Ally McBeal-Season 2-Part 1-Episodes 1-12 (1997)
|Year Of Production||1997|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Twentieth Century Fox
Lisa Nicole Carson
Portia de Rossi
Shawn K. Clement
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I was always a fan of The Practice - the other late 1990s brainchild of David E. Kelley - but found most of its more comedic counterpart Ally McBeal very trying. Calista Flockhart seemed to get thinner and thinner with each episode, her hair longer and more limp, her antics less endearing and more, well, aggravatingly idiotic. The only reason I watched the show was the revolving door of individually freaky guest stars, entering the show as clients of the firm, Cage & Fish.
The supporting cast was also good fun, with Kelley stacking the show with more and more stars, including Portia de Rossi and Lucy Liu, who arrived in the second season.
It seems strange now that such a madcap, defiantly silly show should attract so much serious philosophical debate. But it did. The cover of Time magazine that included Ally's head and asked, "Is feminism dead?" sparked a long debate over the portrayal of women in the show. Rumours also started circulating that producers of the show insisted that the female stars remain stick thin, and charges started flying that the Flockhart, de Rossi and company were at each other's throats at every opportunity. Still, the show lasted for a reasonable stint and managed to lure a lot of stars to make cameos, including later on Dame Edna Everage.
If there was a high point it would have to be this season, which is sharp, quite often funny and zany without making you want to poke your eyes out for watching it.
The release has split Season Two into two parts - this one has twelve episodes, spread across three DVDs.
The video transfers across all twelve episodes were all of similar quality and appearance.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is not even close to reference quality and has a grainy appearance but is still watchable. It is a clear, but not particularly sharp image.
The colours were bright and clear at all times throughout all episodes. There was some colour bleeding but this wasn't a major issue.
There were few MPEG artefacts. There was some aliasing.
In summary - a fair TV transfer.
There is a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track to listen to.
The dialogue was clear and easy to understand, with little distortion and no audio sync problems.
Music has always been important to the show and the pop songs that punctuate the episodes are heard to good effect.
The surrounds and subwoofer were not engaged.
|Surround Channel Use|
No extras to speak of. None at all. Not even an interesting title menu.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
DVD reviews of any of the Ally McBeal seasons in Region 1 are hard to find and it seems as if it is currently unavailable from most of the big stores. Go for the Region 4 for the moment!
Ally McBeal is fun watching - once.
The video is fine for 1990s TV.
The audio is clear.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S100, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 76cm Widescreen Trinitron TV. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||Yamaha DVR-S100 (built in)|
|Speakers||Yamaha NX-S100S 5 speakers, Yamaha SW-S100 160W subwoofer|