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''Ally McBeal'' is moving in a new direction

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Calista Flockhart
Matthew Rolston

It sounds wackier than wattle fetishes and coed bathrooms: An Ally McBeal who’s actually… mature? The Fox dramedy’s creator David E. Kelley tells EW that come fall, his flighty 30 year old barrister will finally start acting her age. ”It’s time for her to get a grip,” says Kelley. ”A lot of that neurosis that was once fun and entertaining could cross the line into becoming sad or pathetic, so this year you’ll see Ally becoming the emotional counselor to the others.”

That transformation will include fewer dream sequences for star Calista Flockhart, more emphasis on Ally’s legal skills, and a ”life changing” turning point in the season premiere involving her lawyer beau of six months, Brian Selig (Tim Dutton). ”She will be dealing with a proposal of sorts.” No wedding bells, insists Kelley, though we should learn if cohabitation makes the heart grow fonder. Can real life dancing babies be far behind?

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