One commentator has claimed that Boston Legal is "just like real life". What piffle. This show is nothing more nor less than the ultimate men's fantasy. And I'm a man - I should know! Boston Legal is set in a world where you not only make sexually suggestive remarks whenever you open your mouth, you actually get away with it. In this world, none of your female co-workers score less than 9.5, and you've slept with all of them in any case! One twist is that this sexual predator supreme is split into two characters - Alan Shore and Denny Crane. Crane has his strange quirks, like saying his own name constantly as a mantra, but essentially they are the same man at different stages of life. In the early episodes it even sounded a little like Spader was unconsciously doing an impersonation of Shatner.
William Shatner's participation in this show could easily be dismissed as self parody. But in fact Denny Crane is the best character he has played in decades. Denny Crane is almost the ultimate example of the "has-been" - always remembering past triumphs whether legal or sexual - and Shatner always imbues these lines with a fully realised sense of his own varied experiences. James Spader successfully adapts his standard sexually dysfunctional persona to the character of Alan Shore, although one can't help feeling that the man all the women find so irresistible is really the slimmer and more vulnerable Spader from his younger days. That's what sells Boston Legal DVDs - that it's Spader we're seeing casting his spell, rather than that the Alan Shore we see is that attractive either physically or mentally.
As usual with David Kelley, the combination of extremely pulchritudinous people making incredibly smart conversation makes for unmissable television. But lets not hear any more about this being like "real life".