6.8/10
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Ally McBeal 

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Follows the personal and professional life of lawyer Ally.

Creator:

David E. Kelley
Reviews
Popularity
857 ( 52)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



5   4   3   2   1  
2002   2001   2000   1999   1998   1997  
Won 4 Golden Globes. Another 39 wins & 115 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Calista Flockhart ...  Ally McBeal 112 episodes, 1997-2002
Greg Germann ...  Richard Fish 112 episodes, 1997-2002
Jane Krakowski ...  Elaine Vassal 112 episodes, 1997-2002
Vonda Shepard ...  Vonda Shepard 109 episodes, 1997-2002
Peter MacNicol ...  John Cage 103 episodes, 1997-2002
Lisa Nicole Carson ...  Renee Raddick 91 episodes, 1997-2002
Portia de Rossi ...  Nelle Porter 89 episodes, 1998-2002
Lucy Liu ...  Ling Woo 74 episodes, 1998-2002
Courtney Thorne-Smith ...  Georgia Thomas 69 episodes, 1997-2002
Gil Bellows ...  Billy Thomas 68 episodes, 1997-2002
Albert Hall ...  Judge Seymore Walsh 51 episodes, 1998-2002
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Storyline

Ally McBeal and Billy Thomas were going steady throughout their childhoods. Ally even followed Billy to Harvard law school despite having no interest in law. But when Billy chose to pursue a career in law away from Ally, their relationship came to an end. In the present, an old classmate of Ally's named Richard Fish gives Ally a job at his law firm, where Billy and his new wife are also working. This puts Ally in a predicament since she still has feelings for Billy which she's laboring to get over. At the office, Ally puts up with a nosy, gossiping secretary named Elaine, and an oddball lawyer named John Cage never seems to lose a case. At home, Ally's friend and house-mate Renée regularly advises her on her love life. The series follows Ally's trials and tribulations in life through her eyes, and caricaturizes her personal thoughts and fantasies. Written by Ondre Lombard <olombard@lombard.cyberverse.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fox [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 September 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ally McBeal See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (112 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lara Flynn Boyle audition to play Ally. Although she didn't win the role, David E. Kelley liked her so much that he wrote the character of Helen Gamble on The Practice (1997) just for her. See more »

Quotes

Renee: We've been lied to by Disney.
See more »

Alternate Versions

During the third season, Fox executives heavily edited several season one and season two episodes of Ally McBeal into thirty minute episodes called "Ally". 13 episodes were edited in this fashion, with just about all courtroom scenes removed so as to focus mainly on the personal lives of the main characters and the various comedy-themed story lines at the law firm and the episodes airing out of order from their original sequence. After airing ten episodes, Fox canceled "Ally" do to extremely low ratings and shelved plans to sell the thirty minute version of the series into syndication. See more »

Connections

Featured in I Love the '90s: 1997 (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Searchin' My Soul
(theme song)
Written and Performed by Vonda Shepard
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Looking back...
5 December 2011 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

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 so the show and the character finds it's stride. And if it doesn't quite measure up to the best 'grown up' TV of today, it still deserves praise for being one of the series that broke the mold of what a TV show was supposed to be.

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 TV in the years since.

I'll admit, with years of even braver shows since, Ally McBeal no longer feels quite as special, and in fact now feels a little limited. 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 plague the show.

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 to actually work brilliantly in any series.

The writing is sharp and full of wit and pathos. The music is integrated in a way that was rare for TV before, but much imitated since, with montages to songs played and sung by Vonda Shepard (a great voice) who often also appears in the series as a singer at the lead characters favorite after hours watering hole.

I do have to say, some of the music now feels, in retrospect, too on the nose. The songs chosen (or written) almost always have lyrics that are too spot on, too obvious a commentary on the action, That good and bad side to the music sort of sums up my perspective on the series looking at it again in 2011. I appreciate and admire it for what it gave us and TV, I still enjoy it, but I'm no longer just blown away by it. Not in a world of Breaking Bad, Weeds, Mad Men, Nurse Jackie, Arrested Development, etc. etc.


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