It is 1994, and both ER and Chicago Hope premier in hopes to win the battle for Hospital drama supremacy on primetime TV. Fast forward to today, and the winner of this battle has been clearly decided; Chicago Hope had six successful seasons before getting cancelled after the 2000 season, while ER has become the most successful Hospital drama in TV history. While ER is currently in its 11th season, we now rewind to 1997, to the shows third season.
So what is this show about? Here is a…brief series synopsis from Warner Brothers… “Combining the extraordinary talents of multiple award-winning producer John Wells, best-selling author Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg, “ER” follows the lives of the emergency room staff and doctors at Chicago’s County General Hospital, where the difference between life and death rests on split-second decisions–and the pressure, joy and guilt are often overwhelming.”
So what do you get in season three? Here are some season three highlights courtesy of Warner Brothers… “Greene (Anthony Edwards) is the victim of a violent attack, Ross (George Clooney) tries to get his personal life in order, Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) takes the MCAT, Benton (Eriq La Salle) takes on the toughest surgical elective, and Carter (Noah Wyle) takes a bold step towards a new career path. These and other stories overlap the day-in, day-out turmoil of life on the frontlines of medicine.”
The third season of ER was originally broadcast in a standard 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio, but each episode has been re-formatted into a very nice 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer for this DVD release. The transfer comes across very nicely, with good colors and accurate skin tones. The image is free from most defects found in television programming, but a few minor cases of edge enhancements were noticeable. Even though the source material is now 8 years old, the quality looks as good as many of today’s programs.
A 5.1 audio track would have gone very nicely with the clean anamorphic transfer, but all we get here is a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. This track is still very good, with good use of the soundstage, clean and accurate dialog, and minimal audio issues. This track is all that this show requires, but I still would have loved to hear a 5.1 mix.
Two audio commentaries are included in this third season set. First up, we get Director Felix Enrique Acala, writer Neal Baer, Editor Jaque Toberen, actors Noah Wyle & Veronica Cartwright sharring their thoughts on “Who’s Appy Now?” This track is quite entertaining, with the whole commentary team joining in on the fun. You will learn a good amount from this track… it is worth a listen. Next up is Director Tom Moore and Editor Kevin Casey adding commentary to “Union Station”. This track, while not as entertaining as the aforementioned, is still very good and informative.
There are two other main extras found in this set, both being new documentaries: “ER Specialists: Fear of Flying” (16:53) & “The Nurses Station” (16:16). “ER Specialists” features interviews from the cast and crew about the Emmy-winning “Fear of Flying” episode. “The Nurses Station” includes interviews from a collection of actors (who all played nurses) on their thoughts and memories from the show.
Lastly, we gets some fun smaller extras, including a “CUTups” gag reel, “Outpatient Outtakes” deleted scenes, and an “ER Game Trailer “.
Season three is right when ER starts to become the blockbuster television series that it has turned out to be. Both the actors and the themes are all great, captivating the shows viewers. This set look and sounds very good, and the extras as also worth a watch. This set is recommended to all who like a good dramatic television series.
Special Features List
- Commentary by the directors, writers and actors on two episodes: “Union Station” and “Whose Appy Now?”
- Outpatient outtakes: deleted scenes
- Gag reel
- “The Nurses Station” featurette: Discover why the nursing station is the “heart” of the E.R. with poignant commentary from many of the nursing cast
- E.R. Specialists – “Fear of Flying” featurette: Understand the emotions, characters and storylines behind the making of this monumental episode from the director’s, producer’s and cast’s perspective
- “Bloodwork” Easter egg: Special effects crew reveals the TV magic behind the fake blood used in the ER
- ER video game trailer