November 01, 1999 12:00 PM

FOX (Tuesdays, 8 p.m. ET)

“There is sex in the air—that’s all I can say,” a witness states in the Nov. 1 episode of the hour-long Ally McBeal. The witness is testifying in an unusual sexual-harassment case (female coworkers sue a woman for being “too sexy” in the office), but she might as well be summing up the show as it enters its third year.

In the Oct. 25 season opener, Ally (Calista Flockhart) has steamy sex with a stranger (Jason Gedrick) in a car wash and acts as counsel to a woman trying to keep her wedding plans on track even though the minister (Ray Walston) recently spotted her having sex with a guy other than the groom. In episode two, while Ally’s old flame Billy (Gil Bellows) mans the defense in that excessive-sexiness suit, Ally and her femme-fatale colleague Ling (Lucy Liu) suddenly feel an urge to, uh, experiment with each other. And let’s set aside the question of whether “The Biscuit” (Peter MacNicol) gives Nelle (Portia de Rossi) a satisfying spanking. Ally McBeal, this year’s Emmy winner for best comedy series, continues to amuse, surprise and, yes, titillate. But you get the feeling that creator David E. Kelley is overdosing the characters on his brand of, aphrodisiac.

As for Ally, the half-hour version fashioned out of recycled footage and outtakes, it has been hit-and-miss since its September debut. Sometimes a single plot fills the slot neatly; other episodes seem incomplete and out of context, as if an announcer forgot to say, “We now join Ally McBeal, already in progress.”

Bottom Line: Still stimulating but a bit much

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