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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 16 September 2004
I bought this box set because, like many, I got into ER at the start of season 4 and totally missed the first 3 seasons. I am glad I did, this is brilliant.
It only takes about 2 episodes for this first season to get up to speed, and I mean speed. Most people have seen at least one episode of ER and most marvel at the pace of the program. It is constant. I guess we have started to get used to it now after 10 seasons but going back to the start really brings home the pioneering aspects of this first season.
Pioneering why? ER is one of the first TV programmes to not bother to explain everything in minute detail. Who cares if the audience do no know what a 'thoracotomy' or 'blood gas' actually are. They are doctors, they all know it so why waste plot time explaining stuff! Also, the large use of tracking shots (where the camera follows the actors between many scenes without a cut or break) really makes you think that you are in the hospital with them. It turns out after watching the special features that this was to save money, but it is fab!
Each episode is very good blend of serious drama and humour. Who can forget the brilliant comedy characters such as the University 'Behaviour Analyst' who is studying the length of time it takes to annoy someone. There is some brilliant, blink and you will miss them, comedy skits too: the man with the arrow who was waiting for 20 minutes, the sun burn victim, the kid with his head stuck in a stuffed tiger. I could go on! A special mention must go to Noah Wyle who is an excellent comedy actor that seems to have been under used in later seasons as he has become more 'senior'.
Drama wise, there are plenty of on-going threads through the episodes, Greene's relationship with his wife, Lewis's relationship with her sister, Benton's general rubbishness at being nice to people. And of course, Dr Ross's love life. Each episode is well written, never boring and a good balance of drama, action and comedy. A standout episode is the Emmy winning 'Love's Labor Lost'. I am not just saying that because it's the one that won the awards. It is genuinely, in my opinion, the best episode of the season.
The extras are ok. A couple of episode voiceovers and around 5 short featurettes about the making of and behind the scenes. The episode voiceovers were very informative and the featurettes the usual 'I just loved working with so-and-so, he/she was just soooo great' gush-fest. Not bad, but you really ought to be buying this DVD for the programmes!
After a slow, moody and poor (by comparison) season 10 I think the current writers should "go back to the roots" and investigate what made the programme great in the first place. Come on ER writers buy this box set and remember what it was like!
This is must watch TV.
Program: 5 stars
DVD Extras: 3 stars
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