Friday, 29 May 2009

Goodbye to ER

After 15 years, watching the last episode of ER was a must last night. I’m sure I don’t have much to add to the volumes that will doubtlessly be written about the series, but I can’t let its passing go unmentioned.

In the pre-Sopranos era it shocked the complacency of us Brits who felt that our TV was inherently better than anything that came out of the US. Of course since the flood of HBO imports the superiority of these US shows is pretty much undeniable: The Brits may still excel when it comes to comfort viewing – talking bonnets in yet another Jane Austin adaptation - or soporific Middle England coziness like Heartbeat, but just compare ER with the interminable Casualty or Holby City.

ER gave us proper grown-up drama that managed to make something that was intelligent and moving, without being sentimental, out of that most tired of formulas the medical drama. I’m not by nature given to emotional outpourings, but the portrayal of Dr Greene’s drawn out death was one of the most genuinely poignant things I’ve seen on TV and I’m not ashamed to confess to being a little choked even when seeing it again in the retrospective last night.

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