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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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With the final episodes of 'Battlestar Galactica', 'The wire', 'The shield' & now 'Boston legal' all having aired it is depressingly difficult to find television of a similar quality to take their place.
With Boston legal we have been privileged to enjoy a, albeit too brief, legal comedy that wore it's heart on it's sleeve and enjoyed a standard of script writing seldom seen.
The Boston law firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt saw some truly outstanding characters come and go, the square jawed ex-marine lawyer Brad, Tara Summers & Saffron Burrows playing two very different British attorneys, Rene Auberjonois glues the 1st 3 series together as the serious Paul who tries to keep order at the firm, Clarence the cross dresser, the irrepressible Jeffery Coho, guest appearances by Michael J. Fox as a dying millionaire, Tom Selleck as a former love interest & a superb performance by David Dean Bottrell as the completely unhinged southern peeping tom Lincoln Meyer. Add to these the permanent fixtures of Candice Bergman, all class & patience as named partner Shirley schmidt, Christian Clemenson as the twitching, sensitive aspergers sufferer Jerry Espenson and towering above all else the close friendship of James Spader's womanizing, lost cause champion Alan Shaw and William Shatner's cigar chomping, groping gun nut, Denny Crane. two complete opposites who close out each show sharing a whiskey & cigar on the balcony of Denny's office while putting the world to rights. A mention must go also to Henry Gibson who plays the permanently disgusted judge Clark brown and Shelley Berman as the completely beffuddled old coot Judge Sanders. Too excellent character actors given something to get their teeth into & doing a superb job.
As interesting as the cases are it's the conversations and characters who drive the show along. There is always some topical subject to be railed against and no punches are pulled in blasting everything from gun law to drug companies and while the outcomes are often unbelievable,( they rarely lose), the facts and figures are all too real and make for some uncomfortable listening.
This really is Spader & Shatner's show and they relentlessly steal every scene they are in. Their characters may be reprehensible and out of contro; but they are also likeable and oddly real.
Looking back over just 5 series so much has happened and so many great people come and gone that it's impossible to do justice to everything & everyone in a short review. If you have seen any of Boston legal then you have either seen just one or two and decided it's not for you or you've seen the lot & loved it. If you haven't seen any then I have to be honest & say that I envy you. To be able to start from the beginning and watch the show afresh would be great. If you like courtroom/ legal drama then this will give you plenty to enjoy but if you don't and prefer humour then this is certain to suit you too. So sharply written & acted this was a rarity in that it never took itself too seriously and frequently pokes fun at itself, (in one episode of the last series Alan says it's coming to an end & Denny asks "Have we tried every available time slot?"),.
I never watched this on TV, I just bought each series as it came out and frankly thats the best way, no adverts and nothing missed.
The picture is fine as is the sound and although there are extras they are limited and nowhere near as extensive as fans would hope, (there's loads of interviews online if you're into that sort of thing),.
Great fun with a serious edge, peerless acting and razor sharp scripts mean that this is already sadly missed. Fortunately this is very re-watchable and will continue to entertain it's many fans for years to come. Go on whisper it one last time "Denny Crane!"
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on 22 August 2010
Other reviewers have been very detailed, so I will be brief.

This is the best TV series I have ever seen from the USA with the Sopranos a close second. I don't know why the BBC hasn't screened this most intelligent and funny show but a lot of people have missed out on a real gem I guess.

One hundred episodes and not a duff one in the box. A most elegantly scripted and acted show.

BUT this is just my opinion.

I don't write many reviews but I can't stay quiet about Boston Legal, I commend it to anyone looking for a diamond for the memory.

Thank you.
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on 19 September 2011
I watched the 5 series box set of "Boston Legal" over the last 8 months and the quality of the series was consistently high over nearly one hundred episodes.

Created and often written by TV legal drama stalwart David E. Kelley as a spin off from "The Practice" it shows us the world of the very unconventional practice of Crane, Poole and Schmidt. We also see the equally unconventional private lives of the main characters.

The opening scene of Series 1 features one of the named partners - Poole - arriving to the office in his underwear. In this show judges, clients and lawyers are all capable of doing something a bit mad.

Each episode features one or more cases the firm is fighting, usually a highly controversial or a simply ridiculous one. Some cases continue over more than one episode, usually ending with a cliffhanger as we wait for the jury to give its verdict.

The excellent cast is instrumental in making this series so good.
James Spader plays the brilliant orator and full time lech Alan Shore, though I found his acting style became more mannered and slightly annoying from Series three on. Candice Bergen is the matriarchal partner Shirley Schmidt and there are countless other brilliant recurring and once off characters.

However the acting highlight for me was the performances of William Shatner as Denny Crane. He plays the right wing, "Mad Cow disease" suffering, gun toting sex addict with relish but also at times with surprising subtlety as his character contemplates the loss of his faculties. Shatner has certainly come a long way from his over acting days on Star Trek.
The last five minutes of almost every episode feature Crane and Shore on the balcony of the office, sipping whisky and debating their conflicting political and moral views, often finishing with a declaration of their undying friendship. It's unlikely that the importance to men of their close platonic friendships with other men has been portrayed on screen as it is in these scenes.

The show is far from perfect. Kelley's repeated use of Alan Shore's closing legal arguments to set out his own liberal views gets a bit tiresome after a while. Statistic after statistic is quoted to support his arguments until the viewer feels as if they are being beaten over the head.
The switch in the middle of episodes from broad comedy to a serious subject isn't always achieved successfully. And the theme tune is undoubtedly the most annoying of any TV show I've ever watched!

After five series it was time to call it a day for one of the most entertaining comedy drama series to come out of the US in the last ten years.
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on 28 April 2014
I don't normally write reviews as to be honest, I don't have the time but on this occasion I just MUST.

If you enjoy a drama series that can make you laugh, cry, feel sad, feel happy in every episode then this is for you. If you like 'skins' or 'scrubs' look elsewhere, this is far too intelligent for you to understand.

James Spader is fantastic. William Shatner is fantastic. You'll want to BE either Denny Crane or Alan Shore when you watch this! You'll want them to represent you in court, you'll want them to be President or Prime Minister! You'll wish they were REAL people that you knew! That's how this show made me feel anyway!

Filled with engrossing plotlines, romance, comedy and heartfelt social messages this show is well ahead of its time.

And the greatest thing is, it had a proper ending! No studio interference, cancelling half way through like so many other great shows. You will want to book a week off work and watch this all the way through without sleep or toilet breaks so be prepared!

I'm not going to plod on about the shows content, I don't need to, it'll speak for itself, suffice to say, it's worth watching merely for the fantastic character acting from a host of brilliantly underrated actors including Mr Spader & Mr Shatner as mentioned. They could simply all be in one empty white room reading their lines from their scripts whilst sat on bean bags and it would be entertaining enough, that's how good the script is! David E. Kelly is a living genius.
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on 6 January 2010
You thought Americans had no sense of humour, and were all gun-toting rednecks? - then this should modify your views somewhat. Second only to The West Wing for superb TV series material. World-beating.
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on 26 December 2014
American legal shenanigans of the highest order!,this series is incredibly well written,its got humour,sadness,honour and integrity seamlessly merged with enough perverted and twisted characters that one both loves and hates equally.A cast of splendidly over the top lawyers who have the ability to completely ignore the normal laws and system of applying those said laws,where devious and corrupt behaviour is the norm,its like the House of Commons really!.I found myself laughing and crying at some of the episodes,it gets under your skin at many levels and is splendidly over the top,its also very believable.It points out a fair few conspiracy messages in its sometimes seemingly ludicrous trial sequences but if we remember the O J Simpson trial then it doesn't seem too wide of the truth either,its a true classic.I also consider the friendship of James Spader and William Shatner to be an inspired piece of casting.
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A friend recommended I watch this series; he even bought me the box set he was so enthused. Anyway, after many months of not getting around to even starting to watch it, I found myself housebound for at least a week and finally sat down to season 1. Over the next seven days I devoured the complete five seasons. Never have I before viewed such consistently well written, well produced and thoroughly entertaining tv. James Spader and William Shatner are just brilliant together, and are backed by an ever changing array of memorable characters throughout all five seasons.

If like me, you've never seen this series then treat yourself, immerse yourself, and enjoy a rare and memorable treat. Totally brilliant.
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on 10 August 2011
Boston Legal is great, pity that the makers of these DVD sets have put a horrendous, annoying and crass anti-piracy video clip that you are forced to watch before every single episode, and there's no skipping it. Aimed at the wrong audience, and turns what should be an enjoyable experience of watching the antics of Alan Shore and Denny Crane into a reluctance, knowing you have to suffer through that anti-piracy clip, every single time.
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on 11 June 2013
Boston Legal is one of the best takes on a TV legal drama that I have seen. It manages to mix drama and comedy pretty well for the most part and introduces us to Alan and Denny who are magnetic characters, played to perfection by James Spader and an incredible William Shatner. To review this whole 5 season series (which i have steadily worked through on DVD over the last 2 months) would take forever, so let me highlight a few good and bad points as i see them.

Season 1 & 2 had a sharper edge and better dialogue than subsequent seasons. It felt almost as if they were searching for better ratings from season 3 onwards and chose to introduce characters and plots which would deliberately jazz things up a bit. In my opinion the show suffered because of this.

The characters Jefferey Coho, Claire Simms, Lorraine Weller and Clarence / Clarice Bell added virtually nothing to the show that wasn't there already (other than the cross dressing element) and as they failed to perk up ratings its almost as if David E Kelly thought "well... tried some new faces, didn't work, lets write them out and try something else."

I also felt that the writers seemed to ignore the more obvious direction that they could have taken, which would have been to flesh out the Denny and Alan characters even more. You are treated to some glimpses of their past when they are discussing their lives on the balcony, but Dennys brilliant former career is never seen first hand and Alans many previous painful issues are only represented in the narrative. Perhaps if even more screen time had been given to these two instead of trying to continually bolster up the supporting characters, the show would have been more successful.

The recurring theme of the lawyers in the show standing trial for their various indiscretions and always getting away with it was an over used plot and began to wear a bit thin. Similarly, I can only recall one trial verdict of any kind that didn't go in favour of Mssrs Crane, Poole and Schmidt.

There were flashes of poetry with this show that i felt genuinely moved by. To name a few .....

- Alan's closing argument to allow Shirleys father the right to a dignified death

- Denny's dominant yet tender legal confrontation with his "son" Donny.

- Alans arguing against the death penalty in front of the supreme court

- Paul's fatherly approach to everyone at the firm.

- Alan's good and honest heart (which he tries hard to conceal)

- The brilliant portrayal of Jerry Espenson by Christain Clemenson

- The unbreakable friendship between Denny and Alan, and subsequently between most of the characters at Crane, Poole and Schmidt.

In summation (may as well use the legal terminology), despite the shows many lulls and obvious flaws, I absolutely loved it. William Shatner is a revelation in his role and James Spader is Perfect in his.
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on 20 April 2015
I'm not a fan of American drama on the whole but this has everything. It's outstandingly funny, poignant, sad, relevant and tackled some of the main issues that beset America during its run (2004-2008). Set in a prestigious law firm, Crane, Poole & Schmidt, internal battles are put aside as the individual lawyers battle often nonsensical cases brought by plaintiffs battling corporate vested interests or power hungry district attorneys. Add into the mix more than a sprinkling of sex that often misfires and the series never fails to excite or surprise. There are too many standout characters to name them all but James Spader as the mercurial Alan Shore and William Shatner as the bombastic but dementia affected senior partner Denny Crane ("never been beaten - never will") are wonderful. For me the series really didn't take off until Candice Bergen arrived on the scene as senior partner Shirley Schmidt to bring order to the firm whose bottom line is always the cynical 'how much can you bring to the firm?' The interaction between the characters is well drawn; however I find the variety of judges that the firm battles with to be a highlight - Henry Gibson plays one to whom everything is just "shocking". The issues they tackle are/were topical and relevant - good example is when Denny Crane is prohibited from flying with his latest sex object because Homeland Security can't distinguish him from othe Denny Cranes. Finally you're always kept in suspense as they don't always win!
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