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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 Fourth Season (1997)

ER-Complete Fourth Season (1997)

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Released 13-Apr-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Outtakes-Outpatient Outtakes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 952:19 (Case: 962)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Sided
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Anita W. Addison
Sarah Pia Anderson
Paris Barclay
Guy Norman Bee

Warner Home Video
Starring Anthony Edwards
George Clooney
Sherry Stringfield
Eriq La Salle
Noah Wyle
Julianna Margulies
Gloria Reuben
Laura Innes
Maria Bello
Alex Kingston
Paul McCrane
Case ?
RPI $74.95 Music Samuel Barber
Marty Davich
Georg Brandl Egloff

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)
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

        Acclaimed medical-based drama ER has easily been one of the flagship television series since its debut in 1994, and in 2005 is in its eleventh season. While appearing of late to get 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 Emmy awards from a staggering 108 nominations.

        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. But the patients 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 to 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.

    Following on from the release in late 2004 of Season Three, Season Four has now been released to DVD and comprises 22 episodes over four discs, plus a very small handful of extras.

    Unlike recent seasons (with ridiculous and sensationalist chopper crashes and African and Iraq diversions), Season Four sees the series hitting the very zenith of its existence. Continuing on from Seasons Two and Three, ER continues to be the strong character-based drama that it is best known and for which it won many awards. There's no hint of a hammy soap opera style of drama and no need for cheap and tacky thrills so common in the later seasons. The principal actors have all hit their stride with the well-known characters, taking them to another level of believability. Even the supporting actors (both staff and outpatients) invoke much empathy during the whole series which in turn provides much needed realism. The season kicked off with an innovative and much discussed "live" episode that went to air on the west coast of the US direct from the studio at Warners. New characters arriving at the hospital include the import from England, Dr Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston), and the attractive young Dr Anna Del Amico (Maria Bello). Everyone's favourite villain, Dr Robert Romano (Paul McCrane), also starts to gather significantly more screen time as producers realise his special style of venom is popular with the fans. The main departure from the earlier seasons is Dr Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield), who of course will return in Season Eight.

    The packaging of Season Four is identical to that of Seasons One, Two and Three so the cases are going to form a nice set on your display shelf when the series is complete.

    Season Four comprises 22 episodes. Here is a brief synopsis of each:

Episode 1 - Ambush (44:01)

    Someone is watching every move in this episode, which went to air live in the US when originally broadcast. A documentary film crew is following Dr Greene and the other ER staff during a normally hectic day. An ER episode with a difference that does take some getting used to as everything is completed in jerky home-video style of filming.

Episode 2 - Something New (44:12)

    New faces and standard chaos reign when the new recruit, Dr Elizabeth Corday joins the team. Greene hires a new desk clerk while Carter tries to mentor his new student Henry. Benton and Carla finally settle on the name of their new child.

Episode 3 - Friendly Fire (43:45)

    Jerry takes a look at a paramilitary weapon brought into the ER by a gun seller. Weaver takes aim at the ER operating costs and Hathaway feels threatened when newcomer Corday flirts with Dr Ross.

Episode 4 - When The Bough Breaks (43:24)

    Children in a school bus accident overwhelm the ER, while a crack addict goes into unexpected labour. Boulet takes a risky solo action to save a patient, and Carter and Benton clash spectacularly.

Episode 5 - Good Touch, Bad Touch (43:19)

    Fatigue, stress, personal problems and professional back-stabbing prove it is great to be a doctor. Greene confronts legal problems, Benton juggles work and parenting, while a rival takes credit for Carter's life-saving idea.

Episode 6 - Ground Zero (43:21)

    Weaver chops Jeannie Boulet out of the budget and, while refusing psychiatric help, Greene slips into the out-of-control zone. There is sad news as Doug Ross's father dies in California.

Episode 7 - Fathers and Sons (43:40)

    A road trip for some of the staff as they journey through the past. Green accompanies Dr Ross to California where he must make funeral arrangements for his father. While on the west coast Greene makes an awkward visit to his parents.

Episode 8 - Freak Show (43:06)

    There's good news as patients swarm to Hathaway's clinic, but bad news because of a scheduling error they all arrive a week too early. Meanwhile Boulet makes a stand against Weaver to keep her job.

Episode 9 - Obstruction Of Justice (43:10)

    Battle lines are drawn. Boulet shows up for work even though the previous day was supposedly her last. Carter defends a patient's rights and is jailed, while Ross overrides Weaver's treatment of a man with sickle cell anaemia.

Episode 10 - Do You See What I See (43:18)

    Everyone is talking Christmas Eve miracles when a blind man insists that Benton's touch has restored his sight, while a patient's attitude inspires Greene to apologise to a family that sued him. The big news this week occurs when Dr Ross proposes to Hathaway.

Episode 11 - Think Warm Thoughts (43:26)

    The dead of winter is far from dead as Corday upends hospital protocol. Carter tries to impress a student and an elderly woman is admitted unaware that she has been raped. Meanwhile, Hathaway downplays her engagement.

Episode 12 - Sharp Relief (43:27)

    Weaver sees drug company Synergix's dark side, while Carter tries to help his drug addicted cousin. Benton and Corday meanwhile draw closer and a ride-along with paramedic Powell makes Hathaway realise she can't commit to Dr Ross.

Episode 13 - Carter's Choice (43:08)

    Life in the ER is all about tough decisions and Carter makes a controversial choice about the treatment of a serial rapist. Dr Ross, meanwhile, comes to terms with Hathaway and Weaver acts on her misgivings about Synergix.

Episode 14 - Family Practice (42:25)

    Greene is in San Diego to help during a family crisis, one compounded by a long time rift between him and his father, and Cynthia's impulsive and unannounced arrival.

Episode 15 - Exodus (42:59)

    An explosion in a chemical warehouse floods the ER with contaminated victims. When Weaver succumbs to the toxins, Carter takes over the ER. Corday meanwhile risks her life to save a man trapped in the rubble.

Episode 16 - My Brother's Keeper (43:13)

    Family secrets come to the fore as Carter faces his angry grandparents when his cousin Chase overdoses on heroin. Ross saves a little boy poisoned by his malevolent brother - who in turn may be a victim of his stepfather's abuse.

Episode 17 - A Bloody Mess (43:21)

    It's full speed ahead for Corday as her hemo-aid study conflicts with Romano's intentions and her romantic play for Benton runs up against his attitudes about dating. There's a crisis at the top as Dr Anspaugh's son needs a bone marrow match.

Episode 18 - Gut Reaction (42:38)

    Dr Ross seeks an attending physician post while Benton risks his career by intervening in a procedure headed by Dr Morgenstern. Carter is cut off from his trust fund, while Dr Del Amico learns she is a marrow match for a complete stranger.

Episode 19 - Shades Of Gray (43:19)

    Two crises of conscience as Dr Del Amico freezes with indecision instead of helping a victim of an abortion clinic bombing. Morgenstern confronts his culpability in Dr Swanson's death.

Episode 20 - Of Past Regret and Future Fear (43:16)

    It's a lovely Sunday afternoon, but not in the ER as Romano puts the moves on Corday. Ross deals with a heroin addicted baby and a young father with hours to live longs to see the daughter he abandoned.

Episode 21 - Suffer The Little Children (42:56)

    Determined to help the drug-addicted infant, Dr Ross secretly performs an urgent, but unauthorised procedure and is found out by Greene. Meanwhile, a television evangelist broadcasts from her ER bed.

Episode 22 - A Hole In The Heart (42:45)

    Doug Ross's career is in jeopardy, while Weaver copes with her own career frustrations. Carter distrusts Del Amico's boyfriend and the fragmented ER staff rally to treat a family shot by its deranged father.

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

Transfer Quality


      With the exception of the season opening episode, and just like the previous seasons already released, Season Four features a video transfer presented in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    At least the first half dozen seasons of ER were originally broadcast in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, so this aspect is again a departure from how it was originally shown on television. But again, there is really nothing to get upset about - because it looks great. It does look like the makers always intended for this show to be eventually shown in a widescreen aspect ratio and just like it did in the previous seasons, there is not a single shot that looks oddly framed.

    The earlier season transfers looked pretty good, but they did have faults, mostly appearing slightly grubby and grimy. Thankfully as the years have progressed the images have improved. Overall the quality of the image scrubs up well with sharpness and the level of detail about as expected  Shadow detail is never compromised, grain levels are excellent. There is also no low level noise.

    Colours are again quite bright with no instances of washout or bleeding. The bright greens and blues of the doctor's 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, and thankfully the overall cleanliness of the source print has improved dramatically since the griminess of season one.

    Subtitles! Once again it is 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.

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


    There are three audio soundtracks available for all 22 episodes. The main track of choice for all English speaking viewers is the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack, while there is also a French and Italian version. While there is no surround flag embedded in the bitstream, this is a soundtrack that offers significant rear channel activity throughout many of the episodes. It's quite solid with a wide range and a bit of punch when needed.

    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 theme.

    Surround channel use is extremely limited, but a little of the score and a few background sounds leak through to the rears on occasion.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation


    These are really deleted scenes rather than blooper type outtakes. Spread across various episodes in the series, there are a dozen or so scenes in total that run for 24:39.

R4 vs R1

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

    Season Four of ER has not yet been released in Region 1. As soon as it is I'll investigate the specs and post an update.


    The fourth season of ER continues the high standard set with this landmark series in its early to middle years. This is television drama at its most intense, hectic, authentic, and enjoyable best.

    Like the earlier seasons, the video transfer is again quite remarkable looking. Apart from the "live" season opener, it is a widescreen presentation despite the fact it was originally shot in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Thankfully not a single frame that looks odd being shown at 1.78:1. Overall this is a much cleaner and crisper video transfer than we saw for season one and one a par with season two.

    The audio is functional, being quite solid and dynamic for a two channel effort. There is significant surround use once you activate Pro-Logic decoding.

    The extras are limited to a series of outtakes.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, 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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