Ally McBeal : Season 1

  • Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 8, 1997
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 28
  2. Negative: 3 out of 28

Where To Watch

Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. Orlando Sentinel
    Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Jul 24, 2013
    100
    Unlike so many new series, Ally McBeal has a voice, a smart point of view and a promising conflict. [7 Sep 1997]
  2. Houston Chronicle
    Reviewed by: Mike McDaniel
    Jul 24, 2013
    100
    The freshest new show of this or any recent TV season. [8 Sep 1997]
  3. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    Reviewed by: John Allemang
    Jul 24, 2013
    100
    Kelley has always had the rare talent of making his TV characters seem like real human beings, with all the flaws and contradictions and insecurities that makes us mortals so mortal. In Ally McBeal, he has taken that skill to a new level, creating a smart and sometimes daring series that is unlike any other on TV. [26 Sep 1997]
  4. Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    Reviewed by: John Levesque
    Jul 24, 2013
    91
    In the wrong hands, it would be hopelessly hokey. In Kelley's hands, it's hokey and somehow meaningful, thanks mainly to his deft writing touch. [8 Sep 1997]
  5. Reviewed by: Terry Kelleher
    Jun 26, 2013
    91
    [The first episode] is packed with potential. It is fast-paced, funny, touching, romantic and surprising. Please note that we did not add "realistic."
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jun 12, 2013
    91
    The show's energetic fearlessness in depicting someone who is fearful in her loneliness gives Ally McBeal an overriding purpose. The result is irresistible television, whether you experience it as a sexual-differences safari or as a blueprint for your own life.
  7. Detroit Free Press
    Reviewed by: Mike Duffy
    Jul 24, 2013
    90
    This smart, imaginative romantic drama about a female attorney has quickly established itself as one of the most interesting new series in years. [29 Sep 1997]
  8. Chicago Sun-Times
    Reviewed by: Lon Grahnke
    Jul 24, 2013
    88
    An instantly engaging show that seamlessly delivers stimulating dramatic situations and juicy romantic comedy. [8 Sep 1997]
  9. New York Daily News
    Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Jul 24, 2013
    88
    One of the new season's best and most unusual series, with a shot at true excellence within its reach. [8 Sep 1997]
  10. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jul 24, 2013
    80
    A whimsical, cleverly conceived dramedy ... Whether 'Ally's' fantasy element can stay whimsical, without falling over into tiresome or distracting (as it did on 'Dream On'), remains to be seen. [8 Sep 1997]
  11. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Steve Johnson
    Jul 24, 2013
    80
    A delightful program. [14 Sep 1997]
  12. Denver Post
    Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jul 24, 2013
    80
    Flockhart... is a compelling presence, and the tone of the writing is both fun and thoughtful. [7 Sep 1997]
  13. Deseret News
    Reviewed by: Scott D. Pierce
    Jul 24, 2013
    80
    Even allowing that "Ally McBeal" is sort of a gimmick show, its characters still ring true; much truer than most of the characters on television. [8 Sep 1997]
  14. Variety
    Reviewed by: Ray Richmond
    Jul 24, 2013
    80
    Offbeat, engaging and smartly written ... "Ally McBeal" is the rare example of a broadcast network premiering a series that feels fresh and different, if occasionally contrived. [8 Sep 1997]
  15. Newsday
    Reviewed by: Marvin Kitman
    Jul 12, 2013
    80
    As a law show, "McBeal" is not as good as "The Practice." It has a lot of unrealistic, implausible, even surrealistic law. What it does well is show the compassionate, human side of the law profession, outside the courtroom. [9 Feb 1998]
  16. San Diego Union-Tribune
    Reviewed by: Robert P. Laurence
    Jul 24, 2013
    75
    Whether in visions of falling steel balls or in plot twists that capture the imagination without unduly stressing credulity, it's those fanciful, Kelleyish touches that make "Ally McBeal" so watchable. [8 Sep 1997]
  17. Miami Herald
    Reviewed by: Terry Jackson
    Jul 24, 2013
    75
    In the premiere episode, there are times when it is difficult to believe Ally is a top-notch lawyer, given her tentative, almost little-girl nature. Then there are scenes like her frank and catty discussion with Billy's wife... that are great fun to watch. [8 Sep 1997]
  18. Dallas Morning News
    Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jul 24, 2013
    75
    Mr. Kelley otherwise fills too much time with extraneous law cases and Ally's narrative meanderings and fantasies. ... There are sparks, though. Ms. Flockhart is an actress of considerable promise, and some of the dialogue zings home while Mr. Kelley walks his latest high wire. [7 Sep 1997]
  19. Reviewed by: Caryn James
    Jul 24, 2013
    70
    This quirky new Fox drama, with traces of wry comedy, sometimes tries so hard to be clever that it turns silly.
  20. Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Reviewed by: Tom Feran
    Jul 24, 2013
    70
    Both different and diverting, when the self-conscious style doesn't intrude on the storytelling. [8 Sep 1997]
  21. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: David Zurawik
    Jul 24, 2013
    70
    "Ally McBeal" is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it is bona fide quality TV. [8 Sep 1997]
  22. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Scott Powers
    Jul 24, 2013
    70
    Like Mary Tyler Moore and even the master, Bob Newhart, [Flockhart is] great at reacting to what happens around her. But right now, the characters around her aren't very interesting. [8 Sep 1997]
  23. The Hollywood Reporter
    Reviewed by: Irv Letofsky
    Jul 24, 2013
    70
    It's thin fantasy material that often stumbles over the line of cute, but it's snappy and cleverly fresh. [8 Sep 1997]
  24. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jul 24, 2013
    50
    Ally McBeal has the components of a potential guilty pleasure. Giddily romantic but also sassily sardonic, it merely needs to curb some of its more groaning indulgences. [8 Sep 1997]
  25. Reviewed by: James Collins
    Jul 2, 2013
    40
    Ally's self-involvement can make the viewer wince because of the writing and because she hasn't earned our sympathy--her predicaments often seem so false. ... And yet, because Flockhart really is a fine actress and the writing can rise to a higher level, the show has its winning moments.
  26. Boston Herald
    Reviewed by: Monica Collins
    Jul 24, 2013
    38
    Being allowed inside the cerebrum of Ally, I feel some sympathy for her. I like her more than I would if she were the typical TV cipher. But I don't like her enough to want to watch this flawed show about a lawyers-in-love triangle week after week. [4 Sep 1997]
  27. Reviewed by: Howard Rosenberg
    Jul 24, 2013
    30
    This is superficiality and pseudo-hipness gussied up in gloss.
  28. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Jul 24, 2013
    20
    Silly McDumb. [14 Sep 1997]

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