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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
ER-Complete First Season (1994)

ER-Complete First Season (1994)

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Released 27-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Pilot -Michael Crichton And John Wells (Executive Producers)
Audio Commentary-Pilot - Director And Crew
Audio Commentary-Ep. 17 - Director And Producer
Audio Commentary-Ep.18 - Director And Crew
Featurette-Prescription For Success: The Birth Of ER
Featurette-First Year Rotation: Caring For ER
Featurette-On The Cutting Edge: Medical Realism On ER
Featurette-Post Operative Procedures: Post Production In The ER
Additional Footage
Easter Egg
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 1131:18 (Case: 1130)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Sided
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Rod Holcomb
Mimi Leder
Mark Tinker
Charles Haid

Warner Home Video
Starring Noah Wyle
Anthony Edwards
George Clooney
Sherry Stringfield
Eriq La Salle
Julianna Margulies
William H. Macy
Michael Ironside
CCH Pounder
Ving Rhames
Gloria Reuben
Case ?
RPI $79.95 Music Marty Davich
James Newton Howard

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    "Get me a CBC, Chest film, C-spine, Blood Gases, chem-7, and an EKG. Notify the OR, and order 10 units of O negative - NOW!"

    If, like me, you are a complete layman when it comes to medical terminology, you might be lucky to recognise two or three of the terms used in the above statement - but most likely the rest will be completely foreign. Why is this important? Well, after watching all 25 episodes of the first season of ER as part of this review, I have now heard most of those terms more times than I can count, some several times each during one episode, and yet I still don't know what they mean. And that is, I believe, what makes this much-loved and highly acclaimed show so great. It has never been dumbed down to a point where every little procedure, abbreviation, and acronym has to be explained. We, the viewer, are just taken along for the ride. And what a ride it has been over the last decade.

    Medical drama ER has been one of the flagship television series for many years in the US, around the world, and of course here in Australia. It is currently in its tenth season, and while lately showing signs of getting slightly off-track, it appears to show no signs of slowing down. This acclaimed series has won a host of awards over the years, including a record 21 Emmys from a staggering 108 nominations.

    Originally created by well-known author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), who was a medical student before becoming a best-selling novelist and producer, it's an idea that was many years in the making. Way back in the early 1970s he penned a script based on his days in the emergency room at a hospital in Boston, hoping it would be picked up and turned into a feature film. But it would take many years before anyone was really interested in it, and when he showed it to one Steven Spielberg in the early 1990s, the super-director was highly interested, but asked what else he had written. A little tale about dinosaurs, an island and some DNA was also in the offering and sounded much more appealing to Spielberg, who suggested perhaps the medical drama could become a television series instead. The rest of course is history.

    The series centres on the medical personnel working tirelessly in the emergency room of a Chicago hospital. The staff at the County General Hospital face life and death decisions on a daily basis, as patients with all manner of cuts, scrapes, bruises, gun-shot wounds, severed and broken limbs, diseases, mental problems, drug overdoses, and other mystery ailments make their way to the ER for a remedy. The patients, though, are secondary to the workings of the show. It pretty much focuses on the staff, their work issues and their personal problems, with the patients relegated to the background as the trained professionals go about their business. The show could have easily developed into something akin to a crappy soap opera as a result of the focus on the staff and their problems, but the level of realism attained from making sure everything from instruments and the lingo used by the staff was the real deal, the pioneering use of a steadicam resulting in lengthy almost roaming-like scenes, and the breakneck pace of editing left us in no doubt this is exactly what a major hospital emergency room looked like.

    Season One featured many characters led by Chief Resident Dr Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards), Paediatrician Dr Doug Ross (George Clooney), ER resident Dr Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield), Surgical resident Dr Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle), Head Charge Nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies), and Medical student John Carter (Noah Wyle). A solid supporting cast containing the likes of William H. Macy, Michael Ironside, CCH Pounder, and Ving Rhames in amongst many other roles led some real acting credibility to the whole show.

    It was an immediate success, rating through the roof and instantly making stars out of the principal cast (who, with the exception of Noah Wyle's John Carter have now left the show to pursue other projects). Placed head to head with rival show Chicago Hope in the same time slot (in the US), ER literally blew that programme out of the water, resulting in its eventual axing. ER of course is still going strong.
    Warner Home Video has now released season one of this acclaimed series to DVD, and it must be said that the quality of the package is exceptional. There are a total of 24 episodes plus the movie-length pilot episode contained in this beautifully packaged four disc set. A host of extra material has also been included, with most of it appearing to have been specially made for the DVD release.

    Special mention must be made of the packaging as it really is nice and solid looking without resorting to any gimmicks to catch your eye on the retail display shelves. What we get here is a nice and extremely durable quadruple Amaray case that contains four discs. Discs one to three are all dual layered and double sided and contain either three or four episodes on each side. Disc four is single sided and contains the last two episodes plus the bonus material.

Pilot - 24 Hours (83:28)

    This is the feature length pilot episode that sets the tone for series to come. All the main characters and some of the culture of Chicago's County General Hospital are introduced to the viewers. For some reason the first few regular episodes all start the same way and the pilot is no different. One of the staff is always asleep and rudely woken by someone else (I think this happened regularly to Michael Crichton so he included it in the pilot). The pilot kicks off by introducing us to a slumbering Dr Mark Greene who is seriously considering an offer to join a lucrative private practice. It's also a very young and fresh-faced John Carter's first day as a medical student. We also meet the other main characters in the ER. Paediatrician Dr Doug Ross has to deal with an abused child. Dr Benton's renowned ego is soon on display, and his efforts at performing some unexpected (and unauthorised) emergency surgery gives him a chance to stroke it even further. The complicated Carol Hathaway seems happy enough during this episode but for reasons unknown attempts to take her own life by overdosing on pills towards the climax of this excellent pilot.

Episode 1 - Day One (44:50)

    A huge case of food poisoning strikes several dozen people who all arrive at the ER at the same time. The wide-eyed Carter ends up examining a young lady who is smitten with him, but he is also beginning to show the signs of stress from the job - and it's only his second day. Dr Lewis deals with a mentally disturbed patient, while Dr Greene is caught in a compromising position with his wife in a darkened room in the ER. Dr Ross finally decides to visit Carol Hathaway who has been at home recuperating after her suicide attempt.

Episode 2 - Going Home (46:03)

    Nurse Carol Hathaway finally returns to work after a few weeks off following her failed suicide attempt, and finds the good humour of her colleagues uplifting, even though Doug Ross seems a little uneasy around her. It seems the charming and usually confident Dr Ross is holding himself partially to blame for Carol's problems. Meanwhile Carter is lumbered with the care of an old woman who seems to be suffering from Alzheimer's disease, has no idea where she is, or who she is and has a strange fascination for singing old-time music hall songs at the top of her lungs.

Episode 3 - Hit and Run (45:01)

    Carter feels the full impact of how important it is to get the facts correct when he notifies the wrong parents of a hit and run accident that their son has died. Dr Ross can't see past the fact that Carol Hathaway doesn't love him anymore and still tries to romantically pursue her, despite the presence in the hospital of her new boyfriend.

Episode 4 - Into That Good Night (44:18)

    A touching episode that deals with the lottery that is organ donation and transplant. A man is admitted to the ER with a failing heart and told he will die within hours unless a donor organ is found. Meanwhile Dr Greene is feeling the pinch at home now that his wife Jen has taken a new job in Milwaukee and is living each week away from home.

Episode 5 - Chicago Heat (42:26)

    It's summer and when the air-conditioning at Chicago County General packs in during a heatwave, temperatures rise and tempers start to flare. The ER is stretched when they must accept patients from two other Chicago hospitals and Dr Greene finds he must bring his daughter Rachel to the ER since he has trouble finding a babysitter. Dr Ross and Dr Greene deal with a young girl who has accidentally swallowed some cocaine, while Dr Lewis must deal with her lazy, drug-taking, no-hoper sister Chloe who arrives unannounced and moves into her apartment with disastrous results.

Episode 6 - Another Perfect Day (42:31)

    Dr Benton's arrogance and super-large ego start to come out even further in this episode. He has applied for an important fellowship and is in bitter competition with another surgical attending in Dr Langworthy. Carol Hathaway's emotions are confused when she again finds herself falling for Dr Ross, while the day ends well for medical student John Carter when he successfully performs a spinal tap on his first attempt.

Episode 7 - 9 ˝ Hours (40:48)

    Carter has another win over the arrogant Benton (who is supposed to be teaching him) when he successfully diagnoses a young man's ailment before Benton and the other doctors can. Greene is off sick for the day - apparently a first for the conscientious resident. He decides to spend the day at home with his wife who is back from Milwaukee. As a result, Dr Ross must run the ER and he's finding it quite difficult to say the least.

Episode 8 - ER Confidential (43:11)

    It's Thanksgiving and all manner of bizarre and sad happenings find their way to the ER. An animal rights activist is attacked by a turkey that he was trying to rescue, while for Carter, the realities of depression hit home when he treats a transvestite who cannot face the world anymore. Dr Lewis's lazy sister Chloe arrives again and this time she has big news - she's having a baby. This announcement is not well received by Dr Lewis but she puts on a brave face since it's Thanksgiving.

Episode 9 - Blizzard (44:27)

    This is a watershed episode for the show which is really starting to hit its straps. A large blizzard has hit Chicago and the ER is remarkably quiet. The staff rostered on have little to do other than play games in the waiting area to amuse themselves. Then the news hits. A massive pileup on the Kennedy Freeway has resulted in more than 100 patients, many critical, being shipped to County General. The staff have fifteen minutes to prepare before all hell breaks loose.

Episode 10 - The Gift (43:29)

    It's Christmas, and the ER must deal with a man who has electrocuted himself as he was trying to get the 80,000 Christmas lights on his house working. The team must also deal with a young boy who is frozen almost solid after he fell into a lake while fishing with his dad, while Benton jumps the gun in calling in the transplant teams when he pronounces a man as brain dead after an accident. It seems he didn't wait to get consent from the man's estranged wife before he got the teams rolling and now he has to worm his way out of it. Meanwhile, Greene has left it to the last day before Christmas to decide what he should buy his wife.

Episode 11 - Happy New Year (42:31)

    It's 1995 and Carter finally proves his worth and is allowed to sit in on an operation. Dr Lewis is the focus of much of this episode when she discharges a patient complaining of heart trouble, only to have him return shortly after with serious complications. She is accused by the attending cardiologist of not presenting him the full facts and he will most likely charge her with negligence. Dr Lewis also has personal troubles when she learns that her troubled sister is moving to Texas with her no-hoper boyfriend. Benton is starting to have his own personal troubles, with his sister telling him their mother is ill and must be moved to a nursing home.

Episode 12 - Luck of the Draw (42:18)

    Dr Lewis is formally charged with negligence over her handling of the cardiac patient and Dr Greene is asked to countersign all her patient's charts. Dr Benton's home problems increase when his mother goes missing, while the big-headed and now ultra-confident Carter acts like he's been around for years when new medical student Deb Chen arrives.

Episode 13 - Long Day's Journey (44:07)

    Dr Ross is having a bad day when a seemingly endless list of kids with some really serious problems are presented to him. He really does look like cracking under the pressure. Meanwhile, Dr Lewis must face a board review of her handling of the cardiac patient. Her day gets no better when another cardiac patient is admitted to her care, only in an ironic twist, it is actually the doctor who was out to get her in the previous episodes who is having the attack.

Episode 14 - Feb. 5 '95 (42:56)

    Greene is surprised when ER chief Dr Morgenstern basically offers him the attending position for the next year. Unfortunately, he accepts before discussing it with his wife, which does not sit well with her. Dr Benton's arrogance is beginning to annoy plenty of people, from nurses up, while the ER is thrown into turmoil when a poisonous snake goes missing somewhere in the hospital.

Episode 15 - Make of Two Hearts (41:54)

    It's Valentine's Day and love is in the air. Dr Lewis is stunned when the doctor she is treating for a cardiac problem begins to pursue her romantically. Dr Ross and Carol Hathaway treat a young Russian girl who doesn't speak a word of English for a mystery complaint. The situation is made all the more difficult when the girl's adoptive mother abandons her in the ER and it's discovered that the girl has AIDS.

Episode 16 - The Birthday Party (43:54)

    There's a couple of birthday parties planned with Dr Greene's daughter and Benton's mother both celebrating. Unfortunately the demands of the ER contrive to keep both away from their respective parties with the usual disastrous results. Dr Ross puts his career on the line when he assaults a man who has brought his daughter to the hospital after she fell from their balcony.

Episode 17 - Sleepless in Chicago (44:59)

    Dr Benton is growing increasingly grumpy since he has been working for 48 hours straight to catch up on shifts. When he is removed from surgery due to his fatigue by Dr Hicks, his temper grows even worse and he puts added pressure on poor Carter. Meanwhile, a conman is running around the ER pinching things and a lost mental patient poses as a hospital efficiency expert. Green's world is turned upside down when he discovers his wife is leaving him.

Episode 18 - Love's Labour Lost (44:05)

    Love's Labor Lost is arguably the greatest episode of ER ever filmed and considering it won five Emmy awards few can argue. It is truly a quite harrowing experience to watch and will give anyone recently due to give birth a shudder up their spine. Dr Greene misdiagnoses a pregnant woman and sends her home. But she barely makes it out the door before she starts having convulsions and passes out. With the OB full, Greene admits her to the ER and must prepare to deliver the baby himself, but complication after complication threaten both the life of the baby and the mother. By the end of this episode, Greene is severely traumatised and takes several weeks to recover. Non-stop action and drama from start to finish.

Episode 19 - Full Moon, Saturday Night (44:10)

    A full moon and a Saturday night combine to bring out all the crazies in the city and Carter is about to experience it for the first time. From a man who thinks he is a werewolf to college students arriving naked and frostbitten, it's going to be a busy night. Meanwhile, Dr Greene, who is still coming to terms with the tragedy of the previous episode and his crumbling life at home is not making the greatest of impressions upon the new ER chief.

Episode 20 - House of Cards (43:01)

    Still feeling the effects of the tragedy from two episodes ago, Dr Greene is none too impressed when the new ER chief asks him to present the events of the tragic night to a seminar that is being held in the hospital. Rather than a simple case review it looks like turning into something like an inquisition. Meanwhile, the new medical student, Deb Chen, is fed up with trying to compete with Carter for the best procedures, so she takes matters into her own hands with disastrous results. Dr Benton is finally convinced that his mother must be admitted to a nursing home.

Episode 21 - Men Plan, God Laughs (43:20)

    Dr Greene is again making a bad impression on the new ER chief by being unable to stay behind on a shift so he can travel to Milwaukee to be with his wife. Dr Ross has been forced to see a psychiatrist to help with his anger problems, while Dr Lewis is again troubled by her pregnant sister Chloe. Dr Benton, forced to send his mother to a nursing home, is none too impressed with the treatment she is getting there. He is also beginning to innocently flirt with his mother's nurse Jeannie.

Episode 22 - Love Among the Ruins (44:11)

    Dr Greene's marital problems are not getting any better despite the fact he has moved to Milwaukee to be with his wife, while Benton is beginning to fall for the charms of the married nurse who cares for his mother. Dr Lewis is still having problems with her now very pregnant sister and nurse Hathaway is in a fluster over her wedding vows. It seems she is getting seriously cold feet.

Episode 23 - Motherhood (45:05)

    An episode with a difference. This one was directed by none other than Mr Pulp Fiction himself, Quentin Tarantino, and it certainly bears a few of his hallmarks (a patient who has had her ear cut off in a brawl with another girl is one lovely homage). It's all about mothers in this episode. Dr Lewis' sister Chloe finally gives birth to a bouncing baby girl with Susan again finding herself burdened with responsibility. Carter thinks he might have made a big mistake by turning down the ER sub-internship convinced he will be offered a surgical position instead. Sadness arrives for Dr Benton when he learns his mother has suffered a heart attack and died.

Episode 24 - Everything Old Is New Again (44:15)

    There's a swag of surprises for the whole cast that wraps up the season finale quite nicely. It's Carol Hathaway's wedding day, but her lingering doubts about her fiancé might just be about to cause some problems. Carter sticks his foot right in it when he slams Dr Benton in his supervisor evaluation, only to learn later that he got the internship based solely on Benton's glowing appraisal of him. Dr Lewis is literally left holding the baby when her sister does a runner, while Dr Greene is probably the most surprised of all when he learns that he has been offered the attending position despite his run-ins with the ER chief and the filing of a malpractice suit against him.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    One thing instantly struck as highly surprising when this disc arrived for review. Despite being filmed back in 1994 and originally aired in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, this first season of ER (and presumably all seasons to be released from now on) is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1. What's more, it features 16x9 enhancement. This formatting applies to everything except the opening titles which are presented in their original 1.33:1 format inside the 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced frame. Now, ER was one of the first television shows to be broadcast in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. I remember it moving slowly from the old 1.33:1 aspect back in 2000 (I think that was the year) to a slightly more modest 1.66:1 and then finally to its current 1.78:1. I thought it interesting at the time how the aspect was slowly changed to ease viewers into the shift and get everyone comfortable with the widescreen aspect ratio. I can imagine the number of complaints the Nine Network here in Australia had to contend with, especially from people with 34cm televisions who were trying to watch their favourite drama series with nearly half the screen filled with 'black bars'.

    Anyway, what we have here is a show originally broadcast in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and now presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, with the top and bottom of the frame chopped off to accommodate. While this is not going to please a few people, since it isn't being shown how it originally aired, the results here are really quite remarkable. Over the twenty five episodes viewed I struggled to find a single frame that looked like it had been cropped. It really does look like the directors intended for this show to be eventually shown in a widescreen aspect ratio when they were composing the takes. On a widescreen display it looks fantastic and I'm really interested to see how the rest of the seasons stack up.

    The quality of the image scrubs up far better than I had thought it would. Sharpness and the level of detail is about what is expected from a show that was filmed ten years ago, with a slight haze to many shots, but overall it is quite acceptable. Shadow detail is never compromised, though grain is probably the biggest issue (after artefacts), with many scenes across most episodes displaying quite a fair smattering of grain. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are quite bright with no instances of washout or bleeding. The bright greens and pinks of the uniforms are well rendered, while the blood (and there is plenty of that) is a lovely deep solid red.

    No compression artefacts were evident. Film to video artefacts are also absent, but film artefacts are a different story. Pretty much every episode attracts some sort of artefact, with most unfortunately being the white splotch or scratch variety. When viewed against the bright interior of the ER these white splotches show up quite noticeably. They seem to come and go in waves with several minutes almost artefact free and then a brief few seconds will have a couple of dozen really good sized blobs and nicks covering the whole screen.

    Subtitles! It's a real bonus to have subtitles included on television series such as ER which are filled with rapid-fire dialogue. How many times have you listened to the instructions of the chief resident as they shout out a long list of procedures to be performed on an emergency patient, with much of it seemingly lost in the cacophony of the trauma room. At long last you can get a complete grasp of exactly what is going on when the doctor ask for a CBC, Blood Gases, and Chem-7.

    Discs one, two, and three are all dual layered and dual sided (DVD-18), with episodes spread between layers to remove any need for a layer change. Disc four is a dual layered and single sided disc only (DVD-9), with episodes and extras spread over the layers so there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are a minimum of three audio soundtracks available for all 25 episodes. In addition to those, two regular episodes feature one additional English commentary track, while the pilot episode features two English commentary tracks. The main track of choice for all English speaking viewers is Dolby Digital 2.0. There is also a French and Italian version as well. This is actually quite a decent two channel soundtrack. It is solid and engaging, with plenty of stereo separation.

    The often rapid dialogue makes understanding everything a little tricky at times, but none of this is attributed to the mastering of the disc, rather the source recording. There are no audio sync issues.

    The score for each episode was composed by Marty Davich, while renowned film composer James Newton Howard composed the memorable opening title score.

    There is no real obvious surround or discrete subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Audio Commentary - Michael Crichton and John Wells - Pilot Episode

    This commentary features series creator, writer, and executive producer Michael Crichton and executive producer John Wells. This is a first rate commentary track that provides lots of details for fans of the show to really get their teeth into. Historical aspects such as casting, research of the medical side, locations, and the style of the production including steadicam and the quick editing so common in each episode are covered.

Audio Commentary - Rob Holcomb, John Levy, Wendy Spence Rosato, Randy Jon Morgan and Walter Newman - Pilot Episode

    The second commentary for the pilot features director Rod Holcomb, casting director John Levey, associate producer Wendy Spence Rosato, editor Randy Jon Morgan, and supervising sound editor Walter Newman.  These people were obviously heavily involved in the early years of the show and provide much information here about casting, production design, style, and some humour as well. There's several interesting stories and anecdotes about various cast members both major and minor.

Audio Commentary - Christopher Chulack and Paul Manning - Episode 17 Sleepless in Chicago

    This is a commentary for Episode 17 Sleepless in Chicago by director Christopher Chulack and writer Paul Manning. Specific to just this episode, it sort of assumes you have already listened to the other two introductory commentaries. There are plenty of interesting stories related, some is repeated from the pilot episode commentaries, but on the whole it is interesting.

Audio Commentary - Mimi Leder, Wendy Spence Rosato, Randy Jon Morgan, Martin Davich and Walter Newman - Episode 18 Love's Labor Lost

    This commentary features director Mimi Leder, associate producer Wendy Spence Rosato, editor Randy Jon Morgan, supervising sound editor Walter Newman, and composer Martin Davich all discussing the dramatic, ground-breaking and award-winning episode that was Love's Labor Lost. It's worth listening to those involved in this award winning episode come to the slow realisation of just how they produced something quite special.


    Some booklets are really a waste of time and are nothing more than two-page insert listing the chapter stops. Thankfully this offering is a true full colour 20 page booklet that details all the episodes, provides a brief plot synopsis of each (without giving away any major spoilers), lists some of the awards the show won in its inaugural season and provides stacks of colour photos of all the cast.

Featurette - Prescription For Success: The Birth Of ER

    Running for 20:28, this featurette (filmed in 2003) features interviews with Michael Crichton, Steven Spielberg, Producer John Wells, Pilot director Rod Holcomb, and a host of others involved in the early genesis of the ER story. It is remarkable just how this programme came to be, considering if it were not for Spielberg's attraction to another Crichton story (Jurassic Park), ER would have probably started life as a feature film. Also covered are the inspired casting decisions, the filming locations, and the promotion by NBC during 1994.

Featurette - First Year Rotation: Caring For ER

    Following on from the first featurette, this one runs for 21:26. It deals with more behind-the-scenes action, contains interviews with several of the directors from season one, and deals with the style and camera techniques used to capture what at the time were some quite unique scenes.

Featurette - On The Cutting Edge: Medical Realism On ER

    This is brief, but it's certainly worth a look. Running for just 8:58, it gives some clue as to just how realistic the props, the procedures, and the dialogue is on ER. There is an amusing moment where Noah Wyle recites verbatim a long line of dialogue he had to perform during the first season. He nails it perfectly, which considering it is some nine years after the event is truly remarkable. Also noted is the now famous reason of just why George Clooney was always looking down when reading his lines during an emergency procedure.

Featurette - Post Operative Procedures: Post Production In The ER

    This featurette primarily focuses on the sound effects applied at post production and the score that is composed for each episode. Score compose Marty Davich performed a remarkable job considering he had to come up with a new and different score every week. This featurette runs for 5:23.

Additional Footage

    Three additional scenes that sadly come with no explanation as why they weren't used or even some sort of indication as to what episode they were from. One features Dr Greene, another two have Dr Lewis. They run for 0:53, 2:26, and 1:04 respectively.


    A whole host of bloopers and outtakes taken from the first season and the recent interviews conducted for the bonus material. Some are quite funny. Total running time is 10:06.

Easter Egg

    Have a hunt around on the extras menu on disc 4. Your patience will be rewarded with a very amusing 0:45 scene from the other long-running NBC series that debuted in 1994, Friends. It's the one where Rachel is being treated for a sprained ankle in the emergency room of a hospital by none other than George Clooney and Noah Wyle.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    I initially thought both Region's releases were identical, but from the information I can find, while they are close, they are not quite the same.

    The Region 4 disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;

    The loss of the Intern's Handbook is baffling to say the least. It is only a few pages of static text that provides plenty of information from the sounds of things. Even with this missing extra and the radically different packaging I'll declare a draw, since in terms of program content and major extras the discs are identical.


    The first season of ER is dramatic television at its most intense, hectic, relentless, and authentic. The show offered a groundbreaking and unique style for portraying the working life of a group of dedicated emergency doctors and nurses in a way that oozed realism. In fact to call this show realistic is perhaps the biggest compliment that can be paid and to finally see it released on DVD in such a quality package is fitting for the quality of the show that it is.

    The video transfer is remarkable. Many will not be overly impressed by the widescreen presentation considering it was originally shot in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, but there is not a single frame that looks odd being shown at 1.78:1. Aside from a few white blobs and splotches the transfers are fairly clean and bright.

    The audio is functional, being quite solid and dynamic for a two channel effort.

    The extras and overall packaging are first rate, and like the show itself sets a new standard for the presentation of a drama series on DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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