on October 28, 2003
What a great series E.R has been. I watched the first episode with breathless anticipation and have been hooked since. You would of thought with such an important series like this WB would of put a lot of TLC into the DVD releases. While I will give kudos for the Special Features I have been disturbed by the presentation of the shows. Many of the episodes show very distinct signs of wear and tear. Many scratches and such which should of been taken care of before committing them to disc.
I know a lot of people won't notice this (my girlfriend didn't until I pointed it out to her) for those of us who expect their DVD presentations to be immaculate, this series is a big let down. A lot of people have complained about the fact that the discs are flippers (a few episodes on each side of the disc). This doesn't really bother me as I'm always careful when handling discs and no episode is interupted to turn the disc over, as was the case with early flipper DVD's of movies.
So overall I would say if you love E.R and scratchy presentation doesn't bother you, this set is a must buy. If on the other hand you, like me, expect nothing less than the best presentation for a moderately priced box-set of an outstanding series, you might be a bit disappointed.
on April 22, 2004
Before getting this excellent 4-Disc DVD boxed set, I'd never even seen a single episode of "ER". But after watching just a couple of episodes (including the incredibly-good and superbly-written double-length pilot show), I was officially "hooked" on this TV series.
All of the characters in this program are extremely likeable and a pleasure to watch on screen in each and every frantically-paced scene. The acting is truly inspiring. Just fabulous. By ALL of them.
I'm glad these shows are presented in the Widescreen format on this DVD set. Widescreen suits this series nicely (IMO). And the video quality is very good. As is the sound. I had a minor "glitch"/"freeze-up" problem with one episode on Disc #2, which caused me to skip over a chapter. But other than that snafu (which has been reported by others as well), these discs have performed their duties admirably.
The Special Features are fun here as well. There's an ample amount of stuff to delve into here, including multiple featurettes and audio commentaries, plus additional (unaired) scenes. There's also a very funny outtakes/blooper reel (10 minutes) included. Anthony Edwards' "That explains the hat" ad-libbed remark after blowing a line is a standout from the blooper reel. :-)
Be prepared to become totally immersed in the "ER" experience when you sit down to watch these DVDs. As I watch this group of actors doing their thing in their familiar environs of the Emergency Room, they truly "become" an "ER team" for those 45 minutes. They don't seem like actors at all. They are *really* saving lives in the ER. It's *that* realistic.
An ideal cast.
Heck of a nice DVD set.
I'm sure the "ER: Season Two" DVD collection will not disappoint either.
on November 17, 2003
Here's your chance to catch all those great shows you missed on out! I did not watch ER the first season so I was limited to the few I caught on reruns. I was thrilled to sit down and watch the entire first season of this fine television show. Excellent plot, characters! Just terrific.
Crichton is an excellent writer [author of Jurassic Park and Disclosure] and it shows here in this show right off the bat.
Mark Greene's attempt to balance his passion for doctoring with his personal life is difficult to watch b/c it is so touching. Greene is a great character and we like him immediately. Carol Hathaway and Doug Ross round out the key players here and with good reason. They are human, flawed, sympathetic and wonderful. Even in this first season, Noah Wylie gets out attention as Carter. We love him right away.
THIS DVD reminds us of just how it was the ER became the talk across the country on Friday morning. It is JUST as good as we remembered and it's nice to be reminded.
on September 19, 2003
I already have every episode of "E.R." on video, taped from television ( Channel Four, England ), but imagine my glee when it was announced that the first season was going to be released on DVD?! For my money, along with "Hill Street Blues", this show for the past nine years has produced some of the most exhilirating, thought-provoking, scary, funny and heart-warming moments seen on television. Who can forget "Love's Labour Lost", "The Healers", "Random Acts" and more recently "Lockdown", "Chaos Theory" ( I won't be looking at helicopters in the same way again! ) and the 200th episode "When Night Meets Day" ( at one point using split-screens as an exciting storytelling device ).
It's always a worry when production / distribution companies don't give ground-breaking cinema and television due care and attention when assembling DVD sets such as these, so I was glad when I saw a fairly extensive, but quality-rich, extras list to be included alongside the episodes themselves. The documentaries are very good, showing the origins of "E.R.", from it's inception as a 70's film script to it's development as a T.V. series in the mid-90's ( One can only imagine how heart-stopping "E.R." would have been if directed by as a film by Steven Spielberg. Instead he went on to direct "Jurassic Park" ). The commentaries are good as well, although I felt that "Love's Labour Lost" was slightly sidetracked by a bit too much self-congratulatory, back-slapping ( deserved by the eventual quality of the end product, but I know how good the episode was - tell me more of how and why you did it! ).
My biggest gripe with the set appears to be the quality of the transfers of the episodes. For me it's a bit distracting to be watching a 'pristine' digital presentation of a film or T.V. series, only to see what appears to be 'print damage' on screen. As this could, in some quarters, be seen as a potential archive of this show, it would have been nice if the obvious care for "E.R." had been extended to this aspect.
Overall, a five-star presentation for a five-star series. It bodes well for the ( assumed! ) release of the next eight series of what for me ( along with "24" ) is 'must see' television.
on September 13, 2003
I remember almost 10 years ago when I sat down to watch this show I'd seen a preview for...and was instantly hooked. Now it's on DVD, in digital quality, and I can't tell you how happy I am to have it.
Yes, there are the few digital hiccups that make a few people snort and say "oh come on, they could have done that better." But I dare you - I DARE you - to watch this show and find yourself paying attention to the digital quality when the writing, the acting, the production, the editing, and everything else is so superb. It's impossible to NOT get caught up in the content, the characterization, and the frenetic pace of the show itself.
The first, second, third, and fourth seasons of ER were absolutely flawless television in every respect. It remained a nail-biter of a show until the end of the sixth season, when Julianna Margulies finally left. I for one am totally thrilled that the first season is out on DVD. My one question is: So Warner Bros., when can you send me the second season? :-D
on September 11, 2003
a) ER is an excellent show, and the Season 1 set catches it at its earliest and (perhaps) most brilliant. The ensemble cast gels immediately, the writing is impeccable, the storylines compelling. You really can't do much better.
b) Some of the extras are stupendous. The behind-the-scenes documentaries, while presented in the interrupt-speech-with-video-clip-that-vaguely-relates-to-what-the-person-is-saying format I'm not too fond of, are very, very enlightening. I always wondered how much the instant success of the series impacted how easy it was to film on location, and I got my answer. The blooper reel is an expanded version of what we've seen before, and is very nice.
ER's first season has, believe it or not, actually been available for quite some time. The caveat: it was only available as an expensive Japanese set, and as our Benevolent Guardians the MPAA would have it, you of course needed an all-region player to play these discs if not in Japan. That said, having seen the first few seasons in that format a few times, I was blown away. The colors were vivid, and while the extras were bare to nonexistent, I was quite pleased with the presentation.
I am not similarly pleased with this domestic set. Firstly, the set is matted into widescreen. We've heard proponents of letterboxing whine (quite justifiably, of course) for absolute years about how pan-and-scan versions of feature films are an absolute abomination. I'd like someone to explain, then, why it's suddenly an acceptable practice to chop the top and bottom off of a TV program to make it look better on widescreen TVs? ERs first few seasons presumably weren't filmed in widescreen, as we're definitely getting less information in certain shots. I'd at least have liked a choice.
Additionally, the picture quality isn't quite up to snuff. In particular, there's TONS of visual garbage in certain scenes (and no, it isn't just my set...I've seen it on other people's). Check "Blizzard" right when Carol is taking the emergency phone in...there's a shot of Haleh which has a hilarious amount of white splotches flickering across it. Other scenes in other episodes are similarly plagued with what could either be dirt on the print or digital glitches, and several scenes seem oddly washed-out. This would be acceptable on a feature film from 30 years ago, but why here? Especially when the Japanese sets generally didn't have these problems? (needless to say, I hope these weren't caused during the matting transfer).
If you've never seen ER before, run run run and get this set. It's far cheaper than most equivalent sets, and well worth the $45 price. If, however, you either own the Japanese set or suspect that better things might come to those who wait...well, you might be better off waiting. I love the episodes, and love the extras, but the suspect picture quality and forced-widescreening (we don't see this being done to the freakin' Simpsons!) take a few points off this set.
on September 7, 2003
Finally, Season One has arrived on DVD! If you are familiar with ER you know all the adjectives used to describe this unique show; Gripping, Stunning, Amazing, etc.
So what does this DVD offer? Well, as the title states, the complete first season. It also includes the 1 1/2 hour pilot. In addition there are behind the scenes, bloopers, the making of, commentaries on three episodes, and more.
As a real fan of ER I have waited for this DVD for some time now. The shows are wonderful to revisit. I am reminded of 'old friends' who have long since left the ER.
I gave up on TV a number of years ago and do not have cable or watch any TV. A family member records the current ER episodes for me and I devour them each time. It is simply outstanding entertainment. The actors, story, music, editing, camera work and sooo much more combine to bring out the very best in entertainment.
The only downside to this DVD comes with the packaging. The DVDs are double sided so you cannot set the DVD down without possibly scratching it. Also, because there is no label on each DVD you need to read the very fine print near the center hole to identify which DVD is # 1, 2, 3, or 4. And the print is even smaller to figure out which side is A/B.
My 5 star rating is based on the quality of the episodes. The extras included with the DVD deserve 4 stars, and the packaging would be only 1 star.
on September 3, 2003
ER is a fast-paced television show created by Michael Crichton to highlight life in hospital emergency rooms. The first season of the episode introduces all of the characters and carries them through some of the initial plots, including the loss of Dr. Benton's (Eriq La Salle) mother and Nurse Hathaway's aborted marriage (Julianna Margulies).
The episode is pretty interesting to watch, but it grows old fast. I'm sure the writers have tried their best to come up with new conditions and new situations in order for the staff to have to do different things, but because the audience really doesn't know what 99% of the disorders are, it probably doesn't matter. All they see is someone come in on a gurney, get a lot of attention, see a lot of blood, and watch the doctors, residents, and nurses fight about everything.
Which leads to the characters and the deeper running story lines. After watching just a couple of episodes the viewer is inevitably going to have to look for something more than just the action of an emergency room to keep their attention. The show tries to grab that attention by creating unique characters whose lives pretty much revolve around their time in the ER. Of course there is also the periodic integration of outside lives with life inside the ER, but unless you have watched the show from the very beginning, sometimes its hard to know what is really going on with the characters. This DVD does do a little to help with that by giving brief bios on each of the characters (not the actors), but I don't think the very brief bios really get to the heart of who these people are supposed to be.
I do have to admit that the acting isn't terrible, but neither is it universally stellar. Strangely I find myself more impressed by the male actors of the show (Noah Wyle - Dr. John Carter; Anthony Edwards - Dr. Mark Greene; George Clooney - Dr. Doug Ross; Eriq La Salle - Dr. Peter Benton) than with the female actors (Laura Innes - Dr. Kerry Weaver; Julianna Margulies - Nurse Carol Hathaway). For the most part the male actors, though not absolute stand outs, are pretty good and fairly consistent. The female actors, however, just seem to rub me the wrong way and aren't nearly as convincing.
When the show originally came out I wasn't all that interested. I was still in high school and had better things to do. Occasionally I would watch a few minutes of an episode here or there if I could find nothing else to watch during my brief interludes with the electronic babysitter, but generally I would watch pretty much anything but ER. From the episodes that I've seen I'm amazed that people that follow the show haven't shown higher rates of suicide than people watching sitcoms (maybe they have, someone should do a study). The show is really rather depressing. Nothing ever seems to go right, people die all of the time, and even the main characters periodically attempt suicide and are always upset with one another or about something. I don't know how anyone can really stick to this show for this reason alone.
So, what we have is a rather repetitive TV show with okay actors that tries to keep the viewers attention by developing underlying story lines for each of the characters but in order to understand the story lines you have to see every single episode.
Assuming that you have followed the series, you will likely find this box set to be a great collection. It has a lot of extras that are fairly well done, including a number of outtakes, interviews, and a lot of behind the scenes information.
Overall, though I'm sure this series has been really interesting to some, unless you follow it closely I think the drama can quickly pass you by. Initial exposure to ER can be pretty shocking, with all of the blood, gore, and sadness that accompanies the quite regular deaths, but once you've seen one person die from myocardio-something or other you've seen about all there is to see. I'm sure die-hard fans of ER will love this box set. But having never been sucked in by the depressing stories that anchor the show, I can't really say that I loved it.
on August 26, 2003
I have been addicted to this series since its first season. As an avid reader, and more recently a nursing student, I've always understood the jargon, which made the show a lot easier to follow than it otherwise would have been, but this past year working as a nurse's aide on a cancer ward drove home just how realistic this show truly is. Posted on a bulletin board at work one day was a list titled "You know you're a nurse when..." that included "...you can't watch ER because it's too much like real life." And that's the simple truth. Every emergency room in every hospital obviously isn't always as hectic and dramatic as this show, but many are, and all are at one time or another. And, taken collectively, true-to-life stories hospital-wide are accurately portrayed, but in the context of an ER so that they can easily be told in the short period of a one hour drama. Being an evening worker on and off over the years, I've missed far too many episodes of this incredible, heartrending, heartwarming show. I welcome this opportunity to buy the entire first season, and I look forward to more seasons being made available. I highly recommend this series for anyone interested in great human and medical drama, and especially for those fans who came to the show in later seasons.
on July 31, 2003
Wow incredible the first season of ER is finally coming to DVD with all of the special features that will be incredible to see. The episode entitled Love Labors Lost is a very heartfelt episode. To me the fact that you have a great episode just focusing on one doctor trying his best to deliver a baby and is unsuccessful delivering and doing the surgery and saving the baby. Then losing the mother in the end that was the saddest part of the episode. Another episode is The Gift that ended the first half of the season is really good but is also sad in the fact that they had a patient coming in with brain damage and is brain dead. They came in to harvest his organs and she did not want to have them harvest his organs. But anyways the first season of ER was awesome because the fact that they won over Chicago Hope the first season was very good and they have been on ever since. Chicago Hope was the only hospital show to get cancelled and not be shown again because the fact it kind of stunk were as ER every week they had a new and exciting episode and they brought in new cast member. This year they brought back and original cast member Sherry Stringfield to reprise her role as Doctor Susan Lewis. That was a very good move for NBC to bring her back because she and Anthony Edwards were the only two cast members to be on their for a while till Anthony Edwards character of Doctor Mark Greene was killed off in 2002 of brain cancer. This is a must have collecters edition DVD for anyone go buy it because they will be flying off the shelves in the ladder part of August.