GREY’S ANATOMY: COMPLETE NINTH SEASON
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Ellen Pompeo as MEREDITH GREY
Sandra Oh as CHRISTINA YANG
Justin Chambers as ALEX KAREV
Chandra Wilson as MIRANDA BAILEY
Patrick Dempsey as DEREK SHEPHERD
Sara Ramirez as CALLIE TORRES
Jessica Capshaw as ARIZONA ROBBINS
Kevin McKidd as OWEN HUNT
Jesse Williams as JACKSON AVERY
Sarah Drew as APRIL KEPNER
James Pickens, Jr. as RICHARD WEBBER
Studio: ABC Studios
Created by: Shonda Rimes
BY KEVIN CARR
The nicest thing I can say about “Grey’s Anatomy” is that it’s impressive the series has made it through nine seasons. That’s not a minor accomplishment in television. While there are literally dozens of series that have made it that far, the prime time dial is a mine field of many, many more that never even came close. So, that’s a testament to the fans of the series, even if this show has been grinding on my nerves for the better part of a decade.
The ninth season opens with the aftermath of a plane crash that culled the herd of sexy doctors from Seattle Grace Hospital. We lost Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and Mark Sloan (Eric Dane), and there was a greater impact on Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) because she lost her legs in the accident. The drama gets more tense beyond the crash as legal teams come in to assess the damage – and the blame. The hospital gets thrown into jeopardy, until a painfully unrealistic and total deus ex machina solution is provided. (But don’t worry, this seemingly perfect solution comes with some down-sides of its own.)
The interpersonal drama continues with Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) taking a back seat, and that’s just as well. Their drama has dominated earlier seasons enough, and the show spreads it around to others. We see more development of the younger doctors like Kepner (Sarah Drew) and Jackson (Jesse Williams), but unfortunately it’s a lot of retread drama from earlier seasons with Grey and the gang.
Like previous seasons, when “Grey’s Anatomy” focuses on the medical challenge of the week, it’s not a terrible show. However, it’s when the soap opera aspect of the series takes over, trying to force a meaningful and drama-filled story for each week on one of the doctors, the series becomes a real strain.
The main source of overwriting comes from Arizona Robbins’ storyline, which pours every possible cliche about losing a limb on demonstratively thick. I’m not questioning the reality of the emotional angst that many amputees have faced. Instead, I’m pointing a finger at weak, self-important writing. Every episode featuring Arizona struggling to walk or transition back into her former life becomes potential Emmy clip, to the point it becomes a joke instead. The final resolution for this season with the character is so painfully against character and forced in order to extend series drama that it’s practically unwatchable.
The biggest problem I have with the series continues to be something that Shonda Rimes seems to season all of her programming with. Rimes appears to be a perfectly pleasant individual in interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. However, her and showrunner Betsy Beers must have a depressing outlook on life. I’m all for friendly and professional competition, but people in their shows can just be such assholes to each other. It’s thinly masked with the assertion that surgeons are the most competitive people on the planet and have been since the beginning of time and will never be topped in their competitive nature from now until eternity. However, I call shenanigans. Being competitive is fine. Being assholes makes bad characters.
Still, there are fans out there, but this is likely the same group of people that love watching reality TV and celebrity gossip, which features people whose lives are a bigger mess (even with all their other advantages of physical beauty and often wealth) than those average folks watching them.
The special features on the DVD are not plentiful but decent for a series that has made its way into a ninth DVD set. These include deleted scenes, outtakes and two featurettes: “Happy Trails with Jim Pickens, Jr.” and “The Long Road Home,” with the latter explaining (read as: justifying) the character decisions of Arizona Robbins this season.