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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 Fifth Season (1997)

ER-Complete Fifth Season (1997)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 937:36 (Case: 940)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Sided
Multi Disc Set (6)
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
Kellie Martin
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)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Hungarian 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

    Medical drama ER has been one of the flagship television series since its debut in 1994, and in early 2006 is mid way through its 12th season and powering through more than 250 episodes. While the number of viewers watching each week has declined over the last couple of seasons,  and with the departure of Noah Wyle's John Carter meaning there are no original cast members left, the show appears to not be 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. Moreover it has won at least one Emmy every year of its production up to and including 2005, except for 2004.

        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.

    Season five was released on DVD just prior to Christmas 2005 and sees the series really hitting its peak in terms of story development, drama content and acting.

    Unlike recent seasons (with ridiculous and sensationalist chopper crashes and African and Iraq diversions), Season Five sees the series at its peak with great stories, believable drama and a real sense that everyone knows they are making something special. 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. New characters to enter the ER during season five include medical student Lucy Knight (Kellie Martin) while storylines continuing over from series four include the problems that Benton is experiencing with his son's hearing and Mark Greene's battle with his estranged wife who wants to move away from Chicago with their daughter.

    Season Five comprises 22 episodes. A really good synopsis for each episode can be found at, so I've just included the episode title and running time here.


Episode 1 - Day For Knight (43:18)        Episode 2 - Split Second (42:49)        Episode 3 - They Treat Horses Don't They? (41:32)        Episode 4 - Vanishing Act (41:48)   


Episode 5 - Masquerade (42:24)        Episode 6 - Stuck On You (42;53)        Episode 7 - Hazed and Confused (42:52)        Episode 8 - The Good Fight (42:32)


Episode 9 - Good Luck, Ruth Johnson (42:53)        Episode 10 - The Miracle Worker (42:26)        Episode 11 - Nobody Doesn't Like Amanda Lee (42:36)        Episode 12 - Double Blind (42:47)


Episode 13 - Choosing Joi (42:33)        Episode 14 - The Storm Part I (42:54)        Episode 15 - The Storm Part II (43:16)        Episode 16 - Middle Of Nowhere (42:48)


Episode 17 - Sticks and Stones (42:00)        Episode 18 - Point Of Origin (42:31)        Episode 19 - Rites Of Spring (42:46)


Episode 20 - Power (42:48)        Episode 21 - Responsible Parties (42:24)        Episode 22 - Getting To Know You (42:46)

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

Transfer Quality


    Like the first four seasons of ER Season Five features a video transfer presented in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is also 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 as with the first four season, there is 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, and 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.

    There are several subtitle streams available. I sampled the English variety and found them accurate and very useful when the medical jargon cranked up a gear.

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


    There are three audio soundtracks available for all 22 episodes, but alas none of them this time around is a commentary track. The main track of choice for all English speaking viewers is the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack, while there is also a Hungarian and Italian version for those so inclined.. 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 Audio

R4 vs R1

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

    Season Five 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 fifth season of ER sees the landmark series nearing its peak in terms of story and acting. The high standard set in the first four series has seen the bar lifted again and with the majority of the regular cast still in attendance this is a season for fans to savour.

    Like the earlier seasons, the video transfer is again quite remarkable looking. It is a widescreen presentation despite the fact it was originally shot at 1.33:1. Thankfully not a single frame 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 on a par with seasons two, three and four.

    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.

    There are again no extras, which is not a good sign for future season releases.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
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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