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Best Drama on Television.
christian9421 November 2002
I started watching ER on Thursdays in 1995 after my basketball practices. Already at its second season, I had heard a lot of good from the show, but never bothered to see what it was all about. I was exhausted, relaxing on the couch after a good workout and a cooling shower, flipping channels, something I rarely ever do, when my attention was grabbed by the intensity of the scene that was been played out before me. Something to do with Eriq Lasalle's character (Dr. Benton) and his mom or sister, I vaguely remember. Then the emergency room complications, the tension. Blood. Hospital. This must be that doctors show, ER, I thought. Let me see what this fuss is all about, I said to myself, intended to watch at least the end of that show… But it was already too late!! I was already hooked. The next week, I found myself driving back faster from my basketball practice to make sure to catch the show again.

Seven years later, I'm still watching (or taping) it every week. Why? Because it's the best drama show on TV, hands down, no contest. I thought at first I was biased because I studied physiology and am pretty versed in the technical jargon and medical realities they face on the show. I have a great interest in medicine and even considered a career in that path at one point in my life. However, the more I watched the show, the more I realized that it's not about the physical traumas, but about the human traumas. The admittedly romanticized, but no less relevant, reality of a profession that deals with life and death day after day, night after night. This is what makes it compelling. This is what makes it of greater scope and deeper emotions.

An ER doctor never gets enough sleep, never gets to go home. Is facing critical situations one after the other. Must make life-altering decisions daily. And yes, also has to cope with his personal life. Relationships, achievements and short-comings.

The setting aside, ER is a show that can boast about serious talent in the writing, directing, acting, casting, cinematography, editing, sound and even the pretty realistic make-up-F/X departments. And I'm talking about top-notch rendition, year after year. Just look at the list of Emmy and Golden Globe nominations over the years. What should also be kept in mind is the genuine appreciation by the public, as demonstrated for example by the People's Choice Award for Favorite Television Dramatic Series for eight years straight.

Created by writing mogul Michael Crichton, this show has passed a host of extremely talented actors that went on to 'bigger and better things', while still keeping the quality and the excitement of interesting and captivating stories told by equally apt newcomers. The style of the show is unique. The humour is witty and often sarcastic (see the purposely unlikable, sharp-tongued Paul Crane's Dr. Robert Romano). The tension is handled impeccably. The death of main characters truly riveting, sad and heartfelt (no question some of the best shows). The personal stories of the nurses and doctors and their work interactions with each other is worthy of a soap opera, but handled with a honest hard look at the twists and turn of life and personal interplay. The directing is smart, thorough. The long continuous takes (with great cinematography work) enables us to feel right in the action and switch from a tense situation to the other. What can you ask more of a TV show?

I enjoy ER and give my hats off to everyone involved with the show. Back in 1994, they re-invented the TV drama genre, upping the level of writing, acting and directing. This challenged the competition at the time and started giving us altogether better drama shows (for the most part). In its ninth season, ER is still the best; it hasn't lost any steam yet. Yes, there has been a lot of changes (actors-characters), but the essence (writers, directors, producers) of what makes the show great is still there and still strong.

When it comes down to it, the daily stress and life-affecting decisions at County General Hospital coupled with the hectic work environment is a place I want to vicariously live in every week. Because, with all the pain and hardness, we understand that these doctors like to help people, but they also love the RUSH.
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still the best
blanche-226 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
As an 10 year devotee of ER, I can't agree with some of the posters. The first years of a show are often its best, that is true. Yes, I miss Dr. Greene something fierce, as I do George Clooney and Juliana Margulies. But for me, ER is still a compelling, emotional show, filled with good acting, great characters, drama, humor, a fast pace and lots of layers. It remains an interactive, nail-biting show. I look forward to each episode and the journey of each character. At a time of reality shows dominating the ratings, ER remains in the top ten, as it should.

The personnel change is to be expected, but most long-running shows experience that. I don't have the connection with some of the newer people as I did with the earlier actors. But hey, I still miss Chris Noth on Law & Order, too.
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The life and times of doctors at Cook County General Hospital, Chicago.
julia_rakowski21 March 2004
The best medical drama ever to be aired! It's fast paced, emotional, and suspenseful. The cast is unbeatable. Composed of some of the best actors and actresses Hollywood has ever seen including George Clooney. The show is extremely realistic down to the smallest detail, yet easy enough to understand. There is a lot of drama, but also some comic relief. The characters are all unique and different, but they work well together on stage. The plots and sub-plots are very diversified, but they all tie in somehow. The writing and coordination is incredible. I would recommend this show to everyone, it sure is a change from the warm fuzzies of television!
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Extraordinary everything.
llihilloh22 November 2000
This show is without a doubt, the best one on television. The one thing that I like most about this show is the atmosphere and setting. Has anyone ever admired the detail put into County General? I think it's great that there is at least one intelligent show on the air.

Not only is the hospital well set up, but so is the cast. All of the characters do a superb job of portraying doctors with the exception of Michael Michele's character. (Sorry if this offends any fans.) The scripts are so well written and I can't imagine writing one every week. Thanks to the writers, producers, etc. for giving us a high-paced dramatic show.

The one thing that I find very unique is that each week new patients comes in with new injuries. With all the episodes they've done over the years, you would think that they would repeat some of their cases, but they don't.

From the scrubs to the trauma, I love everything about the show. With ER topping the ratings chart each week, I will continue to watch and be amazed. I am going to hate to see this show go off the air.
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Even an indifferent episode is better than the alternatives
ColinBaker29 April 2004
In the UK we have the home grown medical dramas Casualty and its sister show Holby City. Putting these against ER is like comparing two Ladas to a Rolls Royce. The Brit shows look leaden, and have far too many hammy and wooden actors.

ER has set a very high standard of modern TV drama for 10 years. True, there have been the occasional duff episodes, but the urgency of the drama, combined with what looks like hand held camera work usually delivers punchy tension filled drama, with first rate performances.

Another contributor mentioned the only serious rival to ER, Chicago Hope, a show that was cheeky enough to have a character say "I was hoping to watch ER tonight", and had a hilarious scene which culminated in the death of a heart transplant patient! Unfortunately, that show suffered with the loss of Mandy Patinkin, and began taking itself too seriously. ER may have lost most of its mainstays, especially Anthony Edwards, but it still is a far better option than any other medical drama. I realise however, that it may struggle once Noah Wyle leaves.
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I like it
mechmaniac10 May 2004
I have seen every single episode from 1994 to present. I can't say much to it personally that can do it justice so I'm simply going to leave it at that I have learned much from this show, it has a lot of feeling and a lot of heart, and I have grown with it. If I'm labeled as a die-hard fan, then so be it. I'm a guy and I love E.R. Hey, I'm square with that... ; ) And to those who say it's too long because characters leave... welcome to real life. People go places, they die, they have their troubles, they go out with 4 different people (sometimes incredibly in the same workplace). They don't call it drama for nuttin' :D
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Excellent drama, incredibly thrilling.
Starbuck-1329 April 1999
Warning: Spoilers
It took me some time to get hooked by E.R.. It was only during the preparations for my exams that I discovered the daily reruns of E.R., and after some five episodes I decided to have my lunch break every day when E.R. was running.

I really love the show today, especially because of the strong, realistic characters and the thrilling action in the hospital (where time is always running low). I think this is one of the best TV series ever made. Though the newer seasons were a little worse than the first three ones (what a tragedy when Doctor Lewis left, sniff), it is still worth watching.
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ER had a structure that set it up for the long term
AlsExGal24 July 2015
Some TV shows have a structure such that you can tell almost from the beginning how long the show has to live. As much as I loved "Scrubs", that show was built around a few core characters, and once their stories were played out, that was pretty much be the end of that show. "Cheers" basically had a double length of life due to the fact it was actually two shows instead of one - the first 5 seasons with Diane and the last 6 seasons with Rebecca as the female lead. "ER" is different. It has a large cast of constantly revolving characters, and the story lines will always be there as long as there is controversy in medicine to merge with the personal drama. Early in ER's history, things were different. George Clooney's character, Doug Ross, was really the star of the show, although they did spread the stories around so that there was quite a bit of focus on the other characters too. This was a successful formula, but once Clooney became a star and a heartthrob he quickly tired of television and longed for the big screen. Thus, starting in season four, he is absent more and more as he goes off to make action films and the show began to look like it was going to suffer from "Welcome Back Kotter" syndrome, where John Travolta's success on the silver screen killed that show. After Clooney actually did formally exit stage left, the show changed the formula to its current one of spreading the action around with nobody in particular having the spotlight. I guess my point with all of this is, this is how ER managed to go on a total of 15 seasons, with even one extremely unlikeable character being written in as interesting, even if that one character in particular came to an end worthy of Wiley Coyote.

Highly recommended.
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Top notch weeknight television series
jmorrison-23 June 2005
This show has been a remarkable, long-lasting hospital drama. The acting has been superb, and the story lines intelligent, and played out very well. The show has come down a bit in recent years. It can still be compelling, but it seems some of the acting is not quite up to what it used to be.

I still remember an episode (I believe it was in the second season), where Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards) ended up misdiagnosing a pregnant woman. She went into labor in the parking lot, and ended up back in the ER, eventually dying after a horribly bloody delivery (Bradley Whitford from "West Wing" played the husband). I will never forget that episode as long as I live. That was truly one of the finest, and most heart-wrenching television episodes I had ever seen. The nightmare just wouldn't seem to end. Anthony Edwards was just remarkable. I felt emotionally drawn and worn-out after watching it. That just doesn't happen with television anymore.

This show can still be compelling, and it doesn't shy away from sensitive subjects. Like Doctors and Nurses in emergency rooms, it doesn't dwell on, and overdramatize things, but tries to portray them realistically, and then moves on. Although these doctors and nurses can be understandably prone to self-pity, the show doesn't dwell on it. These people have to pick up and carry on, and the show does also.

All in all, very intelligent and thoughtfully done, for the most part.
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Wanna See What Made this Show Great? Buy the 1st Season DVD
gipper119 November 2003
ER in its present, 2003 form is a schizophrenic mess. For every one intelligent, caring episode comes four or five exercises in downbeat, melodramatic soap opera which sap all the energy out of the show's still-present technical mastery. This four-disc set is a welcome flashback to the show's humble beginnings, when it wasn't supposed to be the most heart-pounding show on television, and succeeded on will, not on hype.

The central characters in the first season are Chief Resident Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards), ER Residents Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) and pediatrician Doug Ross (George Clooney), Head Nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Marguiles), Surgical Resident Dr. Peter Benton (Eriq la Salle) and his protégé, third-year med student John Carter (Noah Wyle, the only actor to remain on the show through the entire run). They brought a fresh edge to the oft-repeated world of medical drama, helped greatly by the first television show, in my estimation, to ever put actual intelligence into the presentation. On ER, the cameras move, the people move, the consistent hustle and bustle of an actual environment is palpable, and not simply a setpiece. It's interesting to note that although the show was never broadcast in widescreen until 2001, in the middle of it's seventh season, these first episodes are all presented in the wider format. At first it might seem like hubris, but most of them fit the frame very well, with shots composed and staged for the wider picture - it's not `cinematic' just for its own sake.

Standout episodes from the season include the exposition-heavy `Pilot' which still found time for drama; `Blizzard' which was a tour-de-force of film, editing, and cutting edge medical realism; `Hit & Run' & `Sleepless in Chicago' which dealt with the heavy burden of juggling personal & professional medical care, as well as Carter's development as a doctor; and `Love's Labor Lost', an absolute masterpiece from every angle: drama, directing, scripting, staging, scoring, every cosmic tumbler clicked into place for this episode centered around Greene's tragic triumph in the case of a pregnancy gone bad.

The show took a few (deserved) knocks for being shamelessly convenient in its storylines and ignoring the realities of daily hospital structure in favor of sensationalism. This is exaggerated a little, but still a valid point; rarely an episode goes by without something in the line of an unexpected pregnancy, a suicide attempt, a violent skirmish between doctor and patient, or (in one outrageous case) a 12-year old gang member brining his Glock into a trauma room to try and finish another 12-year old off. Still, the show displayed remarkable resilience in almost always rising to become greater than the sum of its parts. Naturally, that ability has waned and virtually disappeared, but these episodes are no less enjoyable as a result of that.
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Though It has Lost Its Edge Recently, ER Is Still The Best Medical Drama Produced
wchngliu12 October 2007
Alongside The Simpsons, ER is one of the longest running US TV shows and through its successful blend of wonderful and memorable characters, intriguing story lines, strong intensity involving the cast and impressive action sequences, this medical drama is by far streets ahead of the likes of Chicago Hope and even Grey's Anatomy. Unfortunately in recent years, ER has declined in quality due to the departure of key characters, poor story lines and dull ideas, of which accounted for the decrease in viewing figures. The current crop of characters Neela, Luka, Abby, Pratt, Taggart and Barnett don't hold a candle to the experienced old rear guard of Greene, Carter, Benton, Lewis, Hathaway and Ross. They, in particular, were the original, and arguably the best set of characters the show has had.

The earlier seasons of ER were great- those times were witty, exciting and a joy to behold for us viewers. Such a shame however that when the old characters had left- or in the case of Mark Greene passed away- the writers of this drama were unable to fill that void with their newer, replacement characters, as well as good story lines and as such, the programme has suffered as a result.

There were a few story lines I didn't agree with; likewise for example, Mark Greene and Elizabeth Corday getting married together as a couple. I always had an inkling for Mark and Susan, of whom I felt had a lot more in common with each other and considering the history they had together as close friends and work colleagues they had a bond and chemistry that was like a match made in heaven. Also, a lot of ER fans preferred Mark to be with Susan, compared to those who liked Mark and Elizabeth. And so its such a shame that we never got to see Mark and Susan as a couple. There were also tragic and memorable story lines which are worth mentioning also that touched viewers hearts- Mark's brain tumour and his evitable death, Benton's son being mentally handicapped, Weaver coming to terms with her sexuality and coming out as a lesbian to her friends, work colleagues and family, and the consummation of Luka and Abbey and Ross and Carol's relationships.

The main problem with the ER though were the main characters of the earlier seasons who were on the show for a few series, and then suddenly they are written off. It doesn't matter how many new ideas, characters you introduce to the show because it is the original ideas, characters and realism of the show, of which worked so well in the first place that should be further developed. I wouldn't say that ER has jumped the shark, but it is certainly no longer the same show as it was back in 1994. ER is currently in its 14th season and whilst it is somewhat of an impressive feat, many of the original cast have gone and yet it can be argued that in reference to the current season the show has gradually become boring and stale, the longer it has gone on.

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end- and ER perhaps is no exception. Perhaps now it is the time to lay this ghost to rest. As much as it is arguably the best and most successful medical drama in TV history, ER during the last few years has spiralled downhill; the writing isn't as good as it was and it has lost a lot of its spark, which made it the no#1 hit US drama around. Still, as mentioned earlier, it is still the best medical/hospital drama to ever grace our screens. As not even the classic St Elsewhere and Chicago Hope comes close to matching, rivalling or surpassing ER's accomplishments.

Besides, this show will live long in TV history that's for sure and quite rightly so.
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Still the best medical drama EVER!!!
I first started watching when I was 14, it was 2002 and season 8. I had been going through a lot at home and this was the first show I'd watched that actually inspired me. The characters weren't perfect and often had complicated personal lives but they were realistic.

This show inspired me so much that I decided I wanted to work in an emergency department and that's exactly what I did. I'm now a nurse. This show is pretty realistic as far as the medicine goes, although I think every medical show is slightly unrealistic as to make it entertaining.

I have seen a lot of reviews that say that the earlier seasons are the best but I'd have to disagree as I think season 7-9 are the best but I thoroughly enjoy the entire show. Even the episodes that aren't the best are still amazing in comparison to newer shows.

I also am a fan of other medical shows such as Chicago Hope, greys anatomy and code black however they do not compare to ER. It is a classic and still translates well even 10 years after it finished.

Definitely worth a watch if you haven't seen it. I think I've watched it at least 5 times from start to finish by now and it still hasn't gotten old and me being a nurse hasn't ruined it like it has a few other shows.
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great show
ecw0619 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Well, well ,well what can i say that hasn't already been said about this truly magnificent show. I've been gripped since it the pilot aired back in 1993 when i was a young'un through to the present day. Whats great about this though that it is not all about medical traumas and blood (and for those who have somehow not seen the show believe there is loads of it)but it also has the right amount of touches of light humour and laugh out loud moments, most notably the seasons (1-5) where DR Doug Ross (George Clooney) DR Mark Greene were in it together. However with that being said i think i owe it to myself to speak about the true star of the show which of course is DR Robert 'rocket' Romano, a homophobic, racist yet somehow caring and undoubtedly brilliant surgeon who had a big soft spot for DR Elizabeth Corday ( The gorgeous Alex Kingston)his scenes with her when he lost his arm and he expressed his love for her and she rejected him or the time he saw her with another surgeon was some of the most heartbreaking scenes i have ever witnessed alongside of course DR Greenes funeral and DR Ross leaving Nurse Hathaway. My favourite episode however is ALL IN THE FAMILY the tragic episode where DR John Carter and his med student Lucy Knight are fighting for there lives after being stabbed by schizophrenic patient. In the end DR Carter survived but Lucy Knight was not so lucky and during the latter stages of that episode another side of Romano came out, a caring, sensitive person, who just wanted desperately to save the poor young girls live and he couldn't were just heartbreaking but for me the best scene in that entire episode was at the end when DR Romano and DR Weaver are closing up the wounds on Lucys body and they exchange a look and it was just a magnificent scene. I must admit i was a bit disappointed with the death of Romano cos alongside DR Kovac (Goran Visncic), DR Lockhart ( Maura Tierney) he was the only full time original cast member left save for DR Carter (Noah Wyle) and DR Weaver (Laura Innes)also i would of liked to see how DR Greene would of handled the new docs such as DR Greg Pratt, DR Ray Barnett etc etc. Ah well never mind go buy this, rent it, lend it, tape it of the tele, order of the internet i don't care just watch this program and be amazed.
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Used to be one of the greatest shows on TV (spoilers)
mlmcknight30 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm just rating this show up through the end of the season where Mark Green died.

This show was one of the best acted, most moving shows I've ever watched. There are far too many high points to list all of them, but....

Carol's suicide attempt in the pilot.

The stabbing of Carter & Lucy: after that, I couldn't watch the reruns with Lucy anymore. It is so strange to think that two hours of TV could be that traumatic.

The episode where Mark screwed up and a woman died while giving birth. Mark weeping on the el at the end was heart breaking.

Mark and his first wife getting caught by the staff while being intimate. They accidentally hit the call button and most of the ER staff ran thinking someone needed assistance. So funny! Mark's last day in the ER, when he told a hypochondriac that he had an inoperable brain tumor and that he won. Mark telling Carter "you set the tone" The death of Shep's partner from severe burns.

The man who got sprayed with acid. It interacted with his body chemistry, and they couldn't save him. Carol tried, in vain, to help him say goodbye to his estranged daughter. His ex-wife wouldn't allow it. Carol sat with him while he died.

The stillbirth of Carter's child. This was after Mark's death, but was still a very good episode. Carter collapsed into his father's arms, and later helped convinced his future wife to hold their dead child and say goodbye.

When Carol left to be with Doug.

The two part death of Mark episodes. I'm a man, and I'm unashamed to admit that I wept like a baby.

Those are just a few. I'm still amazed at how much this show could move you. My personal opinion: when Mark died, they should have ended the show. He was the heart of the show.
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Put this horse out to pasture
jgreen88246 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
A few years ago I said that ER was still one of the best shows around. But I don't feel that way now. I think the show is so far past it's prime that it's time for this horse to be put out to pasture, so to speak. Pretty much the entire original cast is gone, even Sherry Stringfield is going to leave ER soon - which will mean the entire cast who was there on the first day will be gone.

Over the past couple years it seems like ER has been declining. It's almost turned into the Abbey and Neela show.

In the past what made the show great was that it was an accurate portrayal of life in a hospital emergency room. And there were riveting episodes, episodes that drew you in totally. In some episodes you could go through just about the entire range of human emotions. There were times that watching ER was like watching a train wreck - with some stories you couldn't bear to watch but at the same time you weren't able take your eyes off the TV screen.

But that quality seems to have faded away. ER's just not the same anymore with almost the entire original cast gone. And the focus of the show doesn't really seem to be on the emergency room anymore. I think they should retire the show now while it's still good rather than letting it go on until it derails as a mere shadow of itself.
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Truly Outstanding!
AdamDHarris13 June 2006
Having seen virtually every single episode of this brilliant Drama, it is safe to say that those most loyal to it have never been let down by the characters they have watched grow & develop on screen, leaving many saddened at the loss of the original cast, yet intrigued by the new members.

It is true that the original cast of Edwards, Clooney, Wyle, Margulies, La Salle, Stringfield, and Weaver(Season 2)will never be bettered on screen, and the way these seven players turned 'County General' into the most frantic, exciting, emotional buildings in TV history is tribute to them.

Sadly, we have now lost many of them (all but Weaver) yet County still feels like there is all the history of old as well as the new character arcs included.

Visnjic & Tierney do carry the new cast, but it is vital that they do for a while yet, as they are the only real memories that fans have of the older seasons, and i do worry that the cast currently would struggle to entertain so much without them. Yet, introductions of guest characters such as Cheadle & Lequizamo are certainly where the writers manage to find the most interesting characters, and we can only hope that Lequizamo returns next season.

Overall, watch really is the most developed, and Exciting drama on TV even after 12 seasons, so be watching the re-runs this summer, get yourself ready for season 13 and make sure ER continues to bless our TV screens.
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Excelent show! But stop eliminating doctors, will you?
ijrichter20 February 2003
This is one of my favorite show, right after Friends. It has everything, drama, suspense, occasional comedy, it's an excelent show. All the actors are excelent, and the episodes are very well-written. They always leave you asking, what's going to happen to this patient. But one thing I really hate is that they keep eliminating some of the best characters in the show. First it was Dr. Doug Ross (played by George Clooney), who was my favorite doctor and really handy for the comedy on the show. They just eliminated Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards), and Dr. Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle), who were some of the best. They also got rid of Dave Malucci (Erik Palladino), Nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Marguiles), who had to leave if Ross left, and who was the moron who had the idea of killing Lucy Knight (Kellie Martin) off the show? Out of all the doctors in the E.R., the only that has stayed from the beginning of the show was Dr. John Carter (Noah Wyle). They've also been bringing other doctors to this show, like Dr. Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes), who's a real boss of hell, Dr. Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston), a British moody doctor, and Greene's wife, and the one who really brings good comedy to the show, Dr. Robert Romano (Paul McCrane) the Napoleon chief of staff (judging by his size). I am hoping these doctors don't leave, ands there are other doctors who hopefully won't leave. Despite this eliminating doctors thing they have, it's an excellent show, and very heartwarming. Anyone who likes a good drama, you know where to find it.
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The Greatest Show Probably in the History of Television...(First 10 seasons anyway)
davulture19 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When people talk about the best show of the 90's they always mention Seinfeld. But people tend to forget that in the 90's ER was actually more popular then Seinfeld. It was the #1 prime time show on television for 3 of it's first seasons and became a major impact on NBC's Must See Thursday line-up. The cast of relatively new-comers were Anthony Edwards (Mark Greene), George Clooney (Doug Ross), Julianna Marguiles (Carol Hathaway), Eriq La Salle (Peter Benton), Sherry Stringfield (Susan Lewis) and Noah Wyle (John Carter) and soon they all became household names. The show focused on the lives of Doctors and One Nurse (Hathaway) working at County General Hospital in Chicago in an Emergency Room. The show was very unique and unlike anything on television at the time because of the rapid fast paced action that it showed as Doctors dealt with medical trauma's. Along with those fast paced trauma situations, the show also dealt with issues such as rape, pregnancy, death and drugs. The show became even more entertaining when Laura Innes (Kerry Weaver) was added to the cast in the Second Season. Even though Sherry Stringfield finally left the show in the Third Season the show was still just as good as ever. However the show finally outlasted it's prime in the 5th season when George Clooney (The Superstar of the Cast) left to a career in movies. Even despite Clooney's loss the show still rebounded with strong additions from Goran Visnjic (Luka Kovac) and Maura Tierney (Abby Lockhart) and a bigger role for Paul McCrane (Rocket "Robert Romano). By the end of the 6th season Julianna Marguiles finally left the show. However despite her loss, the show still carried on successfully onto the 8th season. By the end of the 8th season ER lost two of it's prime time players "Eriq La Salle" and "Anthony Edwards", however the loss of Edwards was a major blow to the series since he was the main character and main billing of the series for the first 8 seasons. After Edwards left, Noah Wyle tried to pick up the billing as lead but still the show wasn't the same and by the 11th season the show lost its indigenous spark. Now ER is pretty much a shallow grave of what it used to be with new cast additions trying to establish themselves. Though I won't take those last few seasons in account... The First 10 Years of ER are still a spectacle of amazing television and perhaps the best 10 seasons of any show in the history of television.
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ER Observations
sbwiley12 September 2005
I never watched ER during its first-run on NBC, but over the past year, have become addicted to the reruns on TNT. Having said that, some observations:

1. The loss of Greene opened a wound from which the ER has never recovered.

2. God, how I miss Corday.

3. They were never able to replicate the very real, very flawed, very riveting friendship b/w Ross and Greene. They tried with Kovac and Carter, but I never bought it.

4. Sherry Stringfield is a goldmine. Sorry that she won't be sticking around this season.

5. LOVE Sam. She totally rocks.

6. Here's to hoping ER doesn't become the Abby Lockhart Show again.

7. Please, for the love of God, get rid of Morris and Ray. They stink!

8. Where's Weaver?

My two cents, for what they are worth. Be interesting to see what they serve up this season.

See you in Trauma One.
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"Better than ever" my eye
liquidcelluloid-15 June 2004
'ER'; Network: NBC; Genera: Medical Drama; Content Rating: TV-14; Classification: Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4)

Season Reviewed: seasons 7 and up

What has happened to 'ER' since the turn of the century, and really since George Clooney and Julianna Margulies left, can be summed up in one word: exhaustion. The show's most charismatic and engaging actors, tired of playing these characters, left one after another. The writers are tired of writing for these people, instead opting to dispatch them in violent, if cruel, ways. The show itself is even tired of its own genera, now dipping from high tension medical procedure series to a dreary melodramatic soap opera.

'ER' debuted to a lot of criticisms for a lack of originality, but compared to 'Chicago Hope' and the other medical shows being churned out at the time (a time I look back on fondly now in the face of the reality series fad) it was the best of the bunch. It was lighter, more exciting and more fun with dashes of well place humor sprinkled in the mix for flavor. It also had a great ensemble with a lot of electrified chemistry amongst them. In the face of the show's monstrous ratings critics (back when they had a spine) wouldn't back down, claiming that it could never keep up it at it's current pace. It took a few years, but that turned out to be true. 'ER' is hobbling around on crutches.

Of all the original cast who's left, the award for the best exit going to Eriq La Salle with an ending that recalls what was so engaging about the Benton/Carter relationship so many years ago. If the show had any dignity it would have wrapped itself up in the 2002 season with the death of Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards, by any account the star of the series). It would have been perfect: His daughter floats a balloon up into the sky in his honor and a show that is about saving people's lives comes to a close with it's lead passing on to the next (as the symbolism would indicate). But, no. The show couldn't even make that a season finale, instead turning around and passing the torch to John Carter (Noah Wyle), who has becoming increasingly less likable, and effectively making 'ER' a revolving door institution. In the last few years it's become a dumping ground for talent from other great cancelled NBC shows. Watch as Linda Cardellini and Maura Tierney and their once promising careers go utterly wasted.

'ER' is one, in a long line, of shows that I have had to write about with a preface that they were once good and have now, in their old age, become creatively dead. I put the blame squarely on the heads of the networks, which are to cowardly to let go of these shows and at the same time won't promote new shows that could have taken their place. The result is a TV wasteland: where these old warhorses (that people watch out of habit most of the time) have overstayed their welcome and the multitude of fresh, inventive new series have come and gone (and they are always out there) because the networks won't support them. Fox and NBC are the worst offenders. And it's mostly an issue of condescension toward it's viewers. They think people are to lazy or stupid to watch something new so they don't support anything new.

'ER' could rank up there with 'The Simpsons' as a poster child for a once-good-now-dead series. The slide began as creator Michael Crichton eased out of a prominent creative role and John Well ('Third Watch') and Christopher Chulack got their run of the ER, turning it into hack work in every department. It, like all of these shows now, is a shadow of it's former self. And in 'ER's' case it's a darker shadow. It brings in hot young stars which, more and more, just seem like fodder for the scriptwriters to kill off in mean-spirited, out-and-out tacky ways desperately designed to shock. I can't remember the last time a 'jump the shark' moment made itself known so clearly as when Romano's (a great Paul McCrane) arm was ripped off by a helicopter propeller in nauseating detail.

I used to admire the way this show took something that was very technical and procedural that few in the audience had any clue what was going on and made it the subject of nerve-wracking suspense. Apparently, the current crop in the rotation of this institution don't have the directorial skill to pull this off anymore. Much of the action takes place when we follow the docs to their cramped ER-doctor-salaried apartments. Who are they sleeping with? Who is weighing them down now? How will they ever deal with x family crisis with x celebrity guest star as a relative? That's the new order of the day. This might be an interesting thing if the show hadn't made all the characters as mean, obnoxious, and unrelatable as it could. In the past few years big names as Bob Newhart and Sally Field have graced the show in performances NBC hyped to the hills.

When the characters are at work the show is so unconfident in it's medical drama that it feels it has to find absurd ways of keeping it 'interesting' to Joe Schmo in Flyover Country who they think can't follow the jargon. Now the docs of County General contend with external disasters - small pox outbreaks, flash floods, African trips, drug addictions, runaway tanks, falling helicopters and serial killers in their midst. Ridiculous.

"Better than ever" my eye. With that slogan it sounds like NBC has squinted it's eyes shut and are trying to convince themselves just as much as the producers are trying to convince NBC that this is still a 'procedural show' and not a soap opera with multi-episode arcs that needs to be yanked off the air. The blind leading the blind. If I were Jeff Zucker I would have trashed this show, put 'Boomtown' in that spot and let the chips fall where they may.

Still, to date, the show's best episodes remain in the first few seasons. 'Hell and High Water' (starring Clooney) and 'Love's Labor Lost' (starring Edwards) are masterpieces of television. There is nothing even close to that caliber of work in the last few years.

* ½
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Has already jumped the shark
rorygunn10 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
That's right I believe this show has already jumped the shark and I believe it happened when Greene left the show.I won't spoil how for those who haven't watched the show but that was an excellent episode.The problem now is that some of the replacements don't have the charm of Greene and some of the others.The character of Dr.Pratt especially is a liability to the show.he is obviously no Peter Benton.As arrogant as Benton was there was still a human being inside.You could see the hurt he felt when Carter decided not to become a surgeon and could also see the care he had for Carter when he was addicted to painkillers.Prat has none of this.And now Carter is all that we are left with.Dr. Susan Lewis is back but I felt she was never a strong enough character to begin with so she can't carry the show and I believe that once the original core cast of Clooney,Edwards, and the rest left the show that's when it began it's jump and completed that jump when Anthony Edwards left
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No show needs 15 seasons.....
MartinHafer9 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"E.R." was a very good show and I watched it for years. While I realized it was not an accurate depiction of real E.R. life (I have friends who work and have worked in this setting), it was exciting and soap opera-like without being boring or cliché least for a while. And there's the problem...the show simply went on way, way, way too long. Because it was on 15 seasons, old familiar characters came and went many times and by the end of the show no one familiar remained and the plots seemed old, tired and often dumb. Good examples are what they did with the nasty Dr. Romano--first having him lose his arm in a freak helicopter accident and later having him killed in a helicopter accident! What were they thinking?! Clearly these were examples of the show jumping the shark. So my advice is watch the re-runs if you want...but also be willing to do something the series couldn't do...pull the plug when it's obvious the patient is terminal!

I'd give the show a 9 for the first 8 or 10 seasons and a progressively lower score from there. By the end, the show barely merited a 3.
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Holds up pretty well over twelve-plus seasons,which is NO mean feat!
KUAlum2621 April 2006
NBC's ER,which follows the doctors and nurses working the most active wing of a Chicago hospital(they've rarely been specific as to which hospital,but I've been under the impression it is Cook County hospital),has been a steadily rolling endeavor that has weathered being both a hot commodity(its first three or four seasons)to it's state as being a clockwork,comfortable standby of the network(which has been mostly ever since). Numerous cast changes,multitudes of directors and writers and shift-after-shift of viewing numbers later,it still is able to produce an interesting,sobering,humorous and realistic show.

To name off everyone who's contributed to this show would be long and arduous,but a cast that has included Anthony Edwards,George Clooney,Julianna MArgulies,Sherry Stringfield,Eriq LaSalle,Alex Kingston,Laura Innes,Maura Tierney,Goran Visnic,Mekhi Pfeiffer,Abraham Benrubi,Parminder Nagra,Kellie Martin,Paul McCrane,William H.MAcy,Linda Cardelini and Noah Wylie(those are just SOME of the names to come to mind)doing boffo work as the many personas who run(And are sometimes ran by)the incidents that flow in and out of the unit,have been the real staple for this show's run. Producer Michael Crichton(himself a doctor by training)was able to set up a show that is both(from what I am to understand)medically pretty accurate and yet still fraught with personal tension is quite an accomplishment. Ditto the fact that it is starting to last into "Gunsmoke" and "LAw and Order" endurance. Not a hard show to find in reruns,if you ever want to take up this show afresh. For those who follow it,the simile of "comfortable old slipper" comes to mind. Highly recommendable.
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best drama series I have ever seen
EmptyLeo7 May 1999
I used to never watch any of the 10 o'clock drama shows. Then came must see tv Thursday nights on NBC. "Friends" is my favorite sit-com and "Seinfeld" was one of the best. There were always other good shows on Thursday nights, "Mad About You", "Frasier" and a few others got started on Thursdays. There was always a good 2 hours. So I just left my TV on NBC and waited for the news, reading or something. It took a while but "ER" finally grabbed my attention. That would have been '96 I think? Dr. Lewis' last few shows, it was. Couple weeks later I couldn't wait for Seinfeld and the other shows to get over with, WANT TO WATCH ER!

I've tried "NYPD Blue" since and it's just not as fast paced as "ER", which is pretty much non-stop every week. I like "Law & Order" too. Now it seems all my favorite shows are 10 o'clock dramas.
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Currently One of the Worst Shows on Television, But Once, It Was One of the Best
Mark_Graisons_Moustache7 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The fall of "ER" is something so troubling it deserves serious study in an academic course by experts of television phenomena. It's actually a fairly easy distinction to make, the show can be very easily divided into two segments, the great television part (which lasts from Fall 1994 to Spring 2002) and the crappy television part (which lasts from Fall 2002 to Winter 2009).

When "ER" first started, it was without a doubt the best drama of television, with the best cast on television. The first season cast of Anthony Edwards as Dr. Mark Greene, George Clooney as Dr. Doug Ross, Sherry Stringfield as Dr. Susan Lewis, Noah Wyle as John Carter, Julianna Margulies as Nurse Carol Hathaway, and Eriq La Salle as Dr. Peter Benton, was irreplaceable. Each actor brought such a special character to the table, each was fully developed, and each was given equal weight in the story lines (although most would agree that Mark Greene is the closest to a main character the show ever had).

During the 1994-1995 season, "ER" didn't have a single bad episode, and proved itself to be a force to be reckoned with. Just take a look at "Love's Labor Lost," still one of the most famous and heartbreaking episodes ever filmed. It's an absolutely astounding piece of TV, exciting from beginning to end, painfully sad by the time the credits roll, and acted to perfection by every single person involved. "ER" remained an incredibly show for years and years. Indeed, it seemed to do the impossible by managing to remain strong even as cast members began to disappear. Sherry Stringfield was the first one, leaving late in 1996, and she opened the door for all the next cast members to exit the hospital, Maria Bello in 1998, George Clooney in 1999, Gloria Reuben in 1999, Kellie Martin and Julianna Margulies in 2000. Still, the show kept on rolling. Taking a quick look through the episode list of these early seasons and you'll see some of the most classic episodes of television ever filmed, "Hell and High Water," "Fevers of Unknown Origin," "Take These Broken Wings," "Union Station," "The Long Way Around, "Ambush," "Family Practice," "The Good Fight," "Be Still My Heart," "All in the Family," "Mayday," the list goes on.

Around 1999, major cast changes started to take place. We waved goodbye to Gloria Reuben and George Clooney and said hello to Paul McCrane (in a devilishly biting, often quite funny performance as Dr. Robert Romano), Michael Michele (as Benton love interest Dr. Cleo Finch), Goran Visnjic (as Dr. Luka Kovac," Erik Palladino (underused as Dr. David Malucci), Ming-Na, returning from a guest spot in Season 1, as Dr. Jing-Mei Chen, and finally Maura Tierney as Nurse Abby Lockhart. The show remained strong with these newcomers along with veterans Anthony Edwards, Noah Wyle, and Eriq La Sall, and seasons 7 and 8 retained that strong quality we'd come to expect. But then, something changed.

That something was the death of Dr. Mark Greene. To this day, "On The Beach" remains the most profoundly moving, poetic, sad, and beautiful episode of television I have ever seen. I don't think I have ever cried as much as when Dr. Green passed on, but it was done in such a beautiful fashion, it just felt right. And it should have been the final episode. The writer's had the perfect chance to end the series at Greene's funeral, with Hathaway and Ross lying flowers on his grave and saying goodbye, but no, they didn't do that. In fact, they didn't even make his death the season finale, they made it the penultimate episode of the season, preferring instead to cap off the eighth season with a lame 'crisis' episode involving the lockdown of the ER.

Things did not get crappy immediately. In fact, Season 9 is alright, it's just no 1-8. But things quickly started going haywire, and the departure of Noah Wyle and Sherry Stringfield in 2005 was the final nail in the coffin. Without anyone to be the rock of the show, things started to get very stupid. When John Stamos came parading through the doors in 2006, I knew any chance of the series returning to its stature in the Clooney/Edwards years was long gone, and the 13th and 14th seasons have been some of the worst television ever aired, an embarrassing attempt to rip on the far inferior "Grey's Anatomy." One pines for the romantic tension and longing of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies while they watch the attempted 'chemistry' of John Stamos and Linda Cardellini, who do nothing but bone in abandoned operating rooms to the tune of same pop song. Meanwhile, the departure's in the beginning of the 15th season of Goran Visnjic, Mekhi Phifer, and Maura Tierney officially means that the oldest cast member is Parminder Nagra, cast member since season 9. That's right, NOBODY from the first eight seasons is currently on the show, and the magic that they brought with them vanished long ago. Since the year 2000, has there been a character as fully rounded and perfectly brought to life as Nurse Carol Hathaway? One might say Maura Tierney, but I doubt anybody would argue with my declaration that watching Abby Lockhart's life ravel completely out of control during the 2007-2008 season was not fun at all. If anything, it was a symbolic representation of what has happened to one of the best shows ever to air on television. Now it is nothing but a sad reminder of what once way, where untalented actors breathe zero life into boring characters. "ER" is finally ending in February of 2009, but take my advice and pretend it ended in 2002, when 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' accompanied Dr. Mark Greene while he drew his final breaths. Unfortunately, the writers didn't have the good sense to kill the show along with him.

"ER" 1994-2002 A+ "ER" 2002-2009 F
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