12 October 2007 | wchngliu
Though It has Lost Its Edge Recently, ER Is Still The Best Medical Drama Produced
Alongside The Simpsons, ER is one of the longest running US TV shows and through its successful blend of wonderful and memorable characters, intriguing story lines, strong intensity involving the cast and impressive action sequences, this medical drama is by far streets ahead of the likes of Chicago Hope and even Grey's Anatomy. Unfortunately in recent years, ER has declined in quality due to the departure of key characters, poor story lines and dull ideas, of which accounted for the decrease in viewing figures. The current crop of characters Neela, Luka, Abby, Pratt, Taggart and Barnett don't hold a candle to the experienced old rear guard of Greene, Carter, Benton, Lewis, Hathaway and Ross. They, in particular, were the original, and arguably the best set of characters the show has had.
The earlier seasons of ER were great- those times were witty, exciting and a joy to behold for us viewers. Such a shame however that when the old characters had left- or in the case of Mark Greene passed away- the writers of this drama were unable to fill that void with their newer, replacement characters, as well as good story lines and as such, the programme has suffered as a result.
There were a few story lines I didn't agree with; likewise for example, Mark Greene and Elizabeth Corday getting married together as a couple. I always had an inkling for Mark and Susan, of whom I felt had a lot more in common with each other and considering the history they had together as close friends and work colleagues they had a bond and chemistry that was like a match made in heaven. Also, a lot of ER fans preferred Mark to be with Susan, compared to those who liked Mark and Elizabeth. And so its such a shame that we never got to see Mark and Susan as a couple. There were also tragic and memorable story lines which are worth mentioning also that touched viewers hearts- Mark's brain tumour and his evitable death, Benton's son being mentally handicapped, Weaver coming to terms with her sexuality and coming out as a lesbian to her friends, work colleagues and family, and the consummation of Luka and Abbey and Ross and Carol's relationships.
The main problem with the ER though were the main characters of the earlier seasons who were on the show for a few series, and then suddenly they are written off. It doesn't matter how many new ideas, characters you introduce to the show because it is the original ideas, characters and realism of the show, of which worked so well in the first place that should be further developed. I wouldn't say that ER has jumped the shark, but it is certainly no longer the same show as it was back in 1994. ER is currently in its 14th season and whilst it is somewhat of an impressive feat, many of the original cast have gone and yet it can be argued that in reference to the current season the show has gradually become boring and stale, the longer it has gone on.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end- and ER perhaps is no exception. Perhaps now it is the time to lay this ghost to rest. As much as it is arguably the best and most successful medical drama in TV history, ER during the last few years has spiralled downhill; the writing isn't as good as it was and it has lost a lot of its spark, which made it the no#1 hit US drama around. Still, as mentioned earlier, it is still the best medical/hospital drama to ever grace our screens. As not even the classic St Elsewhere and Chicago Hope comes close to matching, rivalling or surpassing ER's accomplishments.
Besides, this show will live long in TV history that's for sure and quite rightly so.