"e.r.: THE COMPLETE TWELFTH SEASON" DVD Review by Kevin Carr
MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Goran Visnjic as LUKA KOVAC
Maura Tierney as ABBY LOCKHART
Mekhi Phifer as GREGORY PRATT
Parminder Nagra as NEELA RASGOTRA
Linda Cardellini as SAMANTHA TAGGART
Shane West as RAY BARNETT
Scott Grimes as ARCHIE MORRIS
Laura Innes as KERRY WEAVER
Available on DVD January 12 erTV.com
Studio: Warner Bros.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
In the continuing drama of the emergency room at County General Hospital in Chicago, we see some new faces and say good-bye to others. Luka and Samantha (Goran Visnjic and Linda Cardellini) see their relationship challenged while Dr. Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) comes to terms with his estranged family, which leads him into professional problems. Abby Lockhart (Maura Tierney) continues to climb her way up the ranks of the ER as a medical doctor, then is in for a surprise of her own. Neela Rasgotra (Parminder Nagra) finds her own challenges with a long-distance and long-term relationship.
WHAT I LIKED
I never watched “e.r.” regularly in its initial run – not ever through its fourteen years and scores of Emmy nominations. I’ve come to it near the end of its run on DVD, so I’m not weighted down with the nostalgia of the early seasons that launched the career of George Clooney. In this sense, there is a feeling that I’m watching the show with the second and third string cast.
Still, if you like hospital drama, this show has plenty of that. It’s different from the current medical hits “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” in that it is less of a week-to-week smoochy soap opera and more of a gritty and realistic medical show. It’s not the disease-of-the-week, or as the aforementioned “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” have become, the medical-freak-out-of-the-week.
Instead, “e.r.” tells the stories of its doctors, for better or for worse. It attempts to show them as real people rather than caricatures of themselves of glamorous McDoctors that you’ll find slapped on the cover of “People Weekly.” Sure, it’s still a hospital staff of good looking people (with a few ugly nurses thrown in), but the spirit of the show seems to be about people and their problems rather than who’s banging who in the on-call room.
Although the series was winding down at this point, the show pulled out some stops with some decent guest stars. You have John Leguizamo as the new ER Attending, Danny Glover as Dr. Pratt’s dad and a special episode dedicated to a storyline around James Woods. And let’s not forget a couple episode in Africa featuring the return of Noah Wylie.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The problem I had with Season 12 is the same I had with Season 11 when I watched it a few months ago... I really don’t like any of the characters. Some of them are more incompetent or soft (like Archie Morris), and others are downright jerks (like Dr. Pratt). Most of their wounds are self-inflicted, though this seems to be the appeal for a show featuring beautiful people with lucrative jobs who just can’t keep their lives together.
This season also featured a heavy dose of “ripped from the headlines” stories. You had Dr. Carter’s storyline in Darfur. You had Dr. Rasgotra’s storyline with her in love with an Iraq War veteran. You had Dr. Pratt and his family facing an array of racial issues. Like so many shows do, this season, “e.r.” hit you over the head with the issues.
Like the previous season, the only special features are “Outpatient Outtakes” for most of the episodes, which are the “e.r.” term for deleted scenes.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who love 500 cc’s of drama every week and some cool guest stars.