Ally McBeal The only freshman show this fall that creates its own genre — its own brave new world — is Ally McBeal . Neither comedy nor… 1997-09-08 2002-05-20 Comedy Crime Drama Calista Flockhart Jane Krakowski Lucy Liu Peter MacNichol Portia de Rossi Courtney Thorne-Smith Gil Bellows Dyan Cannon Lisa Nicole Carson Taye Diggs Greg Germann Regina Hall Josh Hopkins Josh Ryan Evans Jane Krakowski James LeGros Lucy Liu Peter MacNicol James Marsden Jesse L. Martin Julianne Nicholson Portia de Rossi Vonda Shepard Courtney Thorne-Smith Sandra Bernhard Jon Bon Jovi Lara Flynn Boyle Mariah Carey Jill Clayburgh Steven Culp Tate Donovan Robert Downey Jr. Christine Ebersole Farrah Fawcett Macy Gray Josh Groban Anne Heche Barry Humphries Kate Jackson Elton John Christine Lahti Heather Locklear Camryn Manheim Dylan McDermott Rosie O'Donnell Haley Joel Osment Matthew Perry John Ritter Antonio Sabato Jr. Boz Scaggs Rob Schneider Tony Shalhoub Anna Nicole Smith Tracey Ullman Natasha Gregson Wagner Isaiah Washington Betty White Vanessa Williams Bruce Willis Fox

TV Show Reviews: 'Ally McBeal' and 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' (1997 - 2002)

It's a testament to the abilities of Kelley that women accept his version of their inner lives. (My wife said she'd almost rather watch the show alone, as though my unseemly male presence spoils the camaraderie Ally has with her sisterhood of viewers.) So I suppose it's just the testosterone talking when I say I found it difficult to believe many women were identifying with Ally as she tearfully declaimed, ''All I wanted was to be rich and successful with three great kids and a husband waiting at the end of the day to tickle my feet — [and] I don't even like my hair!''

But you know what? Not only do these flaws not matter — they add veracity to its main character's messy, confused emotions — it all coheres; 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.

The only truly unfortunate thing about Ally is that it conflicts in this time period with another strong-female show, The WB's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Its second season has so far been fabulous — even funnier and scarier than the first. The WB is rumored to be talking about moving it to Tuesday; personally, I wish it would move to NBC and become the megahit it ought to be. Ally McBeal: A- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A-

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Originally posted Oct 10, 1997 Published in issue #400 Oct 10, 1997 Order article reprints
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