Gone but not forgotten, ER continues to roll out the DVD releases of the venerable series (and by “venerable” we mean now creaking along, but not so far gone as to put out of its misery). By now, the show is like an old friend that you don’t mind hanging around. We’re used to its familiar rhythms:
-unusual cases: we see an aquarium worker with a live shark latched to him, a blind woman and her guide miniature horse, a college boy with an arrow in his stomach, etc.
-notable guest stars: Ray Liotta (Unlawful Entry, Goodfellas) plays Charlie Metcalf in the episode Time of Death, which played out in real time (the last 44 minutes of Charlie’s life) – garnering him the 2005 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. Red Buttons returns as Jules “Ruby” Rubadoux, a role he reprises from Season 2, a widower still blaming Carter (Noah Wyle) for his wife’s death.
-cast turnover: Dr. Corday (Alex Kingston) and Chen (Ming-Na) try to balance the rigors of both work and family, with Elizabeth departing in the episode Fear and Chen in Twas the Night. Carter leaves, ostensibly to join Kem (Thandie Newton) in Africa. Ray Barnett (Shane West) joins the cast as a young doctor by day and a rock star by night. Every bit as ridiculous a character as he sounds.
-complicated relationships: Abby (Maura Tierney) has finally realized her dream of becoming a doctor, but her journey is overshadowed by the usual mix of tangled love lives that play such an integral part in ER. Sam (Linda Cardellini) and Luka (Goran Visnjic) continue their shaky relationship. Neela (Parminder Nagra) gets closer to Gallant (Sharif Atkins). And on and on it goes.
We all suffer the pain of our infirmities, our handicaps should remind us of our own weakness. Along with these broken bodies we need to seek cures, seek doctors. Doctors aren’t here to help the healthy, but the sick. People go to doctors because they are perceived to have the knowledge to treat what ails us, yet they are no more healed than the rest of us. They have problems, health or personal or otherwise, and are every bit as wounded. Yet we still go to them, these wounded healers. The thing about wounded healers is that they know what to ask for. They understand the pain so intimately, they know when the pain meds aren’t working. This mission statement is true of all of us: We are not sent to be served but to serve. In the midst of the pain, agony, and infection of life, we encourage one another as a fellow patients and become part of the healing process. Besides, which warriors do you trust: those with clean armor or those who are battle scarred?
We have a love and fascination with our doctors. The medical drama is part of a longstanding tradition and one third of the trinity of television genres: medical shows, legal shows, and police shows. With 6 discs and over 1,000 minutes of episodes, there’s plenty of ER for those in need of a fix.