The problem with many shows is that they quickly run through all the reasonable dramatic situations, and are soon going for the over-the-top and ridiculous. For the new show Boston Legal, the opposite is apt to happen; they are likely to go through all of their over-the-top fun storylines that they have to repeat themselves or turning boring. And since they’re not being meaningful or insightful, boring would be more of a kiss of death than normal.
Boston Legal is barely a new series. It is to The Practice what Mayberry RFD was to The Andy Griffith Show, continuing on with characers that had accumulated on the earlier show.
And yet, it is quite the opposite of what The Practice originally was. That show, as with most lawyer shows, was about the good lawyers who might sometimes cut corners, but they are always doing The Right Thing against the sleazy lawyers they oppose. In this new show, our protagonists are those sleazy lawyers, blackmailing clients and giving them bad advice so that they don’t get into trouble for sleeping with the client’s spouse.
I never watched the last days of The Practice, so I had not seen the performances that James Spader and William Shatner had been getting such attention for. The attention is justified; both characters, while quirky, seem fully informed and quite watchable.
The place where it goes wrong is when it tries to be more of an ethical lawyer show. That ends up feeling like filler. And this is one of the rare cases on television where the camerawork style is aggressively bad and annoying. But this series is worth a peek at least for the two stars (and the guest stars on the first episode were of surprising quality; that may have been just a first-episode stunt). We’ll see how long they can keep the steam up.