Last week’s television week wrapped up on Thursday night with the season premiere of er. Careful readers will note that I have abandoned the television sitcom entirely in favour of crime, politcal and medical dramas, so if you want my take on 8 Simple Rules or Life with Bonnie you’re out of luck.
When er started I was a big fan; I watched religiously for the first several seasons and found many of the episodes gripping.
Then I stopped watching for a couple of years, only tuning in for the “character X leaves the show because they are dead \| going fishing \| moving to Baltimore” episodes. I found the lack of some characters, and the introduction of others confusing, especially because the show is somewhat driven by the personal lives of its characters, so it’s mildly important to keep track of the broad arcs of their lives.
Last year I tuned in more frequently, and although it was milked for everything it was worth, and accompanied by a full-on onslaught of “a very special episode of er” promotional commercials, I found the “death of Mark Green” plot very compelling, especially the closing episode, shot primarily in Hawaii.
The season opener was a continuation of last year’s “smallpox hits the er” storyline, and featured the usual panic, helicopters, kissing, etc. Besides a shocking rotor blade amputation, there was nothing to distinguish the episode and, I fear, that is the show’s problem now: there are only so many things that go go wrong in a hospital emergency room, only so many combinations of characters who can date or want to date, and the show has run through pretty well all of them.
In the world of er there’s simply nothing left to be done.