Ally McBeal is an American dramedy television series created by David E. Kelley which stars Calista Flockhart in the title role as a young lawyer working in the fictional Boston law firm Cage, Fish and Associates with other young lawyers whose lives and loves are eccentric, humorous and dramatic.
The show aired in the USA on Fox from 28 September, 1997 to 20 May, 2002. There are 112 hour-long episodes in five seasons.
The series originally aired in South Africa on SABC3 from 8 June, 1998 to 5 August, 2002. It later aired on TopTV's Fox Entertainment channel, beginning with Season 4.
See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 3 originally aired on SABC3 from 8 May to 4 December, 2000. The first 11 episodes aired from 8 May to 17 July, 2000, after which episodes alternated weekly with The Practice (which began on 24 July).
Season 3 premiered on Fox Entertainment on Wednesday 10 November 2010, at 15h45. New episodes broadcast daily, seven days a week. There are 21 episodes in the third season.
Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart) is a single, twenty-something lawyer who is searching for love as she approaches her thirties.
She works at a law firm where her childhood sweetheart is working with his wife. She still has deep feelings for him but does her best to hide them.
She is a deeply sensitive person with her head in the clouds most of the day.
Other characters at the law firm include John Cage (Greg Germann), a bit of an oddball who has a thing for Barry White music; Richard Fish (Peter MacNicol), who has sex on his mind 24/7; Elaine Vassal (Jane Krakowski), the nosy and gossiping secretary; Billy Thomas (Gil Bellows), the love of Ally's life; and his wife Georgia Thomas (Courtney Thorne-Smith).
Renee Raddick (Lisa Nicole Carson) works for the district attorney and is Ally's flatmate. She is often giving Ally advice on her love life or just lends Ally a shoulder when things don't go quite the way she planned.
Cage & Fish (which becomes Cage/Fish & McBeal or Cage, Fish, & Associates towards the end of the series), the fictional law firm where most of the characters work, is depicted as a highly sexualized environment, symbolized by its unisex public restroom.
Lawyers and secretaries in the firm routinely date, flirt with, or have a romantic history with each other, and frequently run into former or potential romantic interests in the courtroom or on the street outside.
The show also features regular visits to a local bar where singer Vonda Shepard regularly performs.
Season 1 (23 episodes)
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 8 Jun 1998 | Finale: 9 Nov 1998 | Mondays, 21h30
Channel: Fox Entertainment | Premiere: 25 Sep 2010 | Finale: 17 Oct 2010 | Daily, 15h45
Season 2 (23 episodes)
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 19 Apr 1999 | Finale: 20 Sep 1999 | Mondays, 21h30
Channel: Fox Entertainment | Premiere: 18 Oct 2010 | Finale: 23 Nov 2010 | Daily, 15h45
Season 3 (21 episodes)
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 8 May 2000 | Finale: 4 Dec 2000 | Mondays, 21h30
Channel: Fox Entertainment | Premiere: 10 Nov 2010 | Finale: 30 Nov 2010 | Daily, 15h45
Season 4 (23 episodes)
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 26 Feb 2001 | Finale: 30 Jul 2001 | Mondays, 21h30
Channel: Fox Entertainment | Premiere: 2 Jun 2010 | Finale: 3 Nov 2010 | Wednesdays, 21h00
Season 5 (22 episodes)
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 11 Mar 2002 | Finale: 5 Aug 2002 | Mondays, 21h30
Channel: Fox Entertainment | Premiere: 10 Nov 2010 | Finale: 6 Apr 2011 | Wed, 20h15