ER: The Complete Seventh Season – DVD Review

Available at: Amazon.com

Creator

Michael Crichton

Cast

Noah Wyle Dr. John Carter
Laura Innes Dr. Kerry Weaver
Laura Céron Nurse Chuny Marquez
Anthony Edwards Dr. Mark Greene
Eriq La Salle Dr. Peter Benton
Goran Visnjic Dr. Luka Kovac

DVD Release Date: May 15, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 978 Minutes on 6 discs

The Show

The entire crew of the most famous emergency room in all of history continued to grow into a really big dysfunctional family in season seven, even though some knew their time was coming to an end. A lot of the actors saw their personas progress, while others watched as they shot off into entirely different directions. And with a cast of close to twenty main characters, ER continued showcase each one with their own plot line and enough time to make them work.

The seventh season stayed strong bringing about some interesting continuations over from season six, especially Dr. John Carter’s addiction to prescription pain medication from the stab wound he suffered in the ER. Depression soon followed along with the pills to help him feel better, and in this season we see his treatment to try and curb his addiction. He’s already gone through rehab and now is trying to get back into the fast-paced swing of things at work, but it isn’t as easy as he expected. His friendship with recovering alcoholic Abby Lockhart does start easing him back into things a bit even though she has problems of her own. Due to her ex-husband not paying her medical school tuition; she must sit out of school a while and loses her spot in the ER.

Problems continue for other members of the ER as well. A fan favorite, Dr. Mark Greene is starting to see his relationship with surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Corday grow even stronger. They get engaged and Dr. Corday soon becomes pregnant and all seems so very well in their world. But Dr. Greene’s increasing headaches turn out to be much worse than expected when a brain tumor is revealed. By far my favorite character on the show, Dr. Greene is a primary focus this season and for good reasons. Going through the happy and wonderful times of love and becoming a father all the way through the anger and sadness of his illness; it’s like riding an emotional rollercoaster with him throughout each episode.

It’s not like it becomes all sunshine and roses after that either. Dr. Peter Benton goes through everything imaginable from saving his nephew from a gunshot wound all the way up to losing his job. Benton didn’t get along too well with Chief of Staff Robert Romano and due to stubbornness on both ends, the lower branch on the totem pole lost. Benton loses his job and ends up struggling trying to find another one due to the not so kind words laid in his files from Mr. Romano. Cleo Finch is also trying to keep a steady relationship with Benton, but finds it difficult to get much of his attention when it is all focused on his arguments with Romano.

Everyone is up in arms all season because trying to balance a personal life while dealing with the fifty or sixty lives that are in your hands daily. If you don’t work in the medical field, this is as close as a lot of us are going to get to seeing how their lives run. Sure you could watch the reality medical shows on TLC or Discovery Health, but you’d get only the operating room and not the drama that goes on in the doctor’s actual personal lives.

The best episode this season by far is what starts a running storyline with Abby and that’s “The Visit,” which guest stars Sally Field. Field plays Abby’s mother Maggie. Maggie is bi-polar and just makes Abby’s life that much more complicated, and I must say that Field does an excellent job – she did end up winning an Emmy for her role. I guess playing Sybil all those years ago paid off in the long run. Abby’s character really becomes a big focal point this season in dealing with her ex-husband, Dr. Carter, and especially her mother. And it is simply amazing the way the creators of ER can keep a great plot like Abby dealing with her mother going on from one fantastic episode all the way up to her trying to get Maggie committed in “Fear Of Commitment.” It’s as if not a single beat is missed and the entire show is about the Lockhart family, but in reality we are watching fifteen other lives get turned upside down by their own troubles.

It really is simply impossible to try and discuss everything that goes on during any one season of ER, but it is easy to say that it’s a show that withstands the tests of time. Every season is fast-paced, but not in a rush to get to the end as we take all of the doctor’s lives one day at a time just as we live ours. Season seven brings about some of the major storylines that would play out in great detail over the next couple years. Abby really comes to the forefront while Dr. Greene begins his slow dissipation into obscurity. Those were by far the two main characters this season, but by no means should that take away from anyone else and all the hell they went through. The seventh season is just as exciting as the first six and only leads you to wanting more from the good people who just may save our lives someday.

Episodes

Disc One:

Homecoming
Sand And Water
Mars Attacks
Benton Backwards

Disc Two:

Flight Of Fancy
The Visit
Rescue Me
The Dance We Do

Disc Three:

The Greatest Of Gifts
Piece Of Mind
Rock, Paper, Scissors

Disc Four:

Surrender
They Will Be Done
A Walk In The Woods
The Crossing

Disc Five:

Witch Hunt
Survival Of The Fittest
April Showers
Sailing Away

Disc Six:

Fear Of Commitment
Where The Heart Is
Rampage

The Video

The episodes are seen in an Anamorphic Widescreen format just as they were when they first aired. All looks great. The colors are bright where they need to be and the shadows cast great darkness for the more gloomy situations. The one thing you may or may not notice is small jumps in the DVDs from time to time. At first I thought maybe there was a scratch on the disc I was watching, but after checking it out and also seeing it in multiple episodes, I realize it must be the transfer. Other then those small things, a flawless viewing pleasure just as the other seasons were.

The Audio

The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Sound and sound fantastic. The use of the surround sound is excellent as every single beep of a machine or gasp for air can be heard from all sides as you watch the action on screen and pay attention to the main conversation. Never too loud and not too soft, everything comes through perfectly.

Special Features

Outpatient Outtakes – Almost every episode in the set has one of these and they are the deleted scenes. Nothing much is taken away by cutting the scenes so it’s not like they were anything momentous or for some big occurrence in the story as a whole, but they still make for a good watch.

Cutups: Gag Reel – Your basic gag reel coming in at right under ten minutes and it’s an enjoyable feature so you might as well watch it real fast. The messed-up lines are there but it’s the incessant laughter and physical prop gags that really are sure to draw the biggest laughs.

The Inside Pulse

Surely at some point or another you’ve seen an episode of ER. Maybe you enjoyed it and picked up on the show or maybe you saw it once and then forgot about it. But if you’ve only seen one episode or are a big fan, you should pick up this set. It’s one of the better storytelling shows on television now and in the past decade or two for that matter. The extras are slim, but what’s missing there is made up in the quality of every single episode. Do yourself and favor and enjoy some good old fashioned mental disorders, drug addiction, tumors, and relationships all while people lay dying and blood is shooting into their eyes. You just can’t go wrong with that.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
ER: The Complete Seventh Season
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

9
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

9
THE EXTRAS

4.5
REPLAY VALUE

7.5
OVERALL
8.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)