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Hey everyone. I’m on the verge of starting to watch L.A. Law on the S01 DVD set for the very first time. 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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bmasters9

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Hey everyone. I'm on the verge of starting to watch L.A. Law on the S01 DVD set for the very first time. Never saw the show much on it's original run (1986-1994) for whatever reason, but - 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:

One of the best things about L.A. Law was its innovative title sequence, w/the year of a season's end on a license plate attached to a Jaguar (later a Bentley); the first season had the premiere year ('86) and the ending year ('87) on two license plates, but every year thereafter had the ending year of each season.

Here's an example thereto, from the second go (1987-88):

lalaw1988.jpg
 

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The first five seasons are the best. Several original cast members left after season 5, and so did showrunner David Kelley, later of “The Practice” and “Ally McBeal” fame. Kelley took over the show in season 4 after Steven Bochco stepped back, and his two seasons are arguably the best of the series.

The first half of season 6, with new showrunner Patricia Green, was a disappointment from both a creative and a ratings standpoint. Green was fired halfway through the season and Bochco came back to run the second half of the season. It recovered temporarily.

Then, Bochco hired “St. Elsewhere” vets John Masius and John Tinker to run season seven, and those episodes were simply a disaster. Tonally, the show was all wrong and the audience tuned out in droves. The show shut down production and they brought back William Finkelstein, one of the writers from the early seasons, to run the show. He lasted for the rest of the series and also wrote the 2002 reunion movie. Creatively it was an improvement, but it never reached the same heights again. The audience didn’t return either.

The later seasons are still worth watching, but keep in mind that you’ll struggle to get through the first half of both seasons 6 and 7.
 
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I remember my parents watched this show — I was not allowed to stay up that late back then — but they quit watching by the end. I had no idea they hired two of the producers of St. Elsewhere for it at a shark-jump or aftermath thereof; all I remember was TV Guide trying to tie the 1992-1993 season premiere into Simpsons-mania somehow. They were indifferent to the hoopla over the finale.

Regardless of the intended audience or critical reception, I'm surprised the shows 20th Century Fox actually produced that Shout! released seemed not to do as well sales-wise as the shows they inherited from MTM and other companies. At least in this case, England picked up the slack. TV fans owe European releasing companies a huge debt of gratitude for the times they succeded where we Americans failed with our own shows!
 

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LA Law, like St. Elsewhere are two shows I would absolutely buy on a 'day one' purchase if complete series were ever released - especially on Blu-ray. LA Law, in its current DVD incarnation is a travesty of video mastering - using old tape masters, instead of going back to the film stock on which it was originally shot and doing new hi-def transfers.

LA Law was shot of film but finished on tape. It wouldn't take all that much money to remaster the credits from original elements and do a recomposite to obliterate the horrendous chroma bleeding that currently afflicts the 'tape' master. Honestly, no point to any of this.

St. Elsewhere's dearth is just due to plain vanilla short-sightedness - Fox, having refused to reexamine its MTM assets. The show billed by critics as "television's finest hour" is nowhere to be seen on home video - for shame!!!
 
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LA Law, like St. Elsewhere are two shows I would absolutely buy on a 'day one' purchase if complete series were ever released - especially on Blu-ray. LA Law, in its current DVD incarnation is a travesty of video mastering - using old tape masters, instead of going back to the film stock on which it was originally shot and doing new hi-def transfers.

LA Law was shot of film but finished on tape. It wouldn't take all that much money to remaster the credits from original elements and do a recomposite to obliterate the horrendous chroma bleeding that currently afflicts the 'tape' master. Honestly, no point to any of this.

St. Elsewhere's dearth is just due to plain vanilla short-sightedness - Fox, having refused to reexamine its MTM assets. The show billed by critics as "television's finest hour" is nowhere to be seen on home video - for shame!!!
Well, that was Fox. We don't know what Disney might do. They do seem to take care of their stuff, so there's always hope.
 

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Well, that was Fox. We don't know what Disney might do. They do seem to take care of their stuff, so there's always hope.
Disney Inc. is even more notorious than Fox. At least Fox was willing to farm out product they deemed 'less than' to third-party distributors like TT, Kino and Criterion to release stuff for them. The Mouse House is so damn territorial and into hoarding their legacy I can't see them opening the floodgates on Fox product. I mean, it's 2020 and the best they can do for such classics as The Parent Trap and Swiss Family Robinson is bare bones hi-def exclusive Blu-rays, minus all the extra features already created for the DVD releases.

No complete Micky Mouse cartoon in hi-def, or Donald Duck, Pluto, Silly Symphonies. No, Happiest Millionaire, Shaggy Dog, North Ave. Irregulars, etc. We won't even talk about not releasing the complete Bedknobs and Broomsticks to Blu, or ever seeing Song of the South in hi-def. And you have hopes for St. Elsewhere and L.A. Law complete series in hi-def. Oh, Obsolete Man, great is thy faith! Sorry, I'm a cynic, cribbing from a history of delays that show no signs of improvement unless the Mouse House has a serious shakeup in upper management. Right now, they're treading water like a duck with one broken wing.
 
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Disney Inc. is even more notorious than Fox. At least Fox was willing to farm out product they deemed 'less than' to third-party distributors like TT, Kino and Criterion to release stuff for them. The Mouse House is so damn territorial and into hoarding their legacy I can't see them opening the floodgates on Fox product. I mean, it's 2020 and the best they can do for such classics as The Parent Trap and Swiss Family Robinson is bare bones hi-def exclusive Blu-rays, minus all the extra features already created for the DVD releases.

No complete Micky Mouse cartoon in hi-def, or Donald Duck, Pluto, Silly Symphonies. No, Happiest Millionaire, Shaggy Dog, North Ave. Irregulars, etc. We won't even talk about not releasing the complete Bedknobs and Broomsticks to Blu, or ever seeing Song of the South in hi-def. And you have hopes for St. Elsewhere and L.A. Law complete series in hi-def. Oh, Obsolete Man, great is thy faith! Sorry, I'm a cynic, cribbing from a history of delays that show no signs of improvement unless the Mouse House has a serious shakeup in upper management. Right now, they're treading water like a duck with one broken wing.
Oh, no, I just figure they'll take better care of the stuff they own, catalog it thoroughly, perhaps even clean it up with an eye toward putting it on one of their streaming services one day.

I have no hope at all for discs any longer. Disney don't play that.
 

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I just hope the negatives survived so they actually can rebuild it in HD. Anything shot in 35mm should theoretically be able to even get a 4k out of, but that's asking for the moon. Still, the same people who gave Fraggle Rock a new lease on life in HD claim to be able to do it with just plain old tape if it comes down to that. With the remasters of Buffy and X-Files, IIRC they had to resort to tape for some shots because they couldn't find matching negatives or even passable outtakes on film. Why is it that only sci-fi and fantasy seem to get that kind of treatment, rarely sitcoms or dramas?

Disney Inc. is even more notorious than Fox. At least Fox was willing to farm out product they deemed 'less than' to third-party distributors like TT, Kino and Criterion to release stuff for them. The Mouse House is so damn territorial and into hoarding their legacy I can't see them opening the floodgates on Fox product. I mean, it's 2020 and the best they can do for such classics as The Parent Trap and Swiss Family Robinson is bare bones hi-def exclusive Blu-rays, minus all the extra features already created for the DVD releases.

No complete Micky Mouse cartoon in hi-def, or Donald Duck, Pluto, Silly Symphonies. No, Happiest Millionaire, Shaggy Dog, North Ave. Irregulars, etc. We won't even talk about not releasing the complete Bedknobs and Broomsticks to Blu, or ever seeing Song of the South in hi-def. And you have hopes for St. Elsewhere and L.A. Law complete series in hi-def. Oh, Obsolete Man, great is thy faith! Sorry, I'm a cynic, cribbing from a history of delays that show no signs of improvement unless the Mouse House has a serious shakeup in upper management. Right now, they're treading water like a duck with one broken wing.
Other than the fact that if you have lots of disposable income, you can still watch Song of the South in a format better than HD if you can find a working 35mm projector, a print, and a competent, trained projectionist, I agree with you, but you're preaching to the choir. But Disney seems to have an ambivalent attitude about its own past, not just because social mores and laws have changed since Walt's time — they changed during it! — but because the upper management hired from the outside since the 1980s resents being in his shadow.

St. Elsewhere has changed owners more times than L.A. Law. The latter show premiered right after Rupert Murdoch took over Fox, and the Disney buyout is the only changing of hands since then.
 

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Great memories & info. on L.A. Law, everyone. I knew I was posting in the right place regarding the show! Some comments:

-I completely agree that regular DVD's of some TV series from the '80's/'90's can definitely have crummy PQ - disappointing, when it shouldn't have taken that much more effort to make them look halfway decent. I always find it off-putting when I watch some TV shows from the '70's (on DVD) that look a hell of a lot better than some '80's-on shows on DVD. As has been mentioned, IIRC the reasons for this are that many of these later shows were filmed, but edited/finished?! on tape. The PQ in S01-S02 of Perfect Strangers & S01-S02 of Frasier are especially poor on the DVD's - and those are just some of many examples.

-Again, very disappointing that Seasons 4-on of L.A. Law are not available in Region 1 DVD. It almost turns me off to watching the series at all, but on the flip side at least I can see the first three seasons. I have 0 interest in investing in a Region-free DVD/Blu player, so have no way to watch the later seasons - unless I can find them somewhere via streaming, and streaming is not my preferred way to watch media.

-Going along with a previous comment, even if the later seasons of the show aren't as good as the earlier ones - I want to see every episode of every season. If I'm going to invest time in watching a show, I want to watch the entire series - warts & all. For example, I saw Cheers from 2018-2019 & though not every season was strong - I still think each season/episode were worth seeing at least once.
 
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-I completely agree that regular DVD's of some TV series from the '80's can definitely have crummy PQ - disappointing, when it shouldn't have taken that much more effort to make them look halfway decent. I always find it off-putting when I watch some TV shows from the '70's (on DVD) that look a hell of a lot better than some later '80's shows on DVD. As has been mentioned, IIRC the reasons for this are that many of these '80's shows were filmed, but edited/finished?! on tape.
Some of the late 1980s and beyond shows shot on film and edited on tape are getting remastered, and the samples I saw looked pretty darn good. MacGyver was a revelation, but that was Paramount. They spend money to remaster shows but not to clear music for them.
 

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Depending on what DVD player you have, it takes all of around 30 seconds to punch in a hack code to make the player region free.
 
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Depending on what DVD player you have, it takes all of around 30 seconds to punch in a hack code to make the player region free.
They're getting a bit harder to find. New Philips players are just the name stuck onto a generic player and don't have the code option any longer. And Philips was the reliable one where you could punch in a code.
 

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-Going along with a previous comment, even if the later seasons of the show aren't as good as the earlier ones - I want to see every episode of every season. If I'm going to invest time in watching a show, I want to watch the entire series - warts & all.
That thought process was very much in play for me w/The Streets of San Francisco when it came to the Richard Hatch season (fifth and final one), in that albeit the Malden/Douglas years (first four, 1972-76) were more fondly remembered, Richard's season (1976-77) did have several fine outings ("Hot Dog," "Let's Pretend We're Strangers," etc.), and of course, Karl was there to keep it worth seeing as Lt. Stone.
 

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Didn't I read on a thread about another Fox acquisition that it stalled not because of sales but because the licensing fees went up?

Depending on what DVD player you have, it takes all of around 30 seconds to punch in a hack code to make the player region free.
That may be true, but there's still the nasty old PAL speed-up to deal with. The trade-off is slightly higher resolution.
 
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Thanks again for everyone's responses re: L.A. Law; when I logged on this morning, I saw that this thread made the title page of the site - very cool. Nice to be bringing up & discussing a show that had been off most people's radar for many years.

One of the best things about L.A. Law was its innovative title sequence, w/the year of a season's end on a license plate attached to a Jaguar (later a Bentley); the first season had the premiere year ('86) and the ending year ('87) on two license plates, but every year thereafter had the ending year of each season.
Good to know - I'll have to look for this. This actually brings back memories of growing up on the East Coast back in the '80's & early-mid '90's, I remember that at that time, cars were required to have the registration stickers (with the relevant year) stuck on the back of the car, on the license plate - as in the pics. you posted from the show. However, the inherent problem here was that the stickers were subject to possible vandalism/theft & the elements - i.e., they could potentially come off, fall off, etc.

So, when I moved to another part of the country back in the mid-'90's, the requirement was different & the registration sticker was instead placed in the inner front window of the car - which was a much better system. I.e., this way the sticker, though still visible, was safe from anyone trying to remove it (unless they broke in the car), and also safe from deterioration due to rain/snow/ice/etc.
 
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Didn't I read on a thread about another Fox acquisition that it stalled not because of sales but because the licensing fees went up?



That may be true, but there's still the nasty old PAL speed-up to deal with. The trade-off is slightly higher resolution.
Well, the choice is to not live with the PAL speed-up and live without the show. Or, if you recorded the show in its original run on NBC, transfer your tapes.
In my decades of collecting, which includes trading for shows in many different forms, recording them from stations which cut, etc., its always better to take what you have available to you at the time and then worry about upgrading the quality later.
 

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Well, I would have taped it except that I was three when I premiered and my parents wouldn't let me stay up that late. Even with a VCR, they had little interest in taping what few shows they watched. So most of what we actually taped were cartoons and movies. Feeding me took precedence. And also, my Dad was still doing his residency, which involved lots of late hours. I also recall the cost of blank tape stock going down in the 1990s along with the running times increasing.

There are other ways to get around the PAL issue, but they are time-consuming and not in the realm of acceptable HTF discussion.
 
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Though it's taken me a while, I finally started watching S01 of L.A. Law on the DVD set. So far, I've only seen the Pilot....and am extremely impressed by this show! 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. 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.

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 :D

Looking forward to seeing the rest of the series - or, rather, the first three seasons ;) Further reviews will be forthcoming.
 
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