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ER - back on form
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!