Culture

Legal Shmegal

Zeitgeisters,Have you seen Boston Legal on television? I never plan to watch, because it’s barely a show. It’s the vaguest wisp of a narrative, the tiniest shred of a drama.

The program skates on thin ice episode after episode. Every case is bizarre and jokey. There are little breaking-the -fourth -wall gags.

There’s the annoying shakey-cam. And the even more annoying theme and incidental music that scream “look there’s something zingy & funny going on”.Mostly its difficult to suspend one’s of disbelief, when viewing BL, but somehow it all ends up being perversely entertaining.

Why? Because BL creator David E Kelly’s penchant for oddball concepts (which he has demonstrated on his other shows e.g. The Practice, Boston Public, Chicago Hope and Picket Fences) is given full rein in this show – even more so than in the tedious Ally McBeal.

So the writing is good-ish, but it’s the acting that brings it home. James Spader, William Shatner and Candice Bergen are great. They deal with all the above weirdness with style and experience. Other shows would have fallen with the combination look-at-me camerawork, in-your-face scoring and zany storylines (eg. The Priest who gets his fingers cut off – Come On!). But thanks to the might of the cast, Boston Legal starts its third season in the US in September.

For those of you who can read between the lines, I’m basically saying that now Shatner has thrown aside the shackles of James T Kirk, he has arisen – like Gandalf the White – as Denny Crane. (Scratch the Gandalf reference.)

If I can’t have something truly great, I’ll settle for something idiosyncratic and ramshackle that bends the rules of drama until they squeal.

Elevate the Insignificant,

Mr Trivia

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