UK TV has never sensibly shown The Practice. I first discovered it via an Ally McBeal cross-over episode. The case began in an episode of Ally McBeal, and then continued in an episode of The Practice. In the US I believe the second half ran immediately after the first half (albeit on a different network, which was in itself unusual for a cross-over), but as The Practice didn’t show in the UK at all, we were just left hanging.
I spent a few years not knowing what had happened, until ITV seemed to pick up the second half of the second season of The Practice and show it at obscure times which changed every week (usually sometime between midnight and 2 am on a Friday or Saturday night). I don’t know whether they showed more of it than that, and I just didn’t discover it until half-way through, or whether they just showed half the season. As far as I know they never showed Season 3, or indeed any other season.
About 6 months ago BBC3 picked up Season 3 and showed it. Again, they chopped and changed the times, but I managed to catch almost every episode.
When I started playing with BitTorrent I was able to download the latter half of Season 8, but as I watching Season 3 at the time I didn’t watch any of them, just in case there were spoilers for what I was currently watching. I hoped that the BBC had picked up more than the one season, but of course, they stopped at the end of Season 3.
Then, when I was in San Francisco for Web 2.0, I managed to catch the first episode of Boston Legal, the new spin-off show from it. I was hooked straightaway, and on further investigatation I discovered that Season 8 of The Practice had pretty much changed focus half-way through to feature these new characters at this new firm (and managed it better than the entire cast change in the last, appalling, season of Ally McBeal). So when I came home I watched those last episodes of the Practice I’d downloaded – and it’s some of the best TV I’ve seen in quite some time. James Spader and William Shatner are both excellent, and raised the level by an impressive amount of what was already a really good show. But now I’m hungry for more! I can download Boston Legal every Monday, but I really want to see the first half of Season 8. And of course there still five and half other seasons I haven’t seen yet! I’ve been hoping for DVD releases, but there’s no sign of that. I’ve scoured all the torrent sites I know, but can find nothing.
Tonight, however, I’ve discovered that the new ITV3 channel is showing episode 2:4 through 2:8 one per day next Monday to Friday. They don’t seem to be showing anything more the following week, but hopefully this will be a regular thing. And at least I get to see 5 more episodes!