Ken Tucker
November 13, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Boston Public

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
Jessalyn Gilsig, Chi McBride, Jon Abrahams, Kathy Baker, Loretta Devine, Fyvush Finkel, Anthony Heald, Rashida Jones, Nicky Katt, Joey McIntyre, Michael Rapaport, Jeri Ryan

We gave it a B-

Boston Public, creator writer David E. Kelley’s new workplace/ family series about a batch of put upon Boston schoolteachers, uses Kelley’s patented method of keeping audiences awake by goosing them with exaggerated emergencies. In the classrooms of Winslow High, a teacher shoots a gun to get his sullen students’ attention; a student reporter uses her computer skills to create obscene cartoons about the faculty, and girls doff their bras to protest… oh, Kelley doesn’t care what they’re protesting, so long as he gets a little jiggle in there and works in a little moral uplift as well.

He provides Chi McBride’s long suffering principal (the best character in a generally very well acted show) with convincing speeches about the nobility of teaching. ”Boston Public” is better in these quieter moments, when we see the teachers’ struggles to overcome the deadening mental effects on kids of too little parental supervision and a popular culture that tells young people it’s hip to be tough, not intellectual.

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