Saturday, May 30, 2009

Blog DVD Review: Boston Legal - Season Five

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for our weekly Blog DVD Review! Today we take a look at 20th Century Fox's court room series Boston Legal - Season Five. Boston Legal was a comedic law show starring James Spader and William Shatner. Denny Crane! See Seth Thrasher's Blog DVD review of Boston Legal - Season Five:

Boston Legal - Season Five (Fox, $49.98) is now on DVD, and with this release we conclude the series on DVD of one of my favorite television series of the decade. The show's fifth season was its last, having aired on ABC this past fall. Thirteen episodes are presented, and they draw to a close one of the most fun legal dramas in TV history.
With this season, we also bid goodbye to one of what I feel to be the greatest characters in the annals of television in Denny Crane (William Shatner). His "Mad Cow"-induced craziness continues in full swing for the majority of the season, while towards the end of the season his disease (which in actuality is Alzheimer's) begins to progress, and the madness takes on a sadder tone. Alongside Denny as always is his best friend Alan Shore (James Spader). Also on hand for the show's final year is of course named partner Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen), senior partner Carl Sack (John Larroquette), plus associates Jerry Espenson (Christian Clementson) and Katie Lloyd (Tara Summers).
If you're one of those viewers who dislikes when shows have cast members pair into couples towards the end, you may not have been a fan of the way the final episode progressed. All six people I listed wind up in each other's company -- Jerry and Katie gradually move closer, while Shirley and Carl prepare for their wedding...meanwhile in order to assure his proper care and safety as things deteriorates, Denny proposes marriage to who else but his best friend -- Alan. All of this occurs, naturally, at the same time as recurring character Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois) negotiating the merger of the firm with a Chinese outfit. Great fun is still had, while plenty of drama still ensues. Also returning this season is Betty White as the crazed Catherine Piper, plus special guest star Valerie Bertinelli, who plays a cattle rancher who Denny is convinced is Valerie Bertinelli. You can also find interesting guest spots with the various case judges. For example, Williams Daniels -- known to many as Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World but to *me* as Dr. Mark Craig from St. Elsewhere -- appears as a judge. Meanwhile, as an attorney, Christopher Rich from Reba appears. Annie Potts appears in a later episode, "The Bad Seed." Keep an eye out for even more!
For the 5th and final season we got a packaging change -- gone are the usual slim cases, and in their place are the fragile clear plastic keep cases that I'm not particularly a fan of. The four single-sided discs are held by two plastic trays in the center. Package art for both the outer box holding the plastic case as well as the case itself feature Denny and Alan posted together in front of the Boston skyline each holding a cigar. Each disc features its own disc art. Disc 1 features the distinctive Crane, Poole, and Schmidt sign in the hallway. Disc 2 features the hands of Denny and Alan on the balcony each with a cigar with the building in the background. Disc 3 again features their hands only -- only this time with a glass of some rather fine alcohol each. Finally on disc 4 you see a wide shot of the balcony, with the two's trademark white chairs, both empty.
Getting to what is on the discs themselves: I have always loved the format of menus from 20th Century Fox, with each episode getting a sub-menu and scene selection options, but the main menus haven't always been lively. With Boston Legal Season 5 though, you get lots of animation -- a still photo of each cast member is in the foreground. Behind them is an animated silver panel, and within that panel is a clip featuring that cast member. After about 5 seconds the cast photo and video clip rotate to the next cast member. It's really a fairly spiffy layout. In front of the all of this is a stationary silver bar with the season and disc number, with a red panel holding the episode list. From there you can access the sub menus, which feature multiple language options plus the ability to access any given scene. The video quality is absolutely flawless. There is no grain, noise, artefacting, or any such debris. The video is simply spectacular. Audio sounds great as well. Vocals are nice and loud, music sounds great. There are numerous chapter stops -- with each one tying to a location from the scene selection menu. Runtimes on the hour long episodes range from 42 to 43 minutes, the standard for a 2008 drama series.
FOUR special features grace this set. Something I wish we'd had far, far more of over the series returns for the final season, deleted scenes. The scenes feature an introduction by showrunner Bill D'Elia. You can also find a featurette regarding the remarkably close friendship enjoyed by Denny and Alan over the years, as well as a feature focused on a dropped story from the episode "Juiced." It begins with an introduction regarding what was cut, and why it was cut -- at which point the video itself is shown in its entirely, essentially giving us a full half-episode extra of the series, as there's a good 20 minutes of footage. The story? Denny in fact has a daughter, who is played in the episode by Kimberly Williams-Paisley (According to Jim). The crew felt so bad about cutting her out that's how she wound up as the attorney in the Supreme Court case in the finale. "Finally" is a feature regarding the very, very interesting finale of the show.
And with that, we draw to a close of one of the most interesting and enjoyable TV series of the decade. ABC enjoyed a wave of success with several of its series debuting in 2004-05, and of those, Boston Legal is the first to depart. We got a nice volume of features for the set and between these five DVD sets and the countless reruns on broadcast and cable Boston Legal fans are sure to be able to enjoy Denny Crane and friends for years to come. Strong recommendation.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(5/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Boston Legal TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, November 28

The Simpsons - "Mothers and Other Strangers" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Teenage Homer and Grampa take a road trip to look for his mom.

The Great North - "From Tusk Til Dawn Adventure" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Former celebrity mountain man, Tusk Johnson, returns to Lone Moose with a big favor to ask of Beef and Wolf; Honeybee enters a contest to win her own mall kiosk.

Bob's Burgers - "FOMO You Didn't" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Susmita offers to help Tina with a photography class assignment; a woman who used to live in the Belchers' apartment comes for a visit.

Family Guy - "The Fatman Always Rings Twice" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
In noir-style, Peter/Mac investigates the disappearance of Meg/Sister Megan.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 22)

Friday, November 26

  • Kal Penn (Sunnyside/Deadbeat/We Are Men) - Watch Kal on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Rudd (Living with Yourself/Friends/Wild Oats) - Paul appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Dan Aykroyd (Soul Man) and Ernie Hudson (Grace and Frankie/The Last Precinct/Highcliffe Manor) - Dan and Ernie are guests on a repet of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Seinfeld) - Larry is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Dove Cameron (Schmigadoon!/Liv and Maddie) - Dove will be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri guest hosts a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Yvonne Orji (Insecure) - Yvonne appears on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Fortune Feimster (Kenan/Sunnyside/Champions) - Fortune is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Aniston (Friends/Muddling Through/Ferris Bueller/Molloy) - Jennifer appears on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Schmigadoon!/Trial & Error/Kristin) - Kristin performs on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (August-November)

Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Deluxe Edition (100 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Standard Edition (50 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/24 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season 2
09/07 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
11/02 - Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

11/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: MacGruber Series Premiere Date Set; Saved by the Bell Pays Tribute to Dustin Diamond
11/26 - 2021 Antenna TV Christmas and New Year's Schedule
11/25 - 2021 Thanksgiving TV Marathons on TV This Holiday Weekend Include The Jeffersons on Starz Encore Black
11/24 - First Look at Peacock's Bel-Air; Dollface Returns Feb. 11 on Hulu
11/23 - Paramount+ Celebrates the Holidays with Sitcom Classics; HBO Max Gets in Holiday Spirit as Well with Christmas Comedy Series
11/22 - Apple TV+ Announces The Afterparty Premiere Date; SNL Closes Out 2021 with 2 New December Episodes
11/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 22, 2021)
11/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Orders Last Blockbuster Video Comedy Series; Party Down Revival Set at Starz
11/19 - Fri-Yay: Sitcom Thanksgiving Episodes to Be Thankful For; Live in Front of a Studio Audience Returns Dec. 7 with The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes
11/18 - COZI TV's 2021 Unexpected Guests Thanksgiving and Christmas; How I Met Your Father Premieres January 18 on Hulu
11/17 - Freeform Announces January Schedule; Starz Releases Premiere Date for Shining Vale with Courteney Cox
11/16 - MeTV Network Loses Columbo, Adds Andy Griffith and M*A*S*H Sundays; Remembering Gavan O'Herlihy, the Original Chuck Cunningham on Happy Days
11/15 - NBC Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; And Just Like That... Premieres Dec. 9 and Airs Thursdays
11/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 15, 2021)
11/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot Set for 2022-2023 Debut on NBC; The Harper House Cancelled at Paramount+
11/12 - The Newlywed Game Coming to BUZZR; Nick Renews Tyler Perry's Young Dylan for Season 3
11/11 - CBS Winter 2022 Midseason Schedule; The Wonder Years Series Premiere Grows in Multi-Platform Viewing
11/10 - HBO Max's Search Party Sets Final Season Launch on Jan. 7; The Wall Returns to Fill in on NBC
11/09 - Fox Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; The Righteous Gemstones Returns Jan. 9 on HBO
11/08 - The CW Midseason 2022 Schedule; Dolly Parton to Appear on Final Season of Grace and Frankie
11/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 8, 2021)
11/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Season 2 Premiere Date Set for The Righteous Gemstones; Complete Series of The Andy Griffith Show Headed to Blu-ray
11/05 - Fri-Yay: black-ish to Debut Final Season in January; Fox's Fantasy Island Gets Holiday Special and 2nd Season
11/04 - NBC Slates Comedy Previews in December, Including American Auto & Grand Crew; It's Always Sunny to Surpass Ozzie & Harriet for Live-Action Comedy
11/03 - 2021 Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas Schedule - The 25th Anniversary; The Simpsons in Plusaversary Special
11/02 - ABC Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; HBO Max Acquires Mr. Cooper, Martin, Jamie Foxx and More
11/01 - Ovation TV Acquires Hart to Hart; MC Lyte Sitcom Premieres on ALLBLK
10/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 1, 2021)
10/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: IMDb TV Orders Comedy from Creator of The Good Place; ABC Gives Full Season Orders to The Wonder Years and Home Economics
10/29 - Fri-Yay: Curb Your Enthusiasm Still Produces Reliable Laughs 11 Seasons In; Jon Hamm Fox Animated Comedy Coming in 2023
10/28 - South Park Streaming Specials to Premiere on Paramount+; Martin Stars Return to Host Soul Train Awards
10/27 - ABC Picks Up The Wonder Years & Home Economics for Full Seasons; The Critics Choice Awards to Air on The CW and TBS