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Click for larger image of Ally McBeal - Season 4 Box Set 2 [DVD] [1998]

Ally McBeal - Season 4 Box Set 2 [DVD] [1998]


Amazon.co.uk price: 13.86

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Product details:

  • Product group: DVD
  • Edition: Audio CD
  • Publisher: FOX TV
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Release Date: 2002-04-08
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Starring: Calista Flockhart, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski, Vonda Shepard, Peter MacNicol
  • Audience rating: Suitable for 15 years and over
  • Encoding: Region 2
  • Run Time: 550 minutes
  • Studio: FOX TV
  • Aspect Ratio(s): 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Manufacturer: FOX TV
Too mainstream to be a cult, yet too odd to be totally conventional, Ally McBeal has become one of televisions curios. While its early days saw the show become something of a victim of its own self-conscious stylising, the episodes included on series 4 volume 2 are far stronger in terms of characterisation and plot and the storylines are easy to pick up. Not that the quirks have been exiled--the first programme features McBeal hallucinating about Barry Manilow--rather they have now become part of the overall feel of the show.

Despite the attention lavished on both the lead character and the actress who plays her, the show is a real ensemble piece and works best when all the players are together. One of the collection's weakest moments is the episode that sends the usually excellent Richard and John off to LA on their own, an episode which lays threat to a dreaded spin off. While there are annoying moments--could they not have edited out the "previously on Ally McBeal" parts for retail release and why do they never go out with anyone other than work colleagues--with guest appearances from the likes of Sting this is a must for any fan of the series.

On the DVD: Sadly, the DVD collection betrays very little thought or effort. The pace of the show is certainly brisk (especially when shorn of the adverts) and the picture quality is equally dynamic, instilling real depth to the many aerial shots of Boston itself. Given that music is such an integral part in the show, it is no surprise that the soundtrack has been given a boost by its recreation in Dolby digital stereo. The interactive menu, however, is clumsy to use and having to work back through the options at the end of each episode quickly becomes tiresome. The complete lack of any extras whatsoever is also a definite minus point.--Phil Udell

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