News & Comment » News

Remote Possibilities

by

by BEN KROMER & r & & r & Boston Legal & r & & r & (ABC, Wednesdays, 10pm) & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & B & lt;/span & oston Legal is another David E. Kelley lawyer show and its star, Alan Shore, is my personal sexiness trainer, my suaveness mentor. I spent most of my formative years watching TV instead of learning how to form interpersonal relationships, leaving me socially retarded in general and unable to seduce women in particular. You'd think in our sex-obsessed culture I could have picked up some tips from television, but most hook-ups on TV occur because they're in the script, and that's where Alan Shore (played by James Spader) is different. When he talks, it seems totally believable that his words, and only his words -- often sleazy and inappropriate words -- would make a woman willing to throw down right in the middle of a courtroom. Oh Alan, so puffy and average-looking and James Spader-esque, I can learn so much from you. Maybe.





Alan's other characteristic is that he's an uber-liberal, and like all liberals he aspires to the moral luminescence of To Kill A Mockingbird's Atticus Finch. Unlike most, he actually comes pretty close. "Go, Alan! You nail those bad, greedy, intolerant corporation/whatevers!," I hear myself thinking, despite myself. Starring in trials ripped straight from the headlines (done less ham-fistedly than in Law and Order) gives Alan plenty of time for heartfelt closing statements, and it helps that his opponents are buffoonish straw men, a la Inherit the Wind.





Normally I wouldn't watch something like that -- too West Wing-y -- but I want to learn, and anyway, the show has a funny-to-serious ratio of 70-to-30. That, plus Boston Legal occasionally dips into the surreal, which makes it impossible to say any part goes over the top since the show blatantly goes over into outright absurdity whenever it feels like it, particularly with William Shatner as Denny Crane. Shatner's go-to comedic device is saying his character's name over and over, and that he might have Mad Cow disease. I wish I could pinpoint why this is still funny after four seasons. Denny is Alan's Republican foil, and it's not a stretch to suggest that some of his mannerisms (Mad Cow included) may be inspired by the current president and veep. Recognized as such, those two never seemed so loveable.





Boston Legal also stars Candice Bergen and Odo from Deep Space Nine, who try to protect the firm from Alan and Denny.





TiVo-Worthy





Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade


A test: Ask some friends if they want to watch Last Crusade on TV to get pumped for the new movie. They should say either "I'm already pumped" or "Why watch it on TV when we have the trilogy on DVD?" If they say something else, they're a spy; throw them out a window. Then say, "They chose ... poorly." (Sci-Fi Channel, Saturday, May 17, 9 pm)





Indiana Jones and the Ultimate Quest


In which we will surely learn that the movies are just entertainment but that the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant are real -- or at least real-ish. (History Channel, Sunday, May 18, at 8 pm)





Mystery of the Crystal Skulls


Analysis of the myths surrounding the titular skulls, scientific commentary on their composition and coverage of a jungle expedition to Belize, all hosted by Lester Holt. The way I heard it, the mystery is that the skulls are just too amazing to have been made by the natives and so must have been dropped off by aliens. I'll reserve judgment until Indiana Jones 4 reveals all. (Sci-Fi Channel, Sunday, May 18, 9 pm)