on 9 February 2005
ER's third season sees it return to the top form it was in during its first year. While the second season occasionally floundered, seeming sometimes more like soap opera than medical drama, the third season sees a return to a focus on the hospital and its patients, and how they effect the lives of the series regulars.
The show still has its ongoing storylines - Jeanie's coming to terms with her HIV+ status, the relationship between Benton and recurring guest character Carla, Ross and Hathaway, etc, but these tend not to dominate episodes as they might have in series two, but instead exist almost in the background as the doctors and nurses go about their daily business.
Again, solid performances are turned in by all actors, both series regulars and guest artists, leaving no doubt as to why they were awarded the 1996/97 SAG award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
The DVD transfers are good - again the episodes are presented in widescreen format which looks superb. On a number of episodes though I noticed a thin grey line at the bottom of the screen - possibly evidence of a less-than-stellar transfer. Otherwise both audio and picture quality are good and suffer no major problems.
There are not a great number of extras in this box set, what there is however follows the trend set down by the previous two season releases: an out-takes reel, a few deleted scenes, and two fairly interesting documentaries - one episode-specific (Fear of Flying) and one general (The Nurses Station). Also included is very interesting and so all-too-short Easter Egg documentary on the fake blood used in the show, and audio commentaries on two episodes which (unlike season two's commentaries) are both interesting and entertaining and so well worth a listen. The "ER Game Trailer" listed on the packaging does not seem to be on any of my discs, although I don't think of that as any great loss.
It's great to see this show - especially its early years when it was at its peak - making it on to DVD, I only wish they'd speed up the production a little and release them faster...after all, we still have eight seasons to go until we're caught up!
on 14 April 2007
ER Series 3 Cast: Anthony Edwards (Dr. Mark Greene); George Clooney (Dr. Doug Ross); Sherry Stringfield (Dr. Susan Lewis - until 3.8); Noah Wyle (Dr. John Carter); Julianna Margulies (Nurse Carol Hathaway); Gloria Reuben (PA Jeanie Boulet); Laura Innes (Dr. Kerry Weaver); Eriq La Salle (Dr. Peter Benton)
The third season of ER (Sep. 26-1996-May 15, 1997) returns the show to the more technical feel of the first season, but with a deft balance with the personal matters facing the leading characters. It showcases all the finest elements of the first two series - originality, emotion, excellent craft, and an inimitable mix of drama and humour - while pointing in the direction of the series to come.
Each character has their fair share of trials and tribulations this season. Greene (Anthony Edwards) throws himself into the dating game again, enjoying notable relationships with Nurse Chuny Marquez (Laura Ceron) and Dr. Nina Pomerantz (recurring Season 3 star Jami Gertz), but also struggling to juggle work with fatherhood to eight-year-old daughter Rachel (Yvonne Zima.) In the final episodes of the season, Greene has to confront some issues after being viciously attacked in the men's bathroom in "Random Acts."
Ross' (George Clooney) lifestyle gets drastically out of hand until he gets a wake-up call in "Last Call," where one of his conquests dies from a drug overdose. For the rest of the season, Ross stays out of romantic entanglement and spends more time focusing on his patients; in this season, the real integrity of Ross comes through, particularly in his dealings with recurring Season 3 character Charlie (Kirsten Dunst.)
The first main cast member to leave is Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) in "Union Station." Lewis and Greene's would-be romance is wonderfully hinted at during the eight episodes where both characters appear, but it became apparent in Season 2 with the loss of baby Susie that Lewis' heart was elsewhere. For the rest of the season, she is missed but the pace quickens rapidly as the show moves on with its storylines and character development.
Carter (Noah Wyle) goes through some big transformations in this season, enjoying a surprising and memorable romance with Paediatric Surgeon Abby Keaton (recurring Season 3 star Glenne Headly (3.3-3.11), and developing his relationship with Benton. His surgical work is demanding, and by the season's end he is having doubts about his career path, butting heads with Chief of Staff Anspaugh (John Aylward.) Wyle's performance is excellent this season, establishing himself firmly as one of the series' finest actors.
Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) is concerned that she is holding herself back, and considers becoming a doctor. But she soon realises that her job lies in being a nurse, although she has her fair share of difficulties as she becomes a member of the hospital management - her nurses stage a "sickout" in protest of cut hours, and a costly error jeopardises her career. Arguably her most memorable moment is the entire episode "The Long Way Around" with guest star Ewan McGregor, the season's most iconic episode and one of the entire series' landmarks, in the way "Love's Labor Lost" and "Hell and High Water" had been for the prior two seasons.
Boulet (Gloria Reuben) is confirmed as being HIV positive and faces a dilemma about whether to tell her colleagues; the early episodes of the season revolve around the hospital protocol surrounding the matter. Her relationship with ex-husband Al (Michael Beach) undergoes some surprising twists and turns, and she also finds a romantic interest in Dr. Greg Fischer (recurring Season 3 star Harry J. Lennix). Jeannie also finds a firm friend in Weaver (Laura Innes), who reveals a much softer side this season as she grows in popularity as a new Attending.
Benton (Eriq La Salle) has a number of the season's biggest storylines, with his career ambitions seriously questioned by the tragedy involving one of his surgical students, Gant (recurring Season 3 star Omar Epps), his difficulties with Keaton, and especially his unexpected entry into fatherhood, which threatens to seriously affect his career. The season ends with Benton and the mother of his child, Carla Reece (Lisa Nicole Carson), on tenterhooks.
The extras on the DVD package are insightful and interesting, with a documentary about the memorable "Fear of Flying" episode, two audio commentaries, outtakes and a gag reel, and a short piece about the role of the nurses in the ER, which is very significant - in each episode, the nurses provide much of the emotion and passion, and the early series of ER are unthinkable without the likes of Haleh (Yvette Freeman), Chuny (Laura Ceron), or Lydia (Ellen Crawford) among others. This season is one of the series' best and most memorable, with all the high production values we have come to expect from the writers, directors, editors, and producers. It features a group of important new arrivals, including the warm Carla and the feisty, funny Maggie Doyle (Jorjan Fox.) As with the previous two seasons, highly recommended.
Key Episodes: "Fear of Flying" (3.6); "Union Station" (3.8); "Homeless for the Holidays" (3.10); "The Long Way Around" (3.15); "Random Acts" (3.20)
Memorable Patients/Other: Charlie (Kirsten Dunst, recurring); Eileen Brennan (Carter's neighbour Betty); Gail (Cecil Hoffman, 3.6); CF patient Jad Houston (Chad Lindberg); Louise Cupertino (Louise C. Brown, 3.16)
Notable Arrivals: Carla Reece (Lisa Nicole Carson, 3.1); Chief of Staff Donald Anspaugh (John Aylward, 3.2); Dr Maggie Doyle (Jorjan Fox, 3.3); Nurse Kit (Bellina Logan, 3.6); Dr Anna Del Amico (Maria Bello, 3.20)
Exits: Shep (Ron Eldard, 3.1); Lewis (Sherry Stringfield, 3.8); the underused Nurse Wendy Goldman (Vanessa Marquez, 3.19); E-Ray (Charles Noland, 3.22)
on 6 May 2005
This series compaired to season 1+2 is the best so far, the lives of the Docs'nurses...etc are brilliantly balanced with the plights of individual patients! Standout episodes include 'Random Acts' when Mark Greene is the victim instead of Doctor. The continution of Mark's storyline, Benton's relationship with Carla, the departure of Susan, Jenine coming to terms with her HIV, and Carter emerging as the great doctor he is in later series...
Overall money well spend
on 26 September 2013
I can't officially say whether or not this is my favourite series overall as i've only seen the episodes which have been repeated on sky atlantic, however whether my opinion on that changes or not- this completely deserves it's 5 star rating. From Carter's decision to become an ER doctor, Jeanie's struggle with HIV, Susan's exit, Mark's vicious attack, the brilliant hostage episode 'The long way around' and many more, this series will not have you bored for a second. I highly reccommend it.