Ally McBeal 5 Seasons 1997

Season 1
(130) IMDb 7.5/10

1. Pilot TV-14 CC

Young lawyer Ally McBeal experiences emotional turmoil when she takes a job at a firm where her childhood sweetheart and first love also works.

Starring:
Calista Flockhart, Courtney Thorne-Smith
Runtime:
43 minutes
Original air date:
September 8, 1997
Season 1

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By William F. Thomas on November 6, 2009
I just watched the Ally McBeal pilot again. David Kelley and Calista Flockhart were born for each other like Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick.

Calista is radiant. She is not quite beautiful, not exactly pretty, no raging sex-pot; but the total combination is irresistible. You can't keep your eyes off her. She can be a waif, then a courtroom shark, with no time and no transition. And she pulls it off. She is Ally McBeal, and she changed the culture in the process.

The show is outrageous. The music, the graphics illustrating hilariously how Ally feels from moment to moment; Cage, Fish, the sexiest woman ever on television--roommate Renee, played to mouthwatering perfect by Lisa Nicole Carson; Elaine--a whole new category of character. It was such a high-wire act that only pure genius could have kept it up for five seasons.

I loved every minute of it. I miss it. I can't wait to own it.

If you haven't seen it, see it. If you have, it's time to get reacquainted with these quirky old friends.

Now, pardon me, please. I'm going to watch Episode 2.
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52 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on November 30, 2011
(Warning: Some minor spoilers on later seasons or boyfriends-of-the-week!)

Ally McBeal is a well put-together show, shinily produced, and the actors are all terrific, but going back and revisiting the show years later was definitely a shock. I'd remembered thoroughly enjoying some episodes, while becoming increasingly dissatisfied as it went along, so it's interesting to go back and re-view the pilot and early episodes and wow, everything I disliked is right there up front after all.

I realize I'm one of the few, so feel free to click "not helpful" and I will totally understand.

But hear me out.

The show is cute on the surface but the farther down you go, the meaner its spirit and less deep it becomes (a real paradox). Dig deep and there's no "there" there.

The show's premise is that Ally is this sweet, hapless waif who just wants love (specifically, the guy who dumped her), and who also wants to be seen as a good person -- while consistently making a neverending series of questionable, shallow, egotistical or downright disturbing choices. The law firm is supposed to be cool, edgy and awesome, but eight hours at that firm and the harrassment suits would be flying. Most of the men are not conventionally handsome, which is fine, except that they're also generally painted as massive entitled jerks who are nevertheless incessantly desired and/or pursued by the firm's females, almost all of whom are gorgeous ice-queen types. The more imperfect the man on this show? The more perfect the actress playing his love interest is guaranteed to be. The show's supposed to be be this single-girl fantasy comedy but in fact is much more a man's fantasy at heart (which is unfortunately where too many of Kelley's shows seem to end up).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Miss Barbara TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 6, 2009
Format: DVD
This was one of those quirky little shows set in a law firm. It uses its cases to set the mood for each episode but also relies on the peccadillos of its main characters to anchor the show. We have the wattle man, the Barbie doll, the nose noise man; even the unisex bathroom almost becomes a character.

Ally had once dated one of the other lawyers who works at the firm with his current wife which sets the mood for a lot of sexual tension. Ally is supposedly still in love with him though she manages to fall in love with most other hunky men who walk through her door.

As we move through the subsequent seasons we follow the loves and losses of most all of the Firms oddball ensemble cast. I can understand how the feminist movement pointed to this series with disdain. Ally was not an "I can do" female. In fact she was kind of an "I'm falling apart" type of gal. Sort of like me. Maybe that's why I'm so fascinated by this series.

It's too bad the music licensing issue keep this funny show out of the market for so long. There is a large current group of the purchasing public who will probably not buy this series because it's now just too old. I'm giving the same review to each year of the series because they're pretty much alike with interchangeable boyfriends and co-workers - but they're all good.....bg
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Doobster6 on February 1, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When the series first came out I remember thinking how creative the writers all were and being pleasantly surprised by the unexpected complexity and depth of the characters, at least for a sitcom. A decade later it's still funny and at times, even thought provoking. Even though the ground they broke then has since been thoroughly tilled by the many series that followed, the topics and issues are still relevant. My wife and I are enjoying it!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NPCJ360 on May 7, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
this show is great. one of the best things to come from the 90's. has great romance and humor. ive looked on other sites and amazon is the only one who sales it for cheap. other sites have it for over 20 to 40 bucks. buy this dvd now now now now now!
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I had forgotten that the early episodes of this series were a bit creaky, and at first Ally seemed so young, goofy and nervous that she felt more like a teenager than a smart 27 year old lawyer.

But by episode 5 or the show and the character finds it's stride. If it doesn't quite measure up to the best 'grown up' TV of today, it deserves praise for being one of the series that broke the mold of what a TV show was supposed to be like.

It had an openness to complicated tones that seamlessly mixed wild, sometimes surreal humor, more subtle humor and drama, to long story arcs and not easily solved once a week problems, and to being more about character than event, making TV a more novelistic and sometimes cinematic medium in the process.

Certainly Ally McBeal wasn't the first show to do any of these things, but it was one of the first shows that was a big success with these new approaches, and that helped paved the way for many of the best dramas dramadies and comedies on American TV in the years since.

I'll admit, with years of even braver shows since, Ally McBeal no longer feels quite as unique. Especially with DVDs allowing more than once a week viewing, a certain sameness to Ally's constantly fearful, broken heart and her funny/sad attempts to overcome it starts to be more apparent.

But there's still a lot to enjoy here. The performances are terrific from top to bottom, and every 'silly' character is given their serious and moving moments, and every 'serious' character is allowed to be laugh-out-loud funny at times. Special mention has to be made of Peter MacNichol's 'The Biscuit', one of the oddest, funniest characters in any series in memory.

The writing is sharp and full of wit and pathos.
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