Viewers expecting plenty of firefighting and medical excitement from the fifth season set of Jack Webb's '70s TV drama Emergency!
will plenty of both in this set. Unlike many television series upon passing a landmark like the fifth season, Emergency! implemented no significant changes to either its characters or the basic arc of each episode--firefighter/paramedics John Gage (Randolph Mantooth) and Roy DeSoto (Kevin Tighe) are dispatched to rescue ordinary Southern California citizens from a variety of accidents and disasters ranging from gas explosions and suicide attempts to diet pill overdoses and accident scams gone wrong. The victims are then raced to Rampart General Hospital to be overseen by Drs. Kelly Brackett (Robert Fuller) and Joe Early (Bobby Troup) with assistance from Nurse Dixie McCall (the eternally alluring Julie London). The show maintains its balance of big action pieces and quietly intense drama in Season 5, broken only by occasional moments of low-wattage humor, usually courtesy of (or at the expense of) Gage. There's little time for subplots involving the character's personal lives beyond what occurs in the firehouse and hospital, and for series fans, that's a good thing--that only leaves room for more action. It's a world apart from current medical dramas, which seem to view each episode as a challenge to see how many story arcs can be crammed into its running time; viewers may find this uncluttered approach a refreshing dose of nostalgia or too simple for their tastes. Fans, however, will undoubtedly relish another opportunity to ride with Squad 51 again. The five-disc set contains all 24 episodes of Emergency!
's fifth season; image quality looks particularly rough in certain episodes. Extras are relegated to a fifth-season episode of Webb's cop show Adam-12
, which features cameos by some of the cast from Emergency! --Paul Gaita