ER's quality: Is it worse, better, or the same? : LUSENET : ER Discussions : One Thread

Not an urgent issue, but on I see coming up quite often, I've said it myself. For those who have watched for a long time and seen the old episodes, how is the Quality of ER? Worse, better or the sameish? What got me thinking was watching "Going Home" (S1, Carol returns after suicide attempt) and bits of The Longest Day, today. While watching, I found myself thinking a few times That would never happen, or Don't be silly you guys. Yes I actually did. (eg. they didn't close the curtains around patients, they said "x-ray" while now they always say "film", little things like that). I realized, not for the first time, that at the beginnning ER is exciting and arresting because of its novelty. Yes, back then it was usually more clever, but of course it was much easier to write it when defibs still thrilled us, and we didn't know about rib spreaders and sternal saws. Excpet for season 5 (which was bad only some of the time- that Hallowe'en epi still kills me) there has been continuity, development, more involved and technical medical situations and person-plots to fit with our increasing...sophistication. I expect most of you already know all this, but I'm saying it to give credit to what is still a very worthy show. Many people, myself included, have said that its not what it used to be, and it isn't, not quite, how could it be, but IMHO, season 6 has been almost as good as any other (more exciting than any other). If They keep up the effort, season 7 will be fantastic, with all the newbies melded in and no cast leaving, maybe a bit more side-chatter instead of screaming in your face (which I like too.) Any thoughts?

-- May (, May 10, 2000


Thank you May! I feel the same way. I thought the old ER was good. But this season has been just great. There have been a lot of very interesting story lines and I think that the show is really coming back up to speed. I know that there are repeating ER cases that have been done in past shows, but in reality, Emergency Rooms see alot of the same stuff over and over again. Sure there are unqiue cases, but not all of them are. I have really enjoyed this season and I hope that the show keeps going in this direction in season 7. I know you all love ER, and that is why you critisize it so much, because you expect so much out of it. But personally, I'm tired of every one saying the show is dying and that it will never be the same, blah blah blah. Thats just my humble opinion.

-- Alissa (, May 11, 2000.

I don't think the show is dying either, but at this point I think that the new cast is jockeying for position and the character development isn't there. I feel like I am waiting for Carol to leave so I can see who they will bring forward and what there is to find out about the new people. I don't feel I know them as well as the old cast members. I am a relative new comer to ER myself. I only started watching the TNT reruns. They picked a good name for the next episode, parting is such sweet sorrow, but by this time, move on already.

-- Casey (, May 11, 2000.

I think with a show like ER, it is very hard to compare if its better or worse. It's changed a lot, that can't be denied. But looking at season one, there were six main characters. Mark, Benton, Carol, Doug, Susan and Carter. Through season six thus far, the main characters have been Mark, Benton, Carol, Carter, Kerry, Lucy, Jeanie, Romano, Chen, Cleo, Dr. Dave, Abby, Luka. So, just the fact that there are so many more characters suggests a difference.

Personally, I love them all. I love the early episodes, I love the between episodes, I love the present episodes. The changes in the cast together with the changes in the themes make ER different. But it's the difference that keeps it great and makes it hard to say what's better. Just my $1.37.

-- Joanne (, May 11, 2000.

I think the show is just as good as it was in say, season three. Season two was the best, IMO. But it's still a darn good show.

I do think it could improve. It would be much better if TPTB would make one or two changes. First, there are too many characters! Even with JM leaving, there's too many main characters. One or two of them have to go. Second, concentrate on the "old" characters like Mark, Carter, Benton, Kerry and Lizzie. Then let us get to know the new characters... but slowly. I'd like to know more about Dr. Dave (who I think could be a good foil for Carter... like a younger Mark and Doug). I'd like to know more about either Abby or Chen. However, I'd like to slowly get to know the new characters, but I don't want them shoved in my face (a.k.a. Lucy). I liked Lucy a lot, but one of the problems many viewers had with her was that instead of introducing her slowly (a.k.a. Jeanie Boulet), the writers concentrated on her too much. And let's not forget about the great support staff. More Randi! More Yosh! More Malik! With the exeception of Yosh (who had some nice scenes this year), the supporting characters haven't had much to do. The writers could pay a bit more attention to character continuity (sp? I've had a busy day). Mainly, they should keep things slow as far as character development (don't rush the new characters in!), keep the characters true to themselves, and stop pairing everyone off at work! I don't mind people at work dating each other, but not EVERYONE at work has to get paired off. And, not EVERYONE at work has to get paired off within a week. How about letting the characters get to know each other as friends before letting romantic relationships develop, if any such relationships develop at all?

However, I must say that it's a testament to how good ER still is that, despite the problem of having too many characters for even story lines, it's a darn good show. There were quite a few story lines this year that I think rank among some of the best. Like the relationship between Kerry and Dr. Lawrence. And, of course, Carter's current story line. I can't wait to see how this tragedy affects him as a person and as a doctor. I thought earlier in the season that Mark didn't have much to do, but the interaction between he, his father and Elizabeth was just beautiful. And Benton's story earlier this season regarding Reese and the paternity question was fantastic: not melodramatic, not overdone, not overlong... just a wonderful step for his character to realize that he's Reese's father because he loves him, that biology doesn't really mean a hill of beans to him. Wonderful to see Benton show his feelings (too bad they had to ruin it with him showing a bit too many feelings for Cleo, the wooden pediatrician). And I like Romano more than I've liked a character in a long, long time. I hope he stays rude, crude and obnoxious. So, yeah, my verdict is that it's still quite a good show... it's good in a different way than it was in early years, but that's to be expected. I still think ER is one of the best shows on television. After a couple of years of sporadic viewing, I'm now watching on a regular basis. So, I actually think it's getting better.

-- L. (, May 11, 2000.

USA Today has an honest look at what ER could do to improve, in today's issue. I agree with most of them. Also, let's not forget that in terms of major characters leaving... does anyone REALLY miss Sherry Stringfield? Not slamming her, but Susan was not that interesting a character. In her place we got not one but two strong actresses/characters - Laura Innes as Weaver and Alex Kingston as Corday. We also got Paul McCrane as Romano and, even if his character is not fully developed yet, some nice eye candy with Goran Visnjic. The only outright casting mistake made was Kellie Martin as Lucy... I agree with the USA Today article that the show improved this season but has a ways to go and also that Carter needs a new mission as a character. Also where Romano is concerned - he is a major improvement over the interchangeable "hospital official" characters we'd get in the past... Anspaugh... Morgenstern... I'd take Romano over them any day.

-- debbie (, May 11, 2000.

I don't have time to make a long comment about this, but I have to say the ER quality is definetly back! The new additions are not that bad, and although I miss the old cast member and will miss Carol, the shows are DEFINETLY getting me interested more than ever.

-- Elaine (, May 11, 2000.

ER is still my favorite show. I've been watching since Season 4 and catching up with all the reruns. Here is what I think about the early years and about now.

Early years: There was more character development, even among the patients. I've noticed that the patients even seemed like colorful, interesting characters with good stories. They focused more on writing interesting stories about doctors and nurses and the stuff they deal with in a hospital. Good stories about their personal lives, also. They used the supporting cast more (Randi and Jerry!!)

Recent years: Some of the characters I LOVE who weren't on there back then (Romano, Elizabeth, Weaver - who came on in Season 2 - Dr. Dave, Luka.)

It has improved since Season 5. I watched Season 5 on TNT recently, and I thought that one was really bad! There were so many cheesy things (the epi where Carter's jeep was set on fire, the horse pooping on Jerry, Roxanne, etc.)

Less interesting patients - some of them are used only for the writers to give us a PSA about their disease. Sometimes the doctors are annoying with the way they try to meddle in their patients lives, and go around the city trying to track them down and get them to come in for treatment.

And what's with all the rule-bending lately???

I guess there are good points about the early years and now. I really hope we see some more character development, and not only all medical storylines *all* the time. I know it's a hospital, but even real doctors are not at the hospital ALL the time!

-- Melanie (, May 11, 2000.

Oh, I almost forgot - Shep! I totally loved him in the early years. He was funny and sweet. I actually liked him better than Doug.

-- Melanie (, May 11, 2000.

Okay then, anyone care to *vote?* Most people agree there are too many chaaracters, so who should go? Mark, Carter, Kerry, Elizabeth, Peter, Luka, Chen, Abby, Cleo, Dr Dave, Romano, and minors like the nurses, Randi, etc. I like all of htem except Cleo, and I don't think she is hopeless. It's a huge cast to keep track of, bu tcould any of them go without leaving a hole? Melanie: good point about the rule bending.I was thinking htat too, as one of hte changes. I think the conflicts used to be mostly between the docs and patients, now they are fighting with eachother and the system much more. That isn't good for comeradrie, but they have to struggle with someone eh?

-- May (, May 12, 2000.

Season Six has been the best one so far!! This is surprising because Season Five was so painful to watch in places. No-one has really missed Doug and Jeannie was so underused in Season five that she was no loss. The new characters have breathed life into what was becoming a tired show. However, Peter Benton needs to be given more to do. Certainly, this season has been the most exciting for ages. But am I the only one who misses Maggie Doyle?

-- BenLiverpoolUk (, May 15, 2000.

Can we really compare the new and the old? I mean, I loved Carter when he was the innocent, doll-faced, wet-behind-the-ears med student, but I also like the way his character is going and it's very suspenseful now. I really liked the old ER and I wish some characters hadn't left. But I also like a lot of the new characters they're bringing on the show!! Although it's certainly not the same, I like how we can follow the characters' progression and lives. ER's come a long way-- not for the better, or the worse!

-- Kim (, May 17, 2000.

I think that the quality has remained fairly consistent throughout the years. I think in every season we've had the good, the bad and the excellent, in terms of eppys. I personally thought that the chumminess and "family-ness" in the older eppys were quite unrealistic, and sometimes even nauseating. I like the quicker pace of the ER now. And I love having a lot of characters now because in every eppy you learn something new about them--it's like putting together pieces of a puzzle.

What I do miss about ER are the interesting patients, as some of you have mentioned above. We used to have the most hilarious characters, heart wrenching patients, and now the patients are just blah. I think that's because ER has covered the really extraordinary cases before, and there are only so many foreign bodies you can have stuck you know where. But I'm also enjoying that now we have an emphasis on the doctors, and their personal lives. I really don't know what to say, though. ER has kept me enthralled for over two years now, and when I compare the reruns of season 2 to season 6, I enjoy this season so much better. It does keep getting better year after year, and of course there is always room for improvement!

-- samira (, May 17, 2000.

Something ER really needs to do again is to have some joyous moments. The show used to make emergency medicine exciting not just because of the fast pace, but because of the exhilharation of the characters helping people. You can always get that back by having good characters and more compelling stories about the patients. Nowadays you never see the patients on more than one episode (well unless they stab somebody). That needs to change.

-- debbie (, May 17, 2000.

samira, why do you think the "family-ness" of the old days was unrealistic? maybe where you work, the co-workers just do not "hang out" like they do at other places, like hospitals? i beg to differ. i think it was very realistic.

-- ALexis Springer (, May 18, 2000.

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