I titled this "A Review" only because it follows form; this is really more of a maudlin lamentation - my mourning of Boston Legal - a kind of eulogy. I mean, can you believe these crazy, wonderful people are no longer going to be in our lives? I understand it's silly and all, and I am a late-comer to the show - I caught an episode here and there, but really fell in love with it just 2-3 years ago - but I was constantly checking the schedule all summer long.
When Boston Legal ended last season, it was like a chore I hadn't finished - like being at the store and not being able to remember what it was I had to buy. I eventually found something in its timeslot, but it took weeks to hit me that I was missing Boston Legal. I could not figure out what it was I used to watch on Monday nights until it suddenly hit me one day; I'd had it on a weekly reminder, so it always clicked right over and I never had to think about it. It had become that much a part of my life!
Boston Legal was one of those special TV shows that did what so few others have ever managed to do: it went right up to the line, every single episode, but somehow managed never to step too far over it. When Denny Crane asked Alan to marry him tonight, they blatantly acknowledged this with the "jumping the shark" line. Then he noted how "this would make a good television series." That really sums up Boston Legal: it constantly knocked on the fourth wall, but never broke it. Whereas shows like Scrubs chuck it and just go all-out (many say Scrubs jumped the shark years ago), Boston Legal instinctively knew where the line was, and though it pushed it as far as it could as often as possible, it never went right over. Watching it... not so much flirt with the line as sexually assault it (Denny Crane) was half the fun - especially this season.
It's useless to point-out how great the acting was, the writing, the direction - even the jump-cut-heavy editing - but there it is (for completeness, if nothing else). Again flogging a dead horse here, but I'd be remiss if I didn't note how damned good-looking the whole cast was, while we're at it.
While Boston Legal tackled all of the big issues with common sense, style, and a trademarked sense of humor, the real key to its success was its handling of relationships. And while the whole thing was exactly as far over the top as any show can be without being unwatchable, the audience had a relationship with every one of the characters. No one acts like Denny Crane - well, those who do are either in jail or close to it; no lawyer gives the emotional rants Alan Shore does - few could, even if the judge allowed it; and I sincerely doubt any fan has the problems Clarence or Jerry suffer - but there was something in each and every one of these outlandish characters that not only kept us watching, but made Boston Legal truly classic television.
And that, of course, means they could not wait to cancel it.
Eat a dick for being such a greedy creep, David E. Kelley - time and time again. You've been making the same show for years now and when you finally mastered the formula, you cocked it all up because you were afraid you couldn't make the payments on that diamond-encrusted fishtank full of endangered sharks with lasers attached to their foreheads.
And shame on you, ABC, for shrugging-off the best show you have! But I expect this from network TV because you're all entirely out of touch with the viewing public. I will give you kudos for ousting Kelley on Life on Mars, which is almost as good as the original series. But let's face it, you're going to drop the ball again. Boston Legal was a surefire winner all the way around and you let it slip through your fingers.
Thank you, Powers That Be, for a good run at least - Boston Legal is showing on ION TV right now and is certain to be in reruns for years to come. And we can always buy the overpriced DVD sets - as I'm quite certain David E. Kelley will fight tooth and nail to keep it offline for as long as he can.
Goodbye, Boston Legal. There is only one thing left to say:
© C Harris Lynn, 2008