Boston Legal's first season aired back in 2004 and was born out of The Practice's final season - it was created as a spin-off from The Practice, which was sagging in the ratings and so was used (in part) to set up Boston Legal, a show with a mostly different cast and a different flavour to it. Boston Legal ran for five seasons and the first is often considered to be one of the best, if not the finest. But regardless of which season you prefer, Boston Legal is without a doubt one of the best spin-off shows to have aired on telly vision alongside great alumni like Frasier, The Colbert Report, The Simpsons and Happy Days (which reminds me of a brief time I entertained Spin-Off Sunday, a tribute to the greatest spin-offs and a look at some potential fictional ones, maybe I should revive that - if there's interest).
Fresh from the events which closed out The Practice's final season, Alan Shore joins the law firm Crane, Poole and Schmidt which represented him the previous show. He and Tara have both been hired into the firm by Denny which sparks a long and lasting friendship between the two men.
Boston Legal is a light-hearted law based drama with a huge bent for the comedic, at no point does the show ever take itself seriously, many of the court cases are at least slightly humorous in their nature and Denny's antics alone across the seventeen episodes which make up the first season are enough to place the show firmly as 'comedy-drama'. It's got a smart, witty, sexy cast who aren't afraid of looking foolish at times - including greats like Candice Bergen, Rene Auberjonois, Mark Valley and Christian Clemenson (who guest stars in this season).
Over the first season Crane, Poole and Schmidt deal with problems within the law firm and legal cases; dealing with a prominent member of the firm being institutionalised, disturbed ex-lovers, Alzheimer's, a transvestite Santa Claus, Denny being arrested for solicitation, science teachers refusing to teach creationism, Alan hiring men to fight in a bar brawl for him and many more. As you can see this is not a show which shies away from unusual issues, politics and the absurd.
Now, unfortunately for the viewer who wants the complete story arc this set (from FOXTVDVD) fails to include the episodes from the final season of The Practice's eight season which introduced Alan Shore (James Spader), Tara Wilson (Rhona Mitra) and Denny Crane (William Shatner) which some of the other versions of this set do. It's not going to spoil your enjoyment as such, but it is a shame because the performances from Spader and Shatner are just fantastic. It's worth tracking down the final season to watch their performances in my opinion as it's very much the prelude to Boston Legal.
Deleted Scenes from the pilot
Court is now in session: How Boston Legal came to be
An Unlikely Pair: Alan Shore and Denny Crane
I've always felt that Boston Legal could do with Mystery Science Theatre 3K style riffing commentary from Alan and Denny - unfortunately this hasn't happened... yet.
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Run time 11 hours 37 mins approx
Soundtrack: English 2.0
Subtitles: Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, English HOH