Note: the following synopsis contains brief spoilers. Only read this first section if you know have happens in season four.
Nominated for 25 Golden Globes and 110 Emmys, including 7 for Outstanding Drama Series, ER has long been one of the best prime-time shows on television. Premiering in September 1994 on NBC, the hour-long hospital drama vividly illustrates the intensity and fast-paced stress endemic to hospital emergency rooms across America. Brought into being by Michael Crichton – famous Hollywoo… insider, novelist, and brains behind such films as Jurassic Park, Twister, and Timeline – ER fulfills its creator’s ultimate vision (it took over a decade of pitching the show before network executives bit) for a close-to-life glimpse of the technology and the humanity omnipresent in the ER. Since its inception, many cast members have passed through the halls of ER, many of them having gone on to become big stars in Hollywood.
ER follows the exploits of a group of emergency room staff who work in a busy Chicago hospital. The show attempts to examine every detail of the ER experience. From the exhilaration of saving a life to the tedium caused by mountains of paperwork, all the highs and lows are covered. In the show’s first year, a number of regular faces staffed the ER. Doctors Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards), Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle), Douglas Ross (George Clooney), and Susan Lewis (Sherri Stringfield) were regulars in the ER along with Head Nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) and Benton’s medical student understudy (and later ER doctor), John Carter (Noah Wyle)… Any given episode tends to run multiple plot lines throughout the show, interweaving scenes in short snippets intended to heighten audience emotion and create the aura of a stress-laden atmosphere. The show’s high drama, coupled with subplots of the staffers’ personal lives and the display of cutting edge medical technology, combine to make ER one of most adrenaline-inducing programs in television history.
ER Season 4 features a number of dramatic episodes including the season premiere “Ambush” in which the ER is put in the spotlight when it’s chosen as the site for the filming of television documentary. Trauma specialist Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston) joins the staff of the ER while Carter begins his residency. Meanwhile, the usual tragic cases pour into the ER, such as a man left paralyzed after trying to break up a gangland fight. Other notable episodes from Season 4 include “Fathers and Sons” in which Doug travels to California to settle his father’s estate while Mark goes with him to visit his San Diego family for the first time in years, and “A Bloody Mess” in which Dr. Corday performs an experimental procedure on a patient without getting the required permissions first.
Take a handful of excellent actors, interesting plots, time-gripping episodes and add them all together. What do you get? Quite simply you get the formula one needs for a solid Television series. ER is one of the best shows available on Televisions currently mainly because the show is incredibly addicting that you don’t want to stop watching for one moment. ER The Complete Fourth Season is easily one of the best seasons of the show. Do yourself the favor and sit down and watch this season. You won’t regret it.
Below is a list of episodes included on the ER: The Complete Fourth Season DVD Box Set:
- Episode 71 (Ambush) Air Date: 09-25-1997
- Episode 72 (Something New) Air Date: 10-02-1997
- Episode 73 (Friendly Fire) Air Date: 10-09-1997
- Episode 74 (When the Bough Breaks) Air Date: 10-16-1997
- Episode 75 (Good Touch, Bad Touch) Air Date: 10-30-1997
- Episode 76 (Ground Zero) Air Date: 11-06-1997
- Episode 77 (Fathers and Sons) Air Date: 11-13-1997
- Episode 78 (Freak Show) Air Date: 11-20-1997
- Episode 79 (Obstruction of Justice) Air Date: 12-11-1997
- Episode 80 (Do You See What I See?) Air Date: 12-18-1997
- Episode 81 (Think Warm Thoughts) Air Date: 01-08-1998
- Episode 82 (Sharp Relief) Air Date: 01-15-1998
- Episode 83 (Carter’s Choice) Air Date: 01-29-1998
- Episode 84 (Family Practice) Air Date: 02-05-1998
- Episode 85 (Exodus) Air Date: 02-26-1998
- Episode 86 (My Brother’s Keeper) Air Date: 03-05-1998
- Episode 87 (A Bloody Mess) Air Date: 04-09-1998
- Episode 88 (Gut Reaction) Air Date: 04-16-1998
- Episode 89 (Shades of Gray) Air Date: 04-23-1998
- Episode 90 (Of Past Regret and Future Fear) Air Date: 04-30-1998
- Episode 91 (Suffer the Little Children) Air Date: 04-07-1998
- Episode 92 (A Hole in the Heart) Air Date: 05-14-1998
Even though E.R. was originally broadcasted in fullscreen, the video here is a fabulous 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen. There is absolutely no breakup or any signs of dirt or blemishes. Color levels seem to be good overall even though the main setting of the hospital is rather dark in appearance. The only real fault in this transfer is that a majority of the blacks look pretty poor in comparison to the brighter colors like white, which are stunning. A solid video transfer overall.
E.R. is presented with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. Despite this being a two-channel mix, the overall response was pretty good. We get to hear of all the hustling of the doctors and nurses hurrying around the halls and working on patients. Voices are very strong and clear with little to no distortion. This is extremely important in some of the more hectic scenes where a lot of noise is occurring. Just like the video, this is a solid audio track.
We get a plentiful amount of special feature on this season set!
- Anatomy of an Ambush(20:08): Here we get how the cast and crew planned each moment meticulously for weeks and weeks on end. Originally the thought of doing a live episode was thought of during the first season to simply refresh the show and bring in new audiences. We see more interviews and comments from the cast and crew behind the episode with each commenting on their overall contribution to the episode. Pretty interesting feature.
- Live Post Show – How Cast and Crew Wound Down After Ambush Aired (11:57): Here we get a lot of post-show interviews with the cast and crew after the Live episode. News-Crews speak to each actor asking how they thought of the concept of the episode and how they pulled off the episode. Mistakes were made, but they didn’t care. Tons of accolades were given to everyone. A standard post-party celebration.
- OutPatient Outtakes: Here we get a host of different outtakes from the episode Of Past Regret and Future Fear. First up we get Why’d You Bring Him. Second we get Extreme “Sport”. Lastly, we get I Thought I Was Starting a New Life. All the these outtakes (most are very short at around 1 minute) take a more serious note to the original scene with most of the scenes involving the doctors suggesting their patients change something big in there lives.
- CutUps: Gag Reel (10:21): Here we get your standard gag-reels from various episodes. I found it funny how each time they messed up they added ‘I Love You’ at the mess-up point. Somewhat interesting feature if you enjoy seeing actors messing up.
- Deleted Scenes: There are a handful of deleted scenes on many of the episodes. All of the scenes can be accessed on the respective special feature menus on each disc that the episode is on.
It is not really necessary to tell E.R. fans if this is worth the money. At a mere MSRP of $39.99 (can be found for cheaper if you look around), this is an absolute steal for the quality of the show. Many other studios should take the hint from the E.R and start to lower their box set prices. Enough of that rant though, the Fourth Season boasts many incredible episodes with equaling good acting. With only a few other shows on Television being this good and with a solid Video and Audio transfer, E.R: The Complete Fourth Season comes highly recommended for those who enjoy high quality television.
Special Features List
- Two intense examinations of the historic live season opener, “Ambush”: Anatomy of an Ambush, live post show
- Outpatient outtakes: deleted scenes
- Cutups: gag reel