Judge Adam Arseneau is a sick, sick man.
Our reviews of ER: The Complete Third Season (published July 20th, 2005), ER: The Complete Fifth Season (published August 23rd, 2006), ER: The Complete Sixth Season (published January 24th, 2007), ER: The Complete Eighth Season (published March 5th, 2008), ER: The Complete Ninth Season (published October 1st, 2008), ER: The Complete Tenth Season (published May 13th, 2009), ER: The Complete First Season (published October 6th, 2004), ER: The Complete Twelfth Season (published January 12th, 2010), and ER: The Final Season (published August 25th, 2011) are also available.
"I still remember when Mark Greene and Doug Ross were running the
After nearly a decade and a half of escalating drama and ennui, ER: The Complete Fourteenth Season represents a venerable franchise running out of steam.
Facts of the Case
The emergency room in County General Hospital is the place where the crazy never stops in Chicago, not even for a second. Floods of new patients, crumbling infrastructure, and fractured personal lives all contribute to a very hectic working environment for the staff of County.
ER: The Complete Fourteenth Season contains all nineteen episodes spread across five discs:
• "The War Comes Home"
There's only so much endless trauma (and exploding vehicles) a man can take. After fourteen seasons—and the lowest ratings in the franchise history—ER: The Complete Fourteenth Season starts its graceful decline into cancellation. This penultimate season repeats a polished formula of realistic medical trauma and unrealistic amounts of misery and misfortune befalling the County General staff. If a hospital actually existed that was this ill-fated and catastrophically cruel, odds are good that city counselors and aldermen would have petitioned years ago to have the site demolished and the land razed, on account of it being haunted or something.
ER: The Complete Fourteenth Season is another turbulent year for the staff of the hospital. Pratt is floundering in his career, having been passed up for promotion, and Morris has trouble passing his medical exams. Neela recovers from her injuries from last season, having been critically injured during a riot. Luka is still in Croatia, dealing with family issues, leaving behind an isolated and lonely Abby. Dejected, she turns to drink, and during an unfortunate one-night stand, into the unlikely arms of Dr. Moretti (Stanley Tucci, Big Night), the newly minted and acerbic head of the ER. Tony keeps breaking rules and landing in hot water.
It happened suddenly, unexpectedly, but somewhere along the way, Morris (Scott Grimes, American Dad!) became the most entertaining person on the show. The feckless ginger resident adds a much-needed burst of levity and comic relief to an unnecessarily dour cast of doctors and the endless overflow of their personal lives. Between Pratt's endless grumblings and Abby's inner demons, everyone else is just such a drag, Abby in particular. She dismantles her personal life with ruthless surgical efficiency. In comparison, Morris tasers himself and gets into fights in the ER over wheels of cheese. How can you hate it? Another unexpected bright point is Harold (Steven Christopher Parker), a teenage surgical savant who balances high school anxieties with boundless enthusiasm for the job.
It took me fourteen years to realize it, but ER is just a soap opera with great production values. There isn't anything here that makes ER: The Complete Fourteenth Season stand out against the other fourteen seasons. For better or worse, the show is as steady and predictable as a metronome, repeatedly cranking out year after year of high quality medical drama.
From a technical standpoint, this set looks great. The anamorphic transfer is clean, vibrant, and sharp with solid black levels and clean white levels. For standard definition DVD, it looks great, with impressive detail—we can see skin follicles, individual hair strands, and beads of sweat with ease. Blu-Ray would have been nice, but fans should have little complaints. Audio is a simple stereo transfer featuring clear dialog and solid bass.
In terms of extras, we get deleted scenes (Outpatient Outtakes), a highlight reel from the three-hundredth episode tribute party at the Paley Center for Media and a gag reel.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
ER means guest stars, but in Season Fourteen, we only get a few: Steve Buscemi, Stanley Tucci, and Peter Fonda, but nothing compared to the onslaught of previous years.
Taken on its own merits, ER: The Complete Fourteenth Season is solid television: good acting, great production values, and an endlessly entertaining series of calamitous events that biblically smite patient and ER staff alike. Still, after fourteen years of the same, it's hard to get too excited about it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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