'Boston Legal': Why I'll miss it

Bostonlegal_lTonight brings the two-hour series finale of David E. Kelley’s Boston Legal (Update: Read our recap), and though I know that some of you rolled your eyes when the series received its best drama Emmy nods (in ’07 and ’08), you should be in mourning, too. This series went where others wouldn’t or couldn’t, since it’s not their final season?. Yes, a lot of shows (even America’s Next Top Model) reminded you to vote this fall –  for whichever candidate, just get to the polls! –  but on the eve of the Presidential Election, Boston Legal offered what amounted to an hour-long endorsement of Barack Obama. (Watch a clip after the jump.) At one point, when conservative Denny (Emmy winner William Shatner, pictured right) reminded Alan (Emmy winner James Spader, pictured) that they never talk politics, Alan responded, "Well, I want to discuss it, damn it. The consequences are too big." That point of view — that TV, the medium that reaches the most people, is a place to discuss Big Tobacco, abortion, and why Boston Legal is the only prime-time network show to feature so many actors over the age of 50 — is the reason the series deserved those Emmy nominations. It’s what TV’s finest whodunits and whyaretheyonthatislands can’t/won’t give you.

The other thing Boston Legal fans will miss — besides those recent meta-references to how much ABC doesn’t value or promote the show, of course — is the relationship between Denny and Alan. Other shows (Bones comes to mind), have found some magic in ending each episode with a quiet chat between its core couple, but Denny’s and Alan’s beloved booze-and-cigar balcony conversations feel the most intimate. It’d be easy to call them the most verbally affectionate straight men on television, but really, I can’t name any two characters on TV that express their friendship more articulately (or regularly). Take last week’s episode-ending chat, when Denny contemplated what he’d do if Alan is unsuccessful in tonight’s grand finale ("special 9 o’clock start time," Alan noted) convincing the Supreme Court that Denny should have access to a non-FDA approved drug to slow his Alzheimer’s.

Denny: I made another decision today.

Alan: Which is?

Denny: I’m not dying.

Alan: I like that idea.

Denny: I’m gonna get my hands on this drug, one way or another. Hell, this is America. If we have to, we’ll –

Alan: Bribe.

Denny: Damn right. And even if I fail, they say if you keep getting excited about life, the blood rushes to your brain better. I’ll love life, Alan, even if it kills me. I’ll fish. I’ll be with you. I’ll love life, Alan…

Here’s hoping we love the Kelley-penned finale. What do you want to see happen — besides Denny and Alan having a sleepover in their Washington hotel room and making it back to Denny’s balcony one last time?

More Boston Legal:
David E. Kelley talks life after Boston Legal
Boston Legal promotes time slot change — during episode
Boston Legal renewed for fifth season

addCredit(“Craig Sjodin/ABC”)

Boston Legal Mccain Vs ObamaThe funniest videos clips are here

Comments (239 total) Add your comment
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  • Nancy

    Maybe I was too hard on the show. Still, did Boston Legal offer a “Naked Hobos in the City” episode? I didn’t think so. :)

  • Dan

    When The Practice was cancelled and replaced with Boston Legal I was in shock. This show is a comedy more than a drama. The plots are rediculous and the characters are not likeable. Good riddance Boston Legal. This viewer will not miss you.

  • phil

    how can one hate a series like Boston Legal?? It may have a lot of comedic moments, but there are dozens of serious real-life issues that it deals with, something you DON’T see anywhere else. This article puts it in the right way. The characters are creative, and represent many different people, sure some may seem crazy, but do not forget that such people DO exist, we live in a world full of problems and BL shows that

  • Bkwilliams

    This is one of the only shows that continuously makes me laugh out loud. I am a conservative and still love this show. James Spader is one of the most gifted actors and the chemistry with William Shatner is incredible. Shame on ABC for not having the guts to promote this show the way it should be. Life is a balancing act of the serious and the comical every day. Cheers to David Kelley for incorporating this into every episode.

  • M Weyer

    Yeah, it could get preachy but it also made you think and it’s astounding how they’d bring up points on the state of the country news organizations completely ignored. The whacky cases and antics livened it up and of course Spader and Shatner were the greatest bromance on television but this series left a true impact on those who watched it, broadening minds and forcing them to think on difficult questions. Plus, as they recently pointed out, it’s great to see a show that embraces older actors. So thank you to everyone at this firm and the show for helping make television a bit more intelligent.

  • Shelley W.

    I am a HUGE fan and really going to miss this show! The topics they took on were spot on and topics that no one else would dare touch. OOoohhh.. we shouldn’t talk about that… YES WE SHOULD! To me they were the voice of reason in some episodes! I loved the fact that they took on the big companies and gov’t. I will miss this friendship every week. They made me laugh out loud, cry and even get mad! Gotta love a show that can stir all the emotions! William Shatner and James Spader made me believe… awesome acting! Denny Crane and Alan Shore will forever be in my heart!

  • Siri

    I watched the show that endorsed Obama, and though I was not offended I was disturbed. But there isn’t much than we can do about it. The media are in the hands of propagandists, it matters not which position they endorse, the fact that they ram it down our throats is just bad taste. It seems to me very pedagogic. We are constantly told what to think and how to think about it. The problem with this approach is that it is self-defeating. The moment I heard William Shatner’s character who has championed the Bush cause endorse Obama I started laughing. It was simpply too silly to take seriously at that point. Art has always been propaganda, so it helps to treat it with a bit of levity. I liked Boston Legal, and the fact that the TV show took itself so seriously that it felt a need to evangelize on behalf of a candidate it liked is almost a reason to buy it on DVD. I won’t, but that’s only because it is just a TV show.

  • Anonymous

    I love Boston Legal and am going to miss it. Although I thought this final season hasn’t been very good. I think David E. Kelley could have done much better.

  • probie123

    What I’m going to miss the most is the “inside” jabs at ABC and the fact that they are doing a show. One episode, at the end, Alan said to Denny, “I haven’t seen you much at all this episode”. Last week, when they were discussing Denny’s Alzheimers, Alan said, “you’ll outlive us all and still be doing Priceline commercials” and the biggest inside was when Shirley announced that the firm was broke, Denny said, “Are we getting cancelled”? David Kelly can get off the wall but for the most part, I liked this show but I LOVED “The Practice” and I was really ticked when the cute blonde guy and his wife and baby were fired so they could concentrate more on Denny and that English chick. I always wondered too how anyone could hold a knife to their bosses throat and still keep their job (Denny – season 2). I’m still in withdrawal over “The Wire”.

  • Robert Taylor

    I watched Boston Legal off and on in the first two seasons before becoming hopelessly addicted in its third season, and I have been since. Myself and my three friends make a date of it Monday nights, cheering and laughing along with Alan, Denny and Shirley while swigging scotch and praying to be rich enough after college to purchase those great outdoor seats. “Boston Legal” is a phenomenal, important show that dares to go places where no other dramatic show (cable or no) go on a week to week basis. Whatever your political views (and really, it helps if you are a Democrat), you have to admire a show that wears its opinions and heart on its sleeve so freely, and to not only address issues like abortion, rape, politics and more, but have opinions on them. People say that the show skews too old and does not speak to a younger audience, but speaking as a 23 year old writer, it speaks to me more than any other show on TV. Our generation NEEDS shows like this, and I’ll miss this masterpiece.

  • Anonymous

    I will def miss this show. I randomly saw one episode and was hooked after. Got all the dvd sets for christmas too!

  • Phil

    I was a fan of this show for a long time, until I got absolutely sick of the constant casting changes. Until all of a sudden Michelle Bath and Monica Potter, later Constance Zimmer and Gary Anthony Williams, Rene Auberjonois and so many of the series regulars were (usually) inexplicably gone from the show and (in most cases) never to return. With that type of turnover, it’s no wonder CP&S is going bankrupt. The show was far too preachy and tiresomely formulaic.
    When the show spun off from The Practice, it felt as though Alan Shore lost the dark complexity from the final season of The Practice, to be unfortunately replaced with simple shtick. The writing just got a little lazier as the show aged, as if the writers room were filled with mad cow-addled Denny’s.
    BUT, I did enjoy its strengths very much–particularly the (blatantly homoerotic) dynamic between Denny and Alan; and the final minutes of the episodes on the balcony of CP&S are some of the greatest scenes ever produced.

  • Chris long

    I will miss this cleverly written and acted show with a great ensamble cast of “characters’. But really, for the best ending in TV history, Denny should whip out the tri-corder on the balcony and have Scotty beam him and Alan up.

  • Sandy

    Nice to see there are still some people who actually like this show. It was fun, clever at times, poignant at times, and frankly, it was fun to see the “little guy” win some of those cases that we read about them losing in real life (pharmaceutical companies, etc.) It was completely over-the-top and broad (and I’d never want to work in a law firm with such a lax sexual harassment policy), but it was fun, escapist TV. I’ll miss it.

  • Brett

    When “The Practice” was canceled and “Boston Legal” began, I APPLAUDED. Rather than having to listen to the whiny histrionics of Bobby Donnell’s menagerie of lawyers (especially the ever-annoying Camryn Mannheim), I got to be entertained by interesting stories, likable characters, and involving plotlines. Sorry to see this one go, but ABC is too busy bringing us the next “Eli Stone” or some other such claptrap.

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