Judge Adam Arseneau is even more scared of helicopters now than he was before!
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 Fourteenth Season (published April 7th, 2011), 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.
Experience: the best teacher and the toughest.
ER: The Complete Tenth Season brings the same intensity, freakishly bad luck, and misery to its long-suffering tenured doctors and nurses.
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, crumbing infrastructure, and fractured personal lives all contribute to a very hectic working environment for the staff of County. ER: The Complete Tenth Season contains all 22 episodes, spread over six discs:
• "Now What?"
• "The Lost"
• "Dear Abby"
• "Shifts Happen"
• "Out Of Africa"
• "The Greater Good"
• "Death and Taxes"
• "Touch and Go"
• "Get Carter"
• "Impulse Control"
• "Blood Relations"
• "Forgive and Forget"
• "The Student"
• "Where There's Smoke"
• "Just A Touch"
• "Abby Normal"
Even for ER, a show that isn't normally a funhouse full of happy clowns, Season 10 is particularly grim and depressing. Here, the creators really do a number on their beloved characters, opting to make them suffer in more elaborate and inventive ways than ever before. A short recap (spoilers) of pertinent events in this season includes Weaver losing custody of her beloved, long fought for baby; Romano getting @#$% by Murphy's Law and having another encounter with the wrong end of a helicopter; Kovac's and Carter's ugly experiences in Africa; Carter and his new lady friend delivering a dead baby, which annihilates their relationship; Abby stressing out over her medical board results; Sam's scummy ex rolling back into town; Frank having a heart attack; Gallant getting shipped off to Iraq; and Chen having to deal with her ailing and deteriorating father before she and Pratt get shot to hell in a gunfight. Pure sadism at its finest! And they kept the dramatic train rolling for another five years after this. It's amazing they had anyone left to torture.
Transition is the name of the game in ER: The Complete Tenth Season. At this point, with so much of the old guard have retired, been exploded, moved on, or otherwise departed the show for greener pastures, the few senior staffers still lingering about get some heavy setup for their eventual departures in Season 10. Carter's storyline lays the eggs that eventually spur his exit. Weaver is still around, but from this point on essentially acts as a supporting character, her screen time diminished noticeably; Chen and Corday are likewise on their way out the door very shortly. Meanwhile, we see an influx of new faces, like intern Neela Rasgotra, resident Archie Morris, and nurse Samantha Taggart, all of whom become integral cast members in the final five seasons. This is a "love it or hate it" time for fans of ER as the show desperately tries to reinvigorate itself. Most shows don't make it for an entire decade, let alone another five years after that. The writers and producers looked to shake things up, and shake them up they did.
Violent and troubling as some of the episode arcs may be, there are some phenomenal performances here; Noah Wyle delivers some truly heartbreaking scenes after the loss of his on-screen child, and a cameo by the normally funny Bob Newhart as an architect rapidly losing his sight is one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the show's history. There's nothing worse than seeing a funny man sad. My biggest problem with the show is the repetition and constant state of misery it subjects upon its characters, as if afraid to allow them all but faint glimmers of happiness. Any good event that happens to them is a setup for a particularly nasty fall in a few episodes. It's hard to get too excited about character development when it's all downhill, you know?
Technically, this set is near-identical to its predecessors: anamorphic transfer, stereo sound, and some lame supplemental features (outtakes and gag scenes). Colors are nicely saturated; primary colors in particular are vibrant, whites are clean, and blacks are balanced well.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
At this point, I'm kind of numb to the whole "over the top" thing ER does to keep its narrative train barreling down on its characters. I had thought ER: The Complete Ninth Season was bad, but that was before Season 10, when someone tried to blow up the ER with a tank. You heard me right.
What more can we say? Fans won't need this review to justify adding this DVD to their collection. Now that ER is finally off the airwaves, let the massive syndication begin!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Deleted Scenes
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