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Picket Fences - Season 1

4.7 out of 5 stars 153 customer reviews

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$20.32 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Picket Fences: Season 1 is the first season of the critically acclaimed series from creator David E. Kelly ("Ally McBeal," "Boston Legal") starring Tom Skerrit and Kathy Baker, in the story of a sherriff and his family in Rome, Wisconsin, a town where things never seem to be business as usual. This long-awaited fan favorite is available on 6 discs.

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While Ally McBeal garnered more attention, Picket Fences garnered more acclaim. It was justified. Set in Wisconsin, the Emmy-winning drama plays like The Andy Griffith Show by way of The Commish. The focus is on small-town life from a law and order perspective. The action revolves around Sheriff Jimmy Brock (Tom Skerritt), his physician wife Jill (Kathy Baker), and their children, Kimberly (Holly Marie Combs), Matthew (Justin Shenkarow), and Zack (Adam Wylie). Storylines alternate between personal issues, like puberty and pre-marital sex, and criminal cases. As Matthew quips, "Things happen around here." At city hall, Jimmy works with officers Kenny (Costas Mandylor) and Max (Lauren Holly), dispatcher Ginny (Zelda Rubinstein), and coroner Carter Pike (Kelly Connell), who likes to exclaim, "Let me exhume the body!" Judge Henry Bone (Ray Walston) and attorney Douglas Wambaugh (Fyvush Finkel) dominate the courthouse. Cases include such tragi-comic crimes as a serial bather ("Frank, the Potato Man") and a cupid killer ("Be My Valentine"), but serious issues also come into play, such as assisted suicide ("Sacred Hearts") and incest ("Nuclear Meltdowns"). Unlike Twin Peaks, to which it was sometimes compared, Picket Fences could be heavy-handed, but piety never trumped entertainment, and Baker, Skerritt, Walston, and Finkel all won Emmys for their work.

Notable guests are a hallmark of every David E. Kelley production, from Chicago Hope to Boston Legal (and beyond). The first season attracted Carnivále's Michael J. Anderson ("Mr. Dreeb Comes to Town"), Evening Shade's Michael Jeter ("Frog Man"), and Man of La Mancha's Richard Kiley ("Thanksgiving"). The series also features one of the last of the old-fashioned orchestral scores, Stewart Levin's distinctive piano theme. Picket Fences ran for four seasons on CBS (when Kelley left between seasons three and four, ratings took a nosedive). Afterwards, Combs joined Charmed, Baker joined Kelley's Boston Public, and Holly joined NCIS. --Kathleen C. Fennessy


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Kathy Baker, Tom Skerritt, Lauren Holly, Costas Mandylor, Holly Marie Combs
  • Directors: Alan Myerson, Dan Lerner, Donald Petrie, Elliot Silverstein, Jeremy Kagan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Stereo), French (Stereo), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2007
  • Run Time: 1055 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K7VHJ6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,203 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Picket Fences - Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Ninety percent of all stories are based on the Idiot Plot -- you've seen it: any conflict that could be resolved in three seconds if not for the fact that everyone involved is an idiot. (Seinfeld based an entire series on this idea, but at least in their case it was intentional.)

Then there's the other nine-point-nine percent, in which the plot involves a real problem, worthy of the main characters' attention (and, therefore, the audience's as well). NYPD Blue, ER, and other shows with life-and-death professions fall in this category. (At least, the good ones do.)

Picket Fences, that last tenth of a percent, is the rarest of the rare, in that each episode seems to start off with the Idiot Plot, everyone getting stirred up by minor little things that should be solved easily...but then something very unusual happens. You slowly realize that this issue is much deeper and more complex than it first seemed. Pretty soon, the most innocuous of personality quirks has expanded into weighty moral, ethical and philosophical territory, and everyone's got an opinion worth considering, whether you agree with them or not. Ain't no slam-dunk solutions in Rome, WI.

I don't know how David Kelley did it, but he handed us the single most compelling drama series I've ever seen. There are shows I've enjoyed more, with characters I liked better, with action that was more satisfying (action in the story sense, not just violence), but few that compelled me to think like this one did. Even when things ended badly, horrible travesties of justice unfurling as we watched, I couldn't help but think, "I hate it, but I can see their point.
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Back before David E. Kelley's skewed TV viewpoint became predictable, he did a wicked little number called "Picket Fences."

Kelley first gained TV fame in the early 1990's by injecting his wry humor into Stephen Bochco's then-ailing lawyer show "L.A. Law." (Kelley penned the episode where wicked lawyer Rosalind Shays met her demise down a vacated elevator shaft.)

After that, Kelley settled at CBS, where he created -- and wrote or co-wrote -- the first season of "Picket Fences." It took place in the fictional town of Rome, Wisconsin, meant to represent Everytown, U.S.A.

At first glance, you had to give the show credit just for daring to be out of the ordinary. The pilot episode alone featured the town's musical production of "Wizard of Oz," only to have the actor playing the Tin Man drop dead on-stage. (The town's newspaper can't resist running the headline, "If I Only Had a Heart Attack.")

As if that isn't enough, sheriff Jimmy Brock (the beautifully understated Tom Skerritt) has to contend with the town's first murder case. Mind you, no ordinary murder would do for this occasion; it consists of a housewife who was crammed into a running electric dishwasher.

"Picket Fences" never failed to exercise its flair for the bizarre. But upon second glance, the offbeat stories were merely attention-getters for some of TV's best fleshed-out characters. Among them were Jimmy's family (including Holly Marie Combs, later to star in The WB's "Charmed"), headed by his doctor/wife Jill (Kathy Baker). And in Kelley's seeming take-off on "Law and Order," the town's many legal cases were overseen by Judge Henry Bone (Ray Walston) and ambulance-chasing lawyer Douglas Wambaugh (deservedly Emmy-winning Fyvush Finkel).
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Okay, this show is probably one of the top 10 things that TV got right. It had quirky but charming characters. It had fun, interesting and even gripping plotlines. It grabbed your attention and even made you think.

While I was in law school my constitutional law professor regularly demanded his students watch this show, and darn if he wasn't right. Pretty much every hot button constitutional law issue made it's way into one of the plotlines sooner or later, and in a way that was just so much more fun than reading caselaw!

Hopefully they will release this soon. I never saw the whole series and I'm waiting with baited breath for years.
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The reason that I liked Picket Fences is because even though it was quite quirky for its day, it took huge global issues and put them into a tiny little town quite effectively. Even though it focused on a family where the father was the sheriff and the mother was a doctor, it took these family issues and weaved them quite effectively into a small Wisconsin town that was screwed up, yet very normal based upon the hidden little secrets that every town and family has. It's funny, serious, and just good TV.
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I missed a few episodes myself due to conflicts, but those I saw rarely failed to provide thoughtful and entertaining television. The first episode I ever saw featured Skerrit, Baker, and the two actors playing his deputies settling in for a nice dinner that turned into a verbal donnybrook that lasted the entire hour. I was completely riveted through it all, and look forward to the day I get to see that episode, and all the others, seen and unseen.

Add to this a capable ensemble of actors featuring, amongst others the late Ray Ralston as the acerbic, sharp-tongued judge who more and more became the moral conscience of the series, and you have a serious keeper for your DVD library.
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