After 14 Years, 'ER' Still Delivers Solid Drama


14 years ago I started watching NBC's ER. 14 years later I'm still watching. Despite Marc Berman's continual trashing of the show in his MediaWeek column and his urging NBC to cancel, the show continues to shine. It's had its ups and downs but it continues to deliver solid, entertaining drama.

Last night's episode really stood out. After a nine-year absence, Gloria Reuben's Jeannie Boulet character made an appearance with her son who, as she did many years ago, suffers from HIV and was treated by Dr. Pratt who was undergoing difficulty maintaining his status as chief of the ER.

It's probably not politically correct to note (not that we even noticed until a good way into the episode) that every major character in this particular episode was African-American but it's certainly worth noting. This episode was one of the series' best in a long time. It was joyous to view references to characters as far back as George Clooney's Dr. Ross and Julianna Margulies' nurse Carol Hathaway (who are now married and have kids).

As good as certain shows are, after 14 years it's hard to maintain Gossip Girl-like hype. Hype simply doesn't last 14 years. But that doesn't make it OK to trash the show simply because it doesn't place in the top 20 each week.

It still carries solid ratings. People watch it every week. It'll never recapture the top five position of its early days, but that doesn't make it unworthy of watching. If last night's episode is any indication, the show's got plenty of creative juice left and it could certainly best Gunsmoke's 20 year run.

by Steve Hall    Jan- 3-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Good, Opinion, Television   

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"ER" was the lesser of the two hospital dramas that premiered back then. And "Chicago Hope" wasn't even very good. But at least it wasn't the boring, pedestrian soap opera (spruced up by production values and shiny blood) that ER was and continues to be.

Gunsmoke is actually an apt comparison. That was textbook pap too.

Posted by: B on January 5, 2008 12:10 PM