Boston Legal : Season 1

  • Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 3, 2004
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22

Critic Reviews

  1. Boston Herald
    Reviewed by: Sarah Rodman
    Jul 23, 2013
    Even if you weren't in the practice of watching ABC's 'The Practice,' you might find its spinoff, 'Boston Legal,' habit-forming. [3 Oct 2004]
  2. New York Post
    Reviewed by: Adam Buckman
    Jul 23, 2013
    No pair of actors on any other show, new or old, on any network is as pleasurable to behold as these two. [1 Oct 2004]
  3. San Diego Union-Tribune
    Reviewed by: Robert P. Laurence
    Jul 23, 2013
    As was "Ally," "Legal" is rated "Q" for quirky. Wacky characters abound, clients look askance at the goings-on, usually with good reason. One lawyer appears in coat, tie, shirt, and nothing else. [2 Oct 2004]
  4. New York Daily News
    Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Jul 23, 2013
    It's all charming, with the crackle of Kelley at his best. [1 Oct 2004]
  5. Detroit Free Press
    Reviewed by: Mike Duffy
    Jul 23, 2013
    [James Spader's] raffishly amoral Shore is the most enjoyable thing to happen to courtroom drama in years. [1 Oct 2004]
  6. Newsday
    Reviewed by: Noel Holston
    Jul 23, 2013
    Shatner has never been funnier - on purpose or inadvertently. [1 Oct 2004]
  7. Orlando Sentinel
    Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Jul 23, 2013
    Boston Legal represents a vast improvement over the final season of The Practice. [1 Oct 2004]
  8. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jul 23, 2013
    Whatever one thought of Practice last season, Boston Legal is a separate show -- and it should be viewed with a clean slate. Taken on its own purposely outrageous terms, Boston succeeds as a decent legal comedy led by two broadly amusing characters. [1 Oct 2004]
  9. Reviewed by: Terry Kelleher
    Jun 28, 2013
    Shatner has a ball playing a paragon of inappropriate behavior and lends the egocentric character a surprising touch of poignancy in his rare moments of introspection. But it's going to be tricky finding the right balance between Shore and Crane while allowing each to stay in touch with his inner devil.
  10. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Jul 23, 2013
    It may be a case of going too far but in such a crazy-daisy way that it can't help but be entertaining. [2 Oct 2004]
  11. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jul 23, 2013
    There is no mistaking "Boston Legal" for anything other than a Kelley office drama. The show and its characters have all the trademark tics that have become his calling card: Quirky cases, outrageous characters, legal arguments as sermons on the mount. Everything is just a little bit heightened, at least when it's not completely over the top; caricatures too often sub for characters. [1 Oct 2004]
  12. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jul 23, 2013
    Provocative, hammy, absurd, and irresistible—so far. ... [But] Boston Legal would do well to limit the narrative hocus-pocus and concentrate on its strength—the chemistry between the two fine main actors.
  13. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Jul 23, 2013
    The cases on "Boston Legal" will inevitably become ridiculous; that's the trend in Kelley's shows, as he pushes the envelope beyond reason. But the show's regular cast has great promise. [2 Oct 2004]
  14. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Jul 23, 2013
    Oddly entertaining. ... If you're a fan of Spader's ability to make creepy characters watchable, if not likable, then this solid hour is worth your time. [2 Oct 2004]
  15. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jul 23, 2013
    The comedy offsets (and benefits from) both Spader's innate creepiness and Shatner's innate hamminess, and it is where producer David E. Kelley's own talents lie.
  16. Reviewed by: Gillian Flynn
    Jun 17, 2013
    If [James Spader's] Shore seems a bit off, the show's tone is even more so. ... Despite these weaknesses, there's hope.
  17. Variety
    Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jul 23, 2013
    "Boston Legal" suffers from the pervasive feeling of been here, seen this. The show's closer to "Ally McBeal" than "The Practice," which provided the Petri dish to nurture and grow it. Kelley's fertile mind still disgorges occasional gems, but for the most part here, he's delivered more rhinestones than diamonds. [1 Oct 2004]
  18. Chicago Sun-Times
    Reviewed by: Phil Rosenthal
    Jul 23, 2013
    It's disappointing because there was genuine promise here. Spader and Shatner each won Emmys for their work on "The Practice" last season. They're great together as soulless soulmates, partners in slime. ... Unfortunately, they take a back seat to over-the-top stories that -- like hearing "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie" over and over -- begin to grate in short order. [1 Oct 2004]
  19. Dallas Morning News
    Reviewed by: Manuel Mendoza
    Jul 23, 2013
    Its first cases ... play out cheaply as setups for one-liners, only a few of which land squarely. [3 Oct 2004]
  20. Newark Star-Ledger
    Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Jul 23, 2013
    Unfortunately, too much of the show is taken up by the usual Kelley stupidity. [1 Oct 2004]
  21. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jul 23, 2013
    This series is a window into Mr. Kelley's soul that is best left closed; the writer who was so nuanced at creating balanced and original women on serious dramas like "The Practice," "Chicago Hope" and "Picket Fences" has far more bizarre, prurient tastes when it comes to women's comedy.
  22. Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    Reviewed by: Melanie McFarland
    Jul 23, 2013
    The most unfortunate victims of Kelley's sad attempt at recapturing the funky fun of his past and mixing in what gravitas he can scrounge up are two otherwise fine characters, Spader's impishly amoral Alan Shore and Shatner's extroverted nut case Denny Crane. [2 Oct 2004]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Nov 26, 2010
    A fun introduction to our lively cast of lawyers. There is something about the chemisty of the actors that really draws you in. A littleA fun introduction to our lively cast of lawyers. There is something about the chemisty of the actors that really draws you in. A little flighty, but always entertaining. A good watch, especially when you are in an ethical mood, Al Shore's speeches are pretty awesome. Full Review »
  2. Jul 24, 2015
    This either delights or annoys. For me it annoyed. To be honest, I am not a lover of courtroom drama; however, as this was billed a darkThis either delights or annoys. For me it annoyed. To be honest, I am not a lover of courtroom drama; however, as this was billed a dark comedy and starred James Spader, I thought I'd give it a go. First the positive: both Spader and William Shatner are brilliant - they play their roles beautifully. Both have screen presence and fill their scenes with their charisma. Unfortunately, the characters they play so well are just too annoying. Spader plays a smarmy wisecracking know-it-all, gleefully gurning at all before him. Shatner playing a buffoon who we are constantly reminded never lost a court case - also a smarmy wisecracking know-it-all. Plot-wise let me again start with the positive: the ethical conundrums that unfold in the court cases and clients they take on, are inventive and cleverly thought-out. Unfortunately, it falls into the unbelievable far too often. The mistake the plot writers make is insisting the aforementioned pair never lose. So it becomes a tired cycle where the opponents change each week, but the result is the same - more smarmy self-satisfied back-slapping for the perennial victors Alan Shore (Spader) & Denny Crane (Shatner). What are they victorious in ? Whatever - court cases, office politics, personal disagreements, relationship issues. The result of this insistence on Omni-victory means the plot writers have to produce increasingly ridiculous twists to perpetuate it. Easily half of the cases Shore (Spader) is involved in, would never go in his favour; many of the stunts he pulls would never actually happen. Wholly against the will of the Judges he brings into the courtroom loud-mouthed political activists of dubious character, camera crews and even on occasion: Judges' own mothers! The result: the Judges crumble before the all-conquering one ! Hoorah ! --
    Sorry, no, no, no - that is rubbish television: annoying, grinning, wise-cracking, ever-triumphant characters, repeatedly annoying, grinning, wise-cracking, ever-triumphant rolling over and over again. I just couldn't take anymore of it !
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 3, 2014
    THE BEST SHOW AND ACTING I HAVE EVER WATCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!If we look at the acting of James Spader as Alan Shore,itTHE BEST SHOW AND ACTING I HAVE EVER WATCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!If we look at the acting of James Spader as Alan Shore,it was remarkable,truly impeccable, seeing that lovely ending i was forced to give it 10/10,on the other hand,Denny crane's character was interesting and it was well performed by William Shatner,the small characters like Jerry,Shirley,Katie and Carl also added the fun to the party,I LOVED IT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Full Review »