Grey’s Anatomy had one heck of a year in its seventh season. The season begins with the aftermath of the shooting in the hospital that closed out the previous year. It’s taken a toll, particularly on Dr. Webber who is catching a ton of heat for the incident. But it isn’t that story arc that dominated the talk of the 2010-11 season over at ABC. It was the long anticipated and critically acclaimed musical episode that stole the spotlight this year.
Buffy did it years ago, and it turned out to be quite an entertaining event. More recently Scrubs took a stab, pun intended, at the idea with more mixed results. Grey’s ended up taking one of the show’s most emotional stories and putting it to music. Callie, played by Sara Ramirez, is in a terrible accident, and in her delusional-unconscious state she sees the events around her as a musical production. The entire cast gets to sing, and the results are surprisingly good. It doesn’t hurt that this was a well-written episode, indeed.
Grey’s Anatomy follows the life and tribulations of a group of doctors and interns at Seattle Grace Hospital. There’s certainly nothing original about the premise, except that the story is told by one of the more unlikely characters, Dr. Meredith Grey (Pompeo). As a lead she’s really not all that remarkable, but the show doesn’t put everything on her narrow shoulders. The series is populated by a solid supporting cast, giving it all a far more ensemble feel despite the title. James Pickens, Jr. is perhaps the most extraordinary actor in the show. He’s underused, but steals every scene he’s in. His Dr. Webber is a powerfully serious voice in an otherwise often frivolous world. Chandra Wilson as the once-intern teacher Dr. Baily is another standout performance, offering tremendous range. Her character, often referred to as a Nazi by her interns, is capable of outstanding empathy just when it’s required. Too many of the characters serve as eye candy, but I can’t say that any of them don’t have some good acting chops. The show is also populated by Patrick Dempsey as the “McDreamy” Doctor Shepherd. Rome’s Kevin McKidd as ex-Army doctor Owen Hunt who is recovering from psychological trauma from his days in combat. Jessica Capshaw is the always bright and cheery Dr. Arizona Robbins, who runs the hospital’s pediatric unit. She’s an item with rough-around-the-edges Callie. The hospital’s cosmetic surgeon and resident playboy is Mark Sloan, played by Eric Dane. This is the sleazy guy that fans love to boo and hiss at. Chyler Leigh plays Lexie, Meredith’s young and often too-optimistic sister.
Each episode of Grey’s Anatomy is presented in a sweet 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Again, I can’t compare to broadcast versions of the series, but these DVD transfers are quite nice. The sharpness is excellent. Black levels are well above average for television, even in the HD age. Colors aren’t necessarily bright at all, but remain constant and solid throughout. Flesh tones are dead-on reference.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is more aggressive than I expected going in. There are not a lot of dynamic opportunities for an audio track to particularly shine here, but it does a wonderful job of immersing the viewer in the show. The plentiful musical numbers are well placed, usually not interfering with the action. Dialog is always easy to hear, and placement is spot on. Not much for the subs here, but who cares?
Audio Commentaries: There are a few episodes sporting engaging tracks with cast and crew members.
Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy: Unaired Scenes: You guessed it. There are a few deleted scenes for your continued enjoyment.
In Stitches – Season Seven Outtakes: The typical goofs and goofing around is what you get out of this 3-minute piece.
Extended Episodes, including the music episode.
The Music Event – Behind The Scenes: (14:57) Nice in-depth look at the development of the musical episode.
There is word that Grey’s is heading into its final season. I’m not sure if there is any truth behind it, but until I saw this release I might have agreed that it’s about time. But there’s been a resurgence on the series this year. Stories are tighter, and there’s far more emotional pathos to the characters then there might have ever been before. I once would have predicted this one was on its last legs. “It’s back. It’s bigger. It’s better.”