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Sunday, 13 January 2008 00:00

Boston Legal's Back!

Shatner's back on LIVINGtv for a fourth season of legal fun ...

 

The fourth series of the smash-hit US legal drama from the multi-award-winning maestro of legal drama David E Kelley (Ally McBeal, LA Law) comes back exclusively to LIVING on Thursday 31 January at 10.00pm.

Set in the morally dubious world of high-priced litigation at a Boston law firm, the show has garnered both critical acclaim and major awards. Both its leading men, James Spader and William Shatner, have won Emmy Awards for their roles, while Shatner has also been honoured with a Golden Globe. This series also sees Hollywood actress Saffron Burrows ("Enigma", "Troy") join the cast.

Fast-paced and darkly comic, Boston Legal follows the personal and professional lives of the litigators at Crane, Poole and Schmidt. Five times Emmy-winner Candice Bergen plays Shirley Schmidt, the firm’s founding partner who continually tries to bring order to the chaotic office.

Other members of the practice include Jerry ‘Hands’ Espenson (Christian Clemenson - a guest star who has now become a series regular), a lawyer with Asperger’s Syndrome, and Clarence Bell (Gary Anthony Williams), an attorney whose feelings of inadequacy cripple him to such an extent he often switches between personalities, meaning he is also known as Clarice, Clevant and Oprah.

In a captivating series premiere, Shirley asks Alan Shore (Spader) to represent her when she is sued after withdrawing her donation to a university. Alan is happy to help, but is distracted when he discovers that the opposing council is one of his ex-girlfriends (Burrows). Also, Denny Crane (Shatner) is arrested for soliciting a prostitute, and no-nonsense attorney Carl Sack (John Larroquette) joins the team. Sack immediately puts Clarence’s nose out of joint when he berates him after uncovering a video of ‘Clarice’ performing at a local dance competition.

Also joining the cast is Tara Summers as Katie Lloyd, a 'freshman' lawyer who immediately finds herself defending a murder suspect who doesn't want to be defended. Born in London, Tara trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, guest-starred on a trio of episodes of Dirt, and was also seen in the movies "Wha A Girl Wants", "Factory Girl" and "Rabbit Fever".

The show was originally going to be called The Practice: Fleet Street, as it was designed as a civil law spin-off from that series (another of the David E Kelly stable, which also includes Doogie Howser MD, Picket Fences, and Chicago Hope).

An accomplished actor, James Spader appeared alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal in the critically-acclaimed film, "Secretary" which won the 2002 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Originality. Spader also starred in "Speaking of Sex", "Supernova", "Slow Burn", "Critical Care" and "Crash".

The characters of both Shore and Crane originally made their debut in The Practice. Brad Chase (Mark Valley - previous the lead in Keen Eddie) has left the show this season. Mark Valley's career began when he was discovered by an agent in Berlin, and his first role was working in John Schlesinger's "The Innocent", which starred Anthony Hopkins and was filmed in Germany. Mark made an impact on television viewers with his lead role in Pasadena, as well as in recurring roles on ER and Once and Again, plusguest spots on CSI, The Lone Gunmen and Gideon's Crossing. He also featured in the long-running daytime drama Days of Our Lives.

Rene Auberjonois (Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) who was Paul Lewiston, has also left the regular roster of the series, along with Julie Bowen (who played Denise Bauer) and Constance Zimmer (Claire Simms). The show already has a reputation of regularly freshening up the line-up of its less quirky characters each season.

 

Posted in Latest
Friday, 22 February 2008 08:07

Star Trek (The Original Series)

Opening the final frontier ...

 

USA - 1966-69 - 79 episodes (60 mins) - colour

One of the most successful concepts in television history, spawning a franchise that is still alive today with a new big screen movie in pre-production, this is the biggest American Cult TV series of them all.

Devised by Gene Roddenberry, a former LAPD officer and veteran scriptwriter of shows like Dragnet and Naked City while off duty, the pilot episode "The Cage" was rejected by network executives who deemed it too cerebral for the average viewer, and consequently unbroadcastable. Unprecedented at the time, the show was given another chance and, after extensive recasting, a second pilot was filmed, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" with the requisite dose of action added.

Charting the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise, seeking out new life and new civilizations in the high frontier of outer space, Star Trek used science fiction properly, as a commentary on contemporary social issues and society's ills and gains. Amongst the action and adventure, many of the new worlds discovered in the wide range of thought-provoking stories were skewed reflections of our own world. That said, the triumvirate of charismatic Captain James T Kirk, inspired by C S Forester's Captain Horatio Hornblower, the loyal and coldly logical Vulcan First Officer, Mister Spock, and cantankerous Chief medical Officer Leonard 'Bones' McCoy, supported by their mixed gender, multi-racial crew, never lost touch with the human experience that became central to Star Trek's ongoing identity.


REGULAR CAST
William Shatner as James T Kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Spock
DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy
James Doohan as Montgomery Scott
Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura
George Takei as Hikaru Sulu
Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel
Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand

 

Posted in Series Formats
Friday, 22 February 2008 07:45

For The People

William Shatner fighting for law and order ...

 

US - 1965 - 13 episodes (60 mins) - B&W

Having followed his first television appearance in the 1956 Goodyear Television Playhouse episode All Summer Long with numerous guest roles, including The Twilight Zone episode Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, For the People brought William Shatner his first starring vehicle, prior to taking the role of James T. Kirk in Star Trek.

Created by producer Herbert Brodkin, the series evolved from the legal drama The Defenders starring E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed as father and son lawyers, which had started life as a two-part Studio One drama in 1957 with Shatner in the role of the younger Kenneth Preston opposite Ralph Bellamy.

As a no-nonsense New York Assistant District Attorney, Shatner's David Koster finds himself up against not just the criminal underclass but also his superiors who found his single-minded dedication for justice abrasive. Only his immediate boss, Bureau Chief Anthony Celese, played by Howard Da Silva who was returning to regular work after being blacklisted in the 1950s, admires Koster’s zeal and offers sage advice, while Lonny Chapma'’s Detective Malloy helps seek out the criminals to prosecute. In private Koster's life was just as tumultuous, married to a string-quartet viola player whose priorities often conflicted with his own.

Although short lived, the series employed one of the first story-line cross-overs between different series as an episode of Brodkin's The Nurses, which followed the lives of two nurses working in a large New York hospital, concluded five days later in the fourth episode of For the People. Several episodes have recently turned up at Festivals around the world.

 

REGULAR CAST
William Shatner as David Koster
Howard Da Silva as Anthony Celese
Lonny Chapman as Frank Malloy
Jessica Walter as Phyllis Koster

 

 

Posted in Series Formats
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