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ER: The Complete Third Season
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Combining the extraordinary talents of multiple award-winning producer John Wells, best-selling author Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg, "ER" follows the lives of the emergency room staff and doctors at Chicago's County General Hospital, where the difference between life and death rests on split-second decisions--and the pressure, joy and guilt are often overwhelming. This critically acclaimed series, which won three Emmys during its third season, including Oustanding Drama Serires, is now available in a 22 episode, 6 disc collector's set.
The third season of ER had some of the series' most compelling and wrenching story lines. John Carter (Noah Wylie) is now an intern, but his surgical dreams continue to be thwarted by Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle), a frustration shared by fellow student Dennis Gant (Omar Epps). Benton also torments former lover Jeanie Boulet (Gloria Reuben), who has tested positive for HIV. Because he has tested negative, he's free to badger her about the risks involved in her treating patients while moving on to his next potential conquest, a sexy waitress named Carla (Lisa Nicole Carson). Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) continues to be one of the series' focal points, struggling to survive the bureaucracy of management and still feel like a doctor. And now single, he goes on bad dates as does Dr. Lewis (Sherry Stringfield), both ignoring the obvious until a seemingly casual vacation invitation sets a number of uncomfortable wheels turning.
The other focal point is nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies), for whom things go from bad to worse. She has serious money problems, her career choice doesn't look so good anymore, and when a patient dies, she finds herself suspended. That sets the stage for one of the series' most memorable episodes, which takes place almost completely outside the hospital. Hathaway goes to the corner drug store, where she meets guest star Ewan McGregor, and things take off from there. She also wisely keeps her distance from former lover Dr. Ross (George Clooney), who may have really done it when he brings into the ER a one-night stand suffering from a seizure and has to admit he doesn't even know her name.
County General survives a closure scare, but instead has to absorb some new additions, including chief of staff Donald Anspaugh (John Aylward), intern Maggie Doyle (Jorjan Fox), and the best pediatric surgeon in Chicago, Abby Keaton (Glenne Headley), who attracts the attention of Benton and Carter for professional and/or personal reasons. But those additions are countered by two emotional goodbyes, and other gritty story lines, including a troubled teen (Kirsten Dunst) and an assault on a doctor, helped make ER's third season often tough to take, but unforgettable.
Special features consist of commentary tracks on two episodes; a 15-minute spotlight on the episode "Fear of Flying" with new interviews with Sherry Stringfield, Noah Wylie, and Glenne Headley; bloopers and outtakes; and a featurette on the ER's nurses with interviews of Yvette Freeman, Abraham Benrubi, Ellen Crawford, and others, but not Julianna Margulies. --David Horiuchi
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
While I still enjoy the show now, the prime of the show, at least to me, was in the beginning. With Anthony Edwards, George Clooney and Sherry Stringfield, plus Noah Wyle, Julianna Margulies and Eriq LaSalle, the early years were some of the best television hours ever.
Season three was one that saw a number of changes to the ER. Dr. Susan Lewis (Stringfield) left the ER for Phoenix. She returned a number of years later and is still part of the show, but her departure left a hole in the staff, not to mention, in the heart of fellow doc Mark Greene (Edwards). This season also saw the edition of Laura Innes to the regular cast. She appeared in season two as a recurring character and was added to the cast to start season three. Her character of Dr. Weaver has experienced some of the greatest changes of anyone since her arrival on the show.
Some of the key storylines early in this season involve Greene and Lewis, as there is an obvious romantic connection between the two, that leaves Greene feeling betrayed when she leaves. A highlight episode of the season was "Fear of Flying" where the two docs take a medivac chopper to a remote accident scene and save a family of four. Greene, who is one of my all time favorite television characters, also experiences a brutal attack in the restroom of the hospital and has a hard time readjusting as he returns to work.
Dr. Doug Ross (Clooney) begins the season as he ended the second, still moving from woman to woman, but when a woman whom he barely knows passes out at his apartment and eventually dies at County, he begins to change his ways, mainly pointing his affection in the direction of nurse Carol Hathaway (Margulies), who is also one of his exes. Clooney's work with a homeless teen, portrayed excellently by Kirsten Dunst, is one of the great story arcs throughout the season.
As for Hathaway, she takes the medical school tests, and does incredibly well, but realizes that she likes being a nurse. As nurse manager, she takes on the administration with some solid results and also gets a highlight episode where she is caught in an armed robbery at a convenience store. It is in this episode that you see the true Carol Hathaway and her compassion for others. Ewan McGregor also does a great guest stint as one of the robbers.
Dr. John Carter (Wyle) looks so young, especially as I finished this past season watching him leave the show after 11 seasons. Carter has an affair with his superior, and also sees the death of one of his fellow surgical interns (guest star Omar Epps). He also begins to realize that he may have chosen the wrong elective, as he sees that his healing ways may be better suited for the ER, not the surgical unit.
Dr. Peter Benton (La Salle) is probably one of the best surgeons on the staff, but it is his people skills that make his turn in pediatrics a tough one. The death of intern Gant weighs heavily on Benton, but it is the birth of his son as the season comes to a close that really begins to change his ways. The Benton as father story line served the show well for a number of years until his eventual departure.
Weaver (Innes) is in almost constant combat with Greene. She has ideas that she tries to implement that just don't sit well with the senior doc. Her kissing up to the bosses irks not only Greene, but a number of other staff members. She was not a likeable character for a long time, but that has changed over the last few years.
The one ER character that I never really cared for was PA Jeannie Boulet (Gloria Reuben). This season featured a lot of stories for her, as she battled her HIV status and considered relationships before reconciling with her ex. This character, although Reuben is a good actor, always seemed to be concerned with herself and nobody else and that always bothered me.
Additionally, this season saw some great guest and recurring stars. As mentioned, Dunst and Epps were key figures for many episodes, while William H. Macy and John Aylward continued there positions as hospital staffers. Jorja Fox came on board as Dr. Maggie Doyle and Veronica Cartwright won praise for her guest turn as the mother of a sick young man. Glenne Healy, cch Pounder, Kevin Tighe, Sam Anderson and Jamie Gertz were just a few of the many who had a presence in the ER. Maria Bello guest starred at the end of the season and was added to the staff in the next year.
There are two great commentary tracks, as well as two very good documentaries. One involves the Fear of Flying episode while the other deals with the support staff at the hospital, the nurses, desk clerks, etc. Both are very informative. There are also a great gag reel and some deleted scenes.
Of course I am biased, as this is my favorite show, but I don't think you could find a finer group of actors and better story lines than this season of ER provided.
Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards): What an interesting season for Mark this is! Although a glorious character, Mark makes some very controversial decisions in this season, including invading the privacy of Boulet by sneaking into her private files. Also, Mark suffers a brutal beating in the hospital men's room and ends up pretty screwed up by the incident, eventually buying a gun in an act of insane paranoia.
Doug Ross (George Clooney): Ross gets stuff to do in this season, but not quite as much as in the previous two. Clooney was quite busy filming the disastrous "Batman and Robin" during season three to get a whole lot of really good storylines, but he does get some, including an excellent continuing storyline with Kristen Dunst as a problematic teenage girl.
Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield): Yes, this is the season that the beloved Dr. Lewis tragically leaves the show, but the good news is that she gets plenty of good episodes before doing that. Her and Mark come very close to being lovers when she unexpectantly invites him on a Hawaiian trip with her. Mark ends up falling deeply in love with her, but when she announces her plans to move to Phoenix and be with her sister Chloe, he's torn between telling her his love and letting her enjoy her new life. Sherry Stringfield will be back in 2001, but as I said in my reviews of seasons one and two, she just never was the same when she came back, so this is the last season where we can really embrace her wonderul, beautiful character.
John Carter (Noah Wyle): Carter goes through a significant romantic relationship with Abby Keaton, played by an excellent Glenne Headly, but the relationship comes to an end when she moves away. Carter also embraces a new career as a hospital resident, when he realizes that surgery just isn't for him. An exciting year for Carter, definately!
Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies): Wow, what a year for Carol! Carol accidentally kills a patient by giving him the wrong blood, and when she chooses to fess up to her mistake, the hospital suffers a humiliation in a local paper and she is fired. Fortunately, she gets her job back after an exciting day in a convenience store in "The Long Way Around," perhaps the season's most exciting episodes and one of the best episodes of the show. This unique episode spends 3/4 of its time outside of the hospital, and has an excellent performance from guest star Ewan McGregor and of course Julianna Margulies.
Jeannie Boulet (Gloria Reuben): Boulet gets another excellent year, even better than her previous season. She is diagnosed with AIDS in the season premiere and spends the whole season dealing with problems with hospital policy related to her condition, and eventually gets in some major trouble when Mark finds out she has HIV. Eventually she admits it to the whole hospital, and also deals with problems with ex-husband Al. You got to love Boulet, and Gloria Reuben's gentle acting makes her such a loveable character.
Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes): Weaver was a very significant guest star in season two, and gets to join the rest of the cast in the main credits this season. This is a good year for her character, especially for those who pigeonhole her as the bitch of the hospital. She shows real sympathy with Boulet's HIV problem. She also helps encourage Carter to pursue the career he wants near the end of the season.
Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle): Benton gets an excellent year here, when his girlfriend (barely a girlfriend, really) gets pregnant with his child. The baby is born prematurely near the end of the season and Benton deals with other hardships throughout the year, especially when he learns he may be responsible for the suicide (?) of a resident near the middle of the season. Great acting from Eriq La Salle!
So, there you have it. Season three is full of memorable acting and great scenarios for all characters involved. "ER" was the tip top in the ratings at this time, and it's no wonder why.
The DVD set follows the style of the previous two, mostly. The packaging changes very much. The group shot of the ER staff is changed to little square panels with a large photograph at the bottom, and the four double sides disks are now changed to six single sided disks. The content inside is excellent, as usual, with incredible transfers (looks just like a movie) in anamorphic 16:9 widescreen. Excellent quality that enhances the amazingly cinematic feel of "ER."
What are you waiting for? The only reason to put off buying this season is if you haven't bought the first two, and if you've bought those and love them as much as I do, you can NOT turn down the incredible season three! Highly recommended! Order it now!
ER follows the exploits of a group of emergency room staff who work in a busy Chicago hospital. The show attempts to examine every detail of the ER experience. From the exhilaration of saving a life to the tedium caused by mountains of paperwork, all the highs and lows are covered. In the show's first year, a number of regular faces staffed the ER. Doctors Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards), Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle), Douglas Ross (George Clooney), and Susan Lewis (Sherri Stringfield) were regulars in the ER along with Head Nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) and Benton's medical student understudy (and later ER doctor), John Carter (Noah Wyle)... Any given episode tends to run multiple plot lines throughout the show, interweaving scenes in short snippets intended to heighten audience emotion and create the aura of a stress-laden atmosphere. The show's high drama, coupled with subplots of the staffers' personal lives and the display of cutting edge medical technology, combine to make ER one of most adrenaline-inducing programs in television history...
The ER (Season 3) DVD features a number of dramatic episodes including the season premiere "Dr. Carter, I Presume" in which Carter begins his internship at the ER with a difficult day filling in for Peter as the ER surgery consultant. Meanwhile, several plotlines related to the staffers' personal lives take twists when Carol runs into Shep and his new girlfriend and Peter runs into an old friend at a barbecue... Other notable episodes from Season 3 include "No Brain, No Gain" in which Peter fights to save the life of a gang member already declared dead by Doug, and "The Long Way Around" in which Carol is held hostage during a robbery at a local store...
Below is a list of episodes included on the ER (Season 3) DVD:
Episode 49 (Dr. Carter, I Presume)
Episode 50 (Let the Games Begin)
Episode 51 (Don't Ask, Don't Tell)
Episode 52 (Last Call)
Episode 53 (Ghosts)
Episode 54 (Fear of Flying)
Episode 55 (No Brain, No Gain)
Episode 56 (Union Station)
Episode 57 (Ask Me No Questions, I'll Tell You No Lies)
Episode 58 (Homeless for the Holidays)
Episode 59 (Night Shift)
Episode 60 (Post Mortem)
Episode 61 (Fortune's Fools)
Episode 62 (Whose Appy Now?)
Episode 63 (The Long Way Around)
Episode 64 (Faith)
Episode 65 (Tribes)
Episode 66 (You Bet Your Life)
Episode 67 (Calling Dr. Hathaway)
Episode 68 (Random Acts)
Episode 69 (Make a Wish)
Episode 70 (One More for the Road)
The DVD Report
At the top of the list is the chance to see several actors, early in their career, who later became prominent in other series. At the top of the list in this season are Jorja Fox, Khandi Alexander, and Omar Epps, who went on to supporting leads in CSI, CSI:Miami and House respectively. I am less thrilled with the new face in senior management, Dr. Donald Anspaugh, played by John Aylward, as something of a hard headed bottom line kind of administrator, especially since he replaces William H. Macy as the face of the hospital administration. His personality softens just a bit in the course of the year, but the sharp edges surface every once in a while.
The stories are taking the lead actors out of the ER in medical crisis situations, such as in local stores, and in ride alongs in EMT ambulances and in helicopters. They are also dealing more often with situations of medical ethics regarding HIV status, race relations, and DNR (do not resuscitate) orders.
One major character, who may have been the weakest in the first two seasons, leaves the cast, and Laura Innes' character becomes more central to the story arcs dealing with the hospital administration. As I expected from season one, John Carter's character growth continues, mostly advancing, but sometimes taking a step backwards.
The lead character whose role I enjoy the most is Julianna Margulies as Nurse Carol Hathaway. It seems as if every major character has gone through some kind of professional and personal crisis in the first three seasons, and Hathaway's are the hardest to take. She is the one character I most want to see succeed, along with Noah Wyle's John Carter.
I do not recommend your starting with season 3, as most of the relations between characters and character roles will seem unfinished. Season 3 is just as good as season 2, and that's saying a lot.
be on the dvd machine. But as I go through the seasons ( I am now in season 7) it seems that I have come to see that there is at least one defective (usually more) in each season. That is disappointing as they are very expensive. I have wanted the entire set for as long
as I could remember. And spending this amount of money I would expect that it would not be defective. Also one of the sets had a sticker that said used. So I didn't even get that season new. So yes there is some disappointment in ordering this product from Amazon as I've come to expect high quality and customer service from them.