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Old 01-24-2021, 12:55 AM   #1
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Feb 2014
Default "L.A. Law" TV series (1986-1994) on DVD

Hey everyone. I saw S01-S02 of the excellent TV series "L.A. Law" for the first time last year, on the Region 1 DVD sets. I couldn't find a thread for this series, so decided to create one.

Never saw the show much on it's original run (1986-1994) for whatever reason, However, as I've gotten older - I've made a point of seeking out, watching, & appreciating TV shows that were on (when I was a kid/young adult) that I missed the first time around. I do remember the show had a great cast & received a lot of critical acclaim - especially in the initial seasons.

However, it's unfortunate that only the first three seasons of this show were put on Region 1 DVD, even though the show ran for a total of eight seasons - very disappointing. Though the entire series is on Region 2 DVD (UK), I'm in the U.S. & don't have a Region-free DVD/Blu player.

Since the 4th-on seasons still aren't on Region 1 DVD, I suspect they'll never come out that way - or it would have happened already. Here's hoping the whole series will be put on Region 1 Blu-ray, but I won't hold my breath - LOL.

Here's the opening & closing theme song:

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OceanBlue (01-26-2021)
Old 01-24-2021, 12:57 AM   #2
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Here's my review of the L.A. Law pilot; really well-done. Just based on this one episode, I can easily see why this series got so much buzz back in the day.

The episode featured realistic/naturalistic acting, a superb cast, and compelling storyline(s). Some of my favorite sequences were:

-The trial scene when a woman dying of cancer was questioned about the details re: an assault/attack against her by three scum-bags.
[Show spoiler]Adrienne Moore (expertly portrayed by Alfre Woodward) lost control & threatened the three punks who had assaulted her, threw her in a dumpster, and left her for dead. She was then briefly jailed until she "apologized" to the court. Unfortunately realistic that the victim was being blamed here.

Also very impressed that Michael (Harry Hamlin), despite defending one of the criminals who assaulted the woman (though it was obvious he had misgivings about doing so), still showed compassion towards her in a later conversation. This culminates in a very touching/poignant final scene when Adrienne comes to Michael for comfort due to being terrified of dying from her fatal illness.


Going along with the above, very realistic that the law firm was defending one of these punks only because his father was wealthy & influential in the community - Typical. This happens IRL all the time, unfortunately.

And, despite how dramatic the show was - I liked how there was still some humor (though some of it was morbid), as a counter-point to the horrible things the lawyers had to deal with (and in some cases do) each day:

1) After the judge realizes that Michael has over $4,000 in unpaid speeding/parking tickets, she decides to briefly put him in jail - ha ha.

[Show spoiler]2) In the very beginning (pre-opening credits), the arrogant/devious lawyer Arnie (Corbin Bernsen) has gotten to the office early & the only other person there is an assistant. They both notice a foul odor coming from somewhere, and the assistant tracks this down to partner Norm Chaney, who is lying face-down on his desk (in a plate of food) in his large office. Presumably, he died of a heart attack/stroke while working alone, and has been lying there for several days; this leads up to my favorite line in the episode:

"I'm not sure, but I think he's dead" - Assistant
"If he is, I have first dibs on his office." - Arnie

Last edited by AnamorphicWidescreen; 01-26-2021 at 02:49 AM.
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for starting this thread, AW. Recently, I was considering collecting the DVD releases of L.A. Law. After doing some checking, yes, only the first few seasons were released in the States (some or all of them by Shout! Factory), with all eight seasons released in the UK by Revelation Films (I'm not sure if that label is still about, if they're no longer releasing titles).

I remember ITV showing L.A. Law in a prime-time timeslot (this was back in the day when American series were regularly shown in a prime-time timeslot, before some of them were only shown in a late-night timeslot). Sky One I think premiered the later seasons in the UK.
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AnamorphicWidescreen (01-26-2021)
Old 01-26-2021, 02:45 AM   #4
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Continuing my review of S01 of L.A. Law. I am hugely impressed by the quality of this show....this series is incredibly good. I also find it refreshingly realistic & seemingly spot-on re: it's depiction of the legal system/criminal justice system in the U.S. Though the show came out 35 years ago, a lot of these storylines/issues are as relevant today as they were at that time.

The superb casting here is one of it's many strengths - amazing. I don't recognize a lot of the main cast (other than Harry Hamlin from the original "Clash of the Titans" film and Jimmy Smits from "NYPD Blu") which probably helps re: my enjoyment of the show, since I don't have any pre-conceived ideas about most of these actors/actresses. Re: the guest stars, I've seen a lot of them in TV shows/movies over the years, but given that a lot of these people are character actors - I couldn't tell you most of their names One of the few exceptions is the incredible Karen Austin, who had guest appearances in a couple of episodes early in S01 - she was also a regular in several early episodes of the iconic comedy Night Court.

Some of the most gripping/intense episodes/storylines (so far) have included:

-When Abby's husband
[Show spoiler]skips town with their young son, she has to deal with the stress/concern re: whether or not her son is OK and/or whether she'll ever see him again, etc. At one point, she is counseling a wife who is is in the middle of an ugly divorce, and she & her husband are both using their young son as a "pawn" in the proceedings. Abby then loses it & tells them that they are both terrible people (I'm paraphrasing) & that they shouldn't use the child in this way, etc. - & storms out.

Later, the opposing lawyer tells her that it was interesting to see Abby display "morality" during the meeting, and that she would "get over it" - LOL. This is cynical, but so true


-When Arnie's parents
[Show spoiler]try to get him to "pick sides" between the two of them when his mother wants to get divorced after 40 years of marriage, Arnie is justifiably disgusted. And, he eventually tells them he will not get involved at all, and they will need to deal with it themselves. Interesting that Corbin Bernsen's (Arnie's) real-life mother (Jeanne Cooper) starred as his actual mother in this episode.


-Victor (Smits) is involved
[Show spoiler]in an extremely disturbing abuse case where a girl kills her brother (the abuser) in self defense. He then has to convince the mother to speak up about the father, who is also an abuser.


Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanBlue View Post
Thanks for starting this thread, AW. Recently, I was considering collecting the DVD releases of L.A. Law. After doing some checking, yes, only the first few seasons were released in the States (some or all of them by Shout! Factory), with all eight seasons released in the UK by Revelation Films (I'm not sure if that label is still about, if they're no longer releasing titles).
Yes, I knew that all 8 seasons of L.A. Law were released on DVD in the UK, though only the first 3 seasons were released in the U.S. (Region 1). It's puzzling what the though process is behind TV shows on DVD that get "stalled". In this case, I suspect that possibly the first three seasons on Region 1 DVD underperformed re: sales, so that's why they didn't release S04-S08?!

Going along with this, the only issue I have with the S01 L.A. Law DVD's has nothing to do with the show itself, but the presentation: The Picture Quality (PQ) is abysmal. I've seen slightly worse PQ on other TV shows on DVD from this era, but that's not saying much. The best I can say about the show is that the PQ is slightly better than a VHS rip, but that's not saying much either.

Fortunately, the PQ in the S02 DVD set is somewhat better than S01's. Still need to see S03.

Last edited by AnamorphicWidescreen; 01-26-2021 at 06:36 PM.
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OceanBlue (01-26-2021)
Old 01-26-2021, 02:53 AM   #5
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Continuing my review of S01: As with many good dramas, I like how they also include comedic elements as good counter-points to the serious story-lines that take up most of the show:

-Michael pursues Deputy D.A. Grace (Gracie) Van Owen because he feels he has a chance with her, despite her plans to get married to someone else.
[Show spoiler]Michael also correctly feels that Gracie isn't into the guy, and is only planning to marry him because he can help further her professional career. This culminates when he "crashes" her small wedding (at the courthouse) on Halloween, wearing a gorilla suit so people won't know who he is - other than Gracie herself. She then leaves with him, and soon after a picture is taken of them on the courthouse steps; she is in her wedding dress & is standing next to him, making it look like she literally just married a gorilla. Hilarious


-The law firm is trying to figure out who to hire next, and they have several candidates - but can only hire one new person.
[Show spoiler]One of them is extremely qualified with a lot of great credentials, and another is poorly qualified with little or no credentials. However, Arnie wants to hire the poorly qualified candidate only because he's extremely tall (over 6 feet) & played basketball @ college - so he can be beneficial to the firm by playing on their company basketball team against an opposing law firm - ha ha. Funny, but not surprising - I'm sure people have been hired @ companies for reasons other than their professional qualifications

Last edited by AnamorphicWidescreen; 01-26-2021 at 04:58 PM.
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OceanBlue (01-26-2021)
Old 01-30-2021, 02:54 PM   #6
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More S01 storyline/episode reviews....Wow! I can't say enough great things about this show:

-One of the most powerful & disturbing storylines (so far) is the one focusing on Sid Hershberg, a defense lawyer. One of his first scenes is amusing, given that he loses it during a hearing & literally punches out his client because he can't stand that fact that he has to defend criminals who are obviously guilty & lie all the time to avoid responsibility for their actions. However, subsequent scenes are much more serious, and show that the character is quickly going downhill. He eventually ends up in a mental hospital for a brief time. The one person that Sid feels he can talk to is Michael Kuzac; though, unfortunately Mike can't help him.

[Show spoiler]Sid's storyline sadly culminates when he kills himself in the courtroom while defending a client, in front of Mike & many others. The saddest part about this is that Hershberg did not seem like a scum-bag, immoral lawyer who was only in it for the money. And, the irony here is that if he had been that type of person (like Arnie Becker, for example) he probably wouldn't have let his cases get to him - at least not as much as they obviously did.

Kudos to the writers/producers of the show to have the guts to depict a horrific (and I suspect realistic) storyline like this on '80's network TV.
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