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Boston Legal on ABC & in syndication

post #1 of 987
Thread Starter 
Unbelievable!

I thought Rhona Mitra had done her part on the new season of "Nip/Tuck" during hiatus from "Boston Legal". But now I learn that she's actually been cut from "Boston Legal"!

And Monica Potter is gone as well!

And Lake Bell was axed at episode 5 of season 1.

What is David Kelley thinking? I guess this is the new David Kelley... of "Girls Club" and "The Law Firm" fame (two stinkers which are long-since canceled). He's clearly lost his touch and insight.

Instead, they've apparently brought in someone (never heard of her) named Julie Bowen, from "Ed" and "Jake In Progress" (neither of which I watched), supposedly to give the show more of a comedy tilt rather than drama!!! WTF??

And Candice Bergen goes full-time.

Well, I can only say I'm very disappointed, but I still will tune in... at least for the first few episodes of the new season. Presumably the final four episodes from season 1, which got postponed to begin season 2 will still have Potter and Mitra, after which they'll disappear.

I'm hoping the writing is still A-1, but I'm not optimistic if they're now going to push "comedy".

"Retooling"... way to kill a show. Think super-smart terrific original "Boomtown" and "Karen Sisco", which only got worse and then withered away to die once the retooling jocks had at it to make the shows "more appealing to the masses".

Hey, I thought "Boston Legal" was my most favorite, most enjoyable, best written, best acted series from last season. I don't know why they had to change anything.

Anyway... at least Rhona Mitra is on "Nip/Tuck" where she can finally get some significant screen time. I think she's terrific.
post #2 of 987
The final episode of last year " Death Be Not Proud" was one of the finest 60 minutes of drama I have ever seen on TV. Spader was unbelievable in this episode.

I am horrified at the notion of turning it into a comedy show. Sad...very sad.
post #3 of 987
Drastic changes in the cast - changing the time slot - this show is doomed. Just like "Boston Public", David couldn't leave well enough alone. Sad, really.
post #4 of 987
The show will do fine in the new slot.
post #5 of 987
As long as Shatner and Spader both remain - it will stay ahead of 75% of the shows on TV.

I'd rather have Rhona on Nip/Tuck where she is allowed more "lattitude" in her "acting".
post #6 of 987
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

As long as Shatner and Spader both remain - it will stay ahead of 75% of the shows on TV.

I'd rather have Rhona on Nip/Tuck where she is allowed more "lattitude" in her "acting".

Agreed... now we just need a way to get Nip/Tuck in HD to better take advantage of that "lattitude"
post #7 of 987
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

As long as Shatner and Spader both remain - it will stay ahead of 75% of the shows on TV.

I'd rather have Rhona on Nip/Tuck where she is allowed more "lattitude" in her "acting".

Oh boy, is she, Carlson and Mitra in the same bed!?!? Where's my heart pills..
post #8 of 987
Well, Boston Public is getting better ratings than the heavy drama The Practice from where it came (Practice may have gotten better ratings during its first season) so they're probably thinking the legal comedy angle will do the show better than the legal drama angle which The Practice did for years.

I got tired of the comedy after the 30th penis joke last season. I think the show could use some better comedy writing.
post #9 of 987
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star56 View Post

The final episode of last year " Death Be Not Proud" was one of the finest 60 minutes of drama I have ever seen on TV. Spader was unbelievable in this episode.

I am horrified at the notion of turning it into a comedy show. Sad...very sad.


I agree. THIS is the direction that I would have liked to see the show go more into. Why can't you have serious and intelligent material in a quality drama and yet have some good humor as well?

I'm concerned for the future of this show.
post #10 of 987
only time will tell... or tuesday anyway.
post #11 of 987
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post

only time will tell... or tuesday anyway.

Shatner and Spader will keep watching, Potter was a toss up for me, but Mitra really is a critical loss for this show, imho.

If they're really going to just go for straight cornball and wreck the careful balance and stride I felt they had acheived, especially with that death row episode among others... that makes me sad.

I hope to pleasantly surprised.
post #12 of 987
Monica Potter wanted to leave, about to have ( or already had ) a new baby.
post #13 of 987
i dont know, just like all of Kelly's shows, this has/had great promise. I loved watching the show as it was, but he HAS disappointed me in the past, as he radically changed directions with Boston Public, and Alley McBeal (that show was good until Billy died inexplicably...). So I can never be sure about what Kelly is planning, lets hope he doesnt screw this show up.

OTOH, I will be watching Commander-in-Chief, thats produced by the same person who wrote "The Contender" which was an excellent movie, hope to see the same type of stuff here.
post #14 of 987
Julie Bowen was on Ed and was OK on that show, but most of you might know her as the future/past wife of Jack on Lost.
post #15 of 987
People are quick to jump on David Kelley for the "retooling", when it is most likely a network directive. ABC wouldn't have yanked the show off the air last season with several episodes left if they were happy with the direction it was taking. Yes, Grey's Anatomy turned out to be a surprise hit and they didn't want to change its timeslot, but they could have easily found another night for Boston Legal.

Let's be honest here, that death penalty episode was an amazing piece of drama, but how many people in the "red states" do you think watched more than 10 minutes of it before turning the channel in outrage? I would never advocate that a producer dumb down his show for the mass audience, but a network executive certainly would, and in this case probably did.

That said, all of Kelley's shows whither and die after starting out with huge potential. Even Picket Fences wasn't very good in its last couple of seasons, and Chicago Hope went from one of the best dramas on television to one of the worst in no time at all.

I would have liked to see 2 or 3 good years from this show before the inevitable turn to crap, but considering Kelley's track record I knew not to get too attached to it.
post #16 of 987
Yeah, blame the "red states"
post #17 of 987
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Let's be honest here, that death penalty episode was an amazing piece of drama, but how many people in the "red states" do you think watched more than 10 minutes of it before turning the channel in outrage? I would never advocate that a producer dumb down his show for the mass audience, but a network executive certainly would, and in this case probably did.

There was a couple of other flash-point issues as well, some of them I was bit shocked that they got away with putting it in the show. I can easily believe that the show/producer was told to scale back on the political/social issues that they were presenting, and if that is the case, this show will become far less interesting to me.

I thought this show was the perfect blend of hilarious comedy, sexually orientated banter and relatively hard looks at hard issues, now it would seem as if it's just like everything else out there...bland and safe.
post #18 of 987
I loved the practice, I loved boston legal, here's hoping that they don't ruin it.
post #19 of 987
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I thought this show was the perfect blend of hilarious comedy, sexually orientated banter and relatively hard looks at hard issues, now it would seem as if it's just like everything else out there...bland and safe.

It hasn't even premiered yet, has it?
post #20 of 987
I dont think ABC, although owned by disney, would do that to Boston Legal... retool the show because of its subject matter. Recall this is the same network that stood by Desperate Housewives when all the red staters outraged over it. Now you can say that DH had a lot higher ratings than BL so ABC had a financial incentive to not mess with success and let Cherry do his thing, but still I think, or i'd hate think, ABC would sink this show...
post #21 of 987
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

It hasn't even premiered yet, has it?

No it hasn't, so you're right, speculating about it is a bit premature. I just hope it stays with the same approach they used last season and not back away from controversial issues.
post #22 of 987
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post

I dont think ABC, although owned by disney, would do that to Boston Legal... retool the show because of its subject matter. Recall this is the same network that stood by Desperate Housewives when all the red staters outraged over it. Now you can say that DH had a lot higher ratings than BL so ABC had a financial incentive to not mess with success and let Cherry do his thing, but still I think, or i'd hate think, ABC would sink this show...

But ABC is the same network that backed away from some adverse issue that involved the parent company by not airing or pulling a news/magazine segment. To be honest, I don't remember what it was about, but at the time it seemed to be a pretty clear case of damage control from parent Disney.
post #23 of 987
It's funny that one person screams "right wing conspiracy" and people are slamming all the changes to the show - and they haven't even seen it yet.

I'm pretty sure there were no protests against Rhona or Monica and this is unrelated to any political movement.
post #24 of 987
Well, such speculation is not completely without substance given the players involved and their history.

As I noted earlier, I freely admit that condemnation at this point is pretty much baseless given that it hasn't aired yet.

Time to re-address this issue would be about 4-5 weeks into the season.
post #25 of 987
The problem with Boston Legal and the reason they screwed with the scheduling was all about ratings. They didin't retain all the DH viewers ABC felt they should. Grey's Anatomy did much better.

If they screw with the formula, it's because they want to try and boost ratings - and I'll probably stop watching. It was one of the smartest shows last year, and if they try to make it have broader appeal - it'll be just another lawyer show. If they do a massive re-tooling, it won't be to make it "cleaner" - it will be to make it dumber or less biting.

The only good news (assuming ABC doesn't cancel the show) is the plan was for a full 22 episodes this season + the 5 shows from last season that never aired - so we get a 27 episode season this year. Maybe the plan has changed since then, but I haven't heard anything.
post #26 of 987
Thread Starter 
I'm curious to see how the re-edit the first four episodes of season 2 deals with the two departing females, since the episodes were already in the can last year when Grey's Anatomy surprisingly but permanently preempted the return of BL. Presumably Mitra and Potter should still be in these episodes, with their departure worked in toward the end. Unless...

So it won't be until about a month from now that we'll be able to really see the new direction the show is going to take.

Personally, as much as I enjoy James Spader and William Shatner and the spicy banter with Candice Bergen (who I think is a positive addition to the show, in general), I will resent it if the show becomes primarily about 2 or 3 leading character people exclusively (as it seems they're going to make it, if you look at the posters on buses) instead of being about a much larger strong ensemble cast. As much as these 3 characters are smart and are given smart things to say and feel, I don't want to watch only these 3 for an hour.

In my opinion you can't have a strong dramedy without a strong ensemble cast with lots of characters who each have their own ongoing personal story you know all about as the show lifetime unfolds. None should be onscreen for an hour, and you need characters who could be headliners for any given week and you'd still enjoy it.

Think of the "greats" and how many largely equal (but each definitely strong enough to interest you for a single show) supporting characters you had... Hill Street Blues which was probably the finest (remember fabulous characters Phil Esterhaus and Grace Gardner and their ongoing storyline?) , LA Law, The Wire, Homicide, Boomtown, early Ally McBeal, NYPD Blue, etc.

In general, I would say that the really great shows are about more than just 2 people... and both sexes, along with their interactions. And with the elimination of two major females (including one primary love interest) from Boston Legal and the subsequent likely refining of the story focus to the "big stars" and "comedy", I fear the worst for the outcome here.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Cast of "Hill Street Blues". I'll bet you know the 7-year story on 97% of them, that's how good the writing and ensemble was, and how much screen time and story arc even the "minor" characters were given.

JEFFREY TAMBOR: Attorney/Judge Alan Wachtel (recurring)
DENNIS FRANZ: Det. Sal Benedetto (1983) / Lt. Norman Buntz (1985-1987)
VERONICA HAMEL: Joyce Davenport
KEN OLIN: Det. Harry Garibaldi (1984-1985)
DANIEL J. TRAVANTI: Captain Frank Furillo
MIMI KUZYK: Det. Patsy Mayo (1984-1985, recurring otherwise)
BARBARA BABCOCK: Grace Gardner (1981-85)
CHARLES HAID: Officer Andrew "Andy" Renko
ED MARINARO: Officer Joe Coffey (1981-1986)
PETER JURASIK: Sid "the snitch" Thurston (recurring, 1985-87)
BARBARA BOSSON: Fay Furillo (1981-1986)
BETTY THOMAS: Officer/Sgt. Lucy Bates
JOE SPANO: Sgt./Lt. Henry Goldblume
MEGAN GALLAGHER: Officer Tina Russo (1986-87)
ROBERT CLOHESSY: Officer Patrick Flaherty (1986-87)
ROBERT HIRSCHFELD: Officer Leo Schnitz (1983-85)
JON CYPHER: Chief Fletcher P. Daniels
VINCENT LUCHESSI: Captain Jerry Fuchs
JAMES SIKKING: Lt. Howard Hunter
KIEL MARTIN: Det. Johnny "J.D." LaRue
RENE ENRIQUEZ: Lt. Ray Calletano (1981-86)
ROBERT PROSKY: Sgt. Stanislaus "Stan" Jablonski (1984-1987)
MICHAEL CONRAD: Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (1981-1984)
GEORGE WYNER: ADA Irwin Bernstein (recurring, 1984-87)
GERRY BLACK: Det./Lt. Alf Chesley (1981-82)
TAUREAN BLACQUE: Det. Neal Washington
BRUCE WEITZ: Det. Mick Belker
MICHAEL WARREN: Officer Robert "Bobby" Hill
LISA SUTTON: Robin Tattaglia-Belker (recurring, 1985-1987)
TRINIDAD SILVA: Jesus Martinez
JENNIFER TILLY: Gina Srignoli (1984-1985)
PAT CORLEY: Chief Coroner Wally Nydorf
post #27 of 987
I don't remember seeing previews for an episode with Heather Locklear prior to Boston Legal being pre-empted by Grey's Anatomy. I wonder if they've decided not to air the last 4 episodes from Season 1 and just start fresh in Season 2. Anybody else remember differently? The last thing I remember is Shatner and Spader going in and threatening Dumbo (the guy from Benson with the big ears -- I don't remember his name) after he tried to get Denny removed from the firm.

I'll reserve judgement on the new direction, if there really is one, after watching a few episodes. I already like Locklear's line that has been in the previews for a while (to Denny) "I'll send you a pair of my pants so you can try to get into them on your own time." Unless that's the only line like that in the new season, I don't think the direction will have changed much.
post #28 of 987
Combined with their early hiatus last season and the cast changes this year, I'm out...

~Dan
post #29 of 987
I wrote this is another, earlier Boston Legal thread around here, but I really felt like ABC deliberately sabotaged and hamstrung this show when they blatantly took it off the air in the wake of Grey's Anatomy vs. putting it on another night and at least letting it finish out its season.

The irony of it all was: They prematurely ended BL on one of its best episodes ever, the Death Row episode. Spader really did a fantastic job in that episode.

What kind of message does that tactic send you? It sure doesn't send me a very positive one.
post #30 of 987
Ask me five years ago..."Can you imagine a show with James Spader, William Shatner, Candice Bergen and Betty White in it?" I'd have said "No". I'll hang around to see what happens.

BTW, the "Benson" guy is Rene Auberjonois.
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