show also deals with topical issues but not in a way that seems overt, or as if the creators of this show are trying to shove anything down the viewers throats. Some of the best examples are "The Cancer Man Can" episode which showcases a brilliant Michael J. Fox in the title role, "Shock and Owww!" which smartly tackles drug use, and "BL: Los Angeles" which mixes murder, Hollywood, and lust.
All in all, Boston Legal: Season 2 is a a smart continuation of one of the smartest shows on TV.
Exhibit A: The Look of Boston Legal
The office layout of Crane Poole and Schmidt is broken down so we can see how each office is tailored for that specific character. Interestingly, they are so into making this show authentic that a lot of the materials that grace the walls are actual degrees and juror's doctorates. What I thought was most intriguing was how we are shown that the backdrop for the show is a digital print. So, when we see Denny and Alan talking at night outside, that whole scene has been artificially created in a studio.
Exhibit B: The Words of Boston Legal
Executive Producer Janet Leahy walks us through this segment on how the writing for this show is done. As someone who tinkers around with screenwriting, I loved the inside look that this featurette offered up. She said the biggest goal is not to have the characters "wasting words." She explains that a writer types up a draft, the producers get it, and then eventually everyone hammers out the story. Also, the staff is always writing and working on more than one show at a time. Lastly, the biggest thing Boston Legal tries to do is not preach to the audience about the issues it's shows deal with.
Widescreen - 1.78:1 Anamorphic. This show has a sharpness to it that looks stunning. I am willing to bet that when Fox starts bringing shows to Blu-ray and HD-DVD, Boston Legal will be one of the first to get the next generation treatment. This show looks terrific, yet it manages to capture the office environment without feeling stilted.
Dolby Digital. English Dolby Surround. Subtitled in English, Spanish and French. Close Captioned. My only complaint with this show is that it seemed to be too sassy for it's own good. Also, there is more than enough characters whispering happening in the hallowed halls of justice. When did this process of "acting" start, because it really does a disservice to these shows? Still, I didn't have to turn up my set that loud to hear the episodes, but most importantly, I think this set, even in it's standard format, could play really well on a surround sound system.
James Spader and William Shatner look classy on this front cover. Dressed to the nines they hold cigars with a shot of the Boston skyline behind them. The back cover of this slipcase features the cast sitting around a table pretending to have breakfast. There is a tiny description of this show, a Special Features listing, and some technical specs. The seven discs are housed in 4 slim cases with pictures of the cast on each one. The back of these plastic cases list out the shows and provide succinct descriptions. All in all, this is 1165 minutes of content packaged as tightly as possible.
I remember when I first heard about this show, my first thought was the last thing the world needed was another legal procedural. Then I sat down and really watched Boston Legal, and while I think that there is a lot about Crane Poole & Schmidt that is over the top, overall I think there is some truth to how these folks practice law. One constant is that people like Denny and Alan really respect the law as an institution. This explains why they argue with judges and act the way do, because to them there is no higher crime then when other people (especially those who know better) twist it for their own personal gain. Now, the lawyers at Crane Poole and Schmidt may not be perfect, but they go out of their way to ensure people's rights.
All people's rights.
Boston Legal was released .