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  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 8, 1997
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Ally McBeal Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 4 Critics What's this?

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  • Starring: Peter MacNicol, Lisa Nicole Carson, Calista Flockhart
  • Summary: FOX's hit dramatic and humorous show tells the story of the trials and tribulations of a 28-year-old lawyer by the name of Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart), who is just fresh out of Harvard Law School. Ally was harassed at the firm where she was originally working, and when she told the firm's partners, she ended up losing her job. However, she then runs into an old friend and he offers her a new job at his brand new firm where she meets tons of new people and her old boyfriend, Billy with who she'll lead her new life full of cases and Ally's fantasies.Once the darling of the network, rumors of anorexia plagued star Calista Flockhart. The second and third seasons, therefore, introduced more and more eccentric characters who were given essentially "nothing" to do, and original seriesa regulars Gil Bellows and Courtney Thorne-Smith both left to pursue other projects.Ally McBeal was revitalized in its fourth season with the addition of Robert Downey Jr. as the lead character's love interest, Larry Paul. However, Downey's personal problems and numerous arrests, eventually wore out Kelley's patience and he was dropped. Lisa Nicole Carson, who played Ally's roommate, also left at the end of the fourth season following a brief stint in an institution and admitted problems with substance abuse.Without Downey, the fifth season had floundered more than ever; bringing in Jon Bon Jovi as a love interest, and giving Ally a daughter played by Hayden Panettiere) hadn't helped. Lucy Liu's character was dropped to a recurring role, while James LeGros left. James Marsden and Julianne Nicholson were added to the cast, only to be dropped a few weeks later. David E. Kelley decided then to cancel the show instead of having FOX executives do it for him.Awards/Nominations:EMMY AWARDS:> 1998 - Nominated - Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series [David E. Kelley; for episode "Theme Of Life"] > 1998 - Nominated - Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Series [Tom Moore; for episode "Cro-Magnon"] > 1998 - Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series [Calista Flockhart] > 1998 - Nominated - Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series [Allan Arkush; for episode "Cro-Magnon"] > 1998 - Nominated - Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series [James Frawley; for episode 1] > 1998 - Nominated - Outstanding Costuming for a Series [for episode "Cro-magnon"] > 1998 - Nominated - Outstanding Comedy Series > 1998 - Nominated - Outstanding Casting for a Series > 1998 - Nominated - Outstanding Art Direction for a Series (for episode "Boy to the World") > 1998 - Won! - Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special (for episode "Boy to the World") > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series [David E. Kelley; for episode "Sideshow"] > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series [Lucy Liu] > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series [Peter MacNicol] > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Series [Philip Carr Neel] > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series [Calista Flockhart] > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series [John Ritter; for episodes "George Madison"; "It's My Party" & "Story of Love"] > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series [Arlene Sanford; for episode "Those Lips, That Hand"] > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Costume Design for a Series [Rachael Stanley; for episode "Making Spirits Bright"] > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Casting for a Series > 1999 - Nominated - Outstanding Art Direction for a Series [for episode "Making Spirits Bright"] > 1999 - Won! - Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series [Tracey Ullman; for episodes "Tracy Clark" & "Sideshow"] > 1999 - Won! - Outstanding Comedy Series > 1999 - Won! - Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special [for episode "Love's Illusion"] > 2000 - Nominated - Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series [Bill D'Elia; for episode "Ally McBeal: The Musical"] > 2000 - Nominated - Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series [Peter Macnicol] > 2000 - Won! - Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special [for episode "Car Wash"] > 2001 - Nominated - Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series [Robert Downey Jr.] > 2001 - Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series [Calista Flockhart] > 2001 - Nominated - Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series [Bernadette Peters; for episode "Cassandra Lewis"] > 2001 - Nominated - Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series [jami gertz; for episode "Kimmy Bishop"] > 2001 - Nominated - Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series [Billy Dickinson; for episode "Cloudy Skies, Chance Of Parade"] > 2001 - Won! - Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series [Peter MacNicol] > 2001 - Won! - Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series > 2002 - Nominated - Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series [Billy Dickinson; for episode "Reality Bites"]GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS:> 1998 - Won! - Best TV-Series - Comedy/Musical > 1998 - Won! - Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical [Calista Flockhart] > 1999 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical [Calista Flockhart] > 1999 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture [jane Krakowski] > 1999 - Won! - Best TV-Series - Comedy/Musical > 2000 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical [Calista Flockhart] > 2000 - Nominated - Best TV-Series - Comedy/Musical > 2001 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical [Calista Flockhart] > 2001 - Nominated - Best TV-Series - Comedy/Musical > 2000 - Won! - Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV [Robert Downey Jr.] > 2002 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy [Calista Flockhart] > 2002 - Nominated - Best Television Series - Musical or ComedyTheme Song: "Searching My Soul" by Vonda ShepardFOX Broadcast History September 1997 - May 2002 -- Mondays 9:00 PM Collapse
  • Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Reviewed by: Eric Mink
    Jul 24, 2013
    100
    The question, of course, is whether the show can sustain its heat and, more importantly, its unique character and remarkable quality in its sophomore season. Tonight's season premiere suggests the answer is yes. [14 Sep 1998]
  2. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Jul 24, 2013
    80
    The bottom line is that "Ally McBeal" features wonderfully provocative scripts that are as clever as they are wise; supporting actors who are the definitive opposite of stock; and a carefully struck tone that balances the fantastic, the romantic, the sardonic, and the sincere. It is a uniquely imagined TV series that, with producer/writer David E. Kelley as the engine behind it, goes further than ever seemed possible. [14 Sep 1998]
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Johnson
    Jul 24, 2013
    80
    Pungent, sophisticated comedy. [14 Sep 1998]
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jun 12, 2013
    42
    In its present, second season, McBeal has turned into the sort of squirmy embarrassment its detractors said it was all along and those of us who found it an amusing divertissement always hoped it would never become.
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