Audio Commentary:Audio commentary on three key episodes by series producers and crew
Documentaries:Prescription for Success: The Birth of ER; First-Year Rotation: Caring for ER; On the Cutting Edge: Medical Realism on ER; Post Operative Procedures: Post Production in the ER
Scene Access:Audio commentary on three key episodes by series producers and crew
The remarkably strong first season showed off its sharp ensemble cast through a variety of compelling story lines both personal (Carter's conflicts with Benton, Lewis's struggles with her no-account sister, Chloe, played by Kathleen Wilhoite) and professional (a holiday blizzard and especially the harrowing tale of a pregnancy gone bad, "Love's Labor Lost," which won five Emmy Awards). When Carter is pondering whether his future includes the ER, Green jokes, "It's not bad: Stress, late nights, hard work, no pay--it's hard to beat." It's hard to imagine people choosing to work under those conditions, but they do, and in the process these very human people perform superhuman feats as they face life and death as part of their daily jobs.
DVD features are fairly generous for a TV series box. There are two commentary tracks on the pilot episode, including one by Crichton, and crew commentaries on "Sleepless in Chicago" and "Love's Labor Lost." A new 39-minute documentary discusses the show's genesis, casting, and the "Chicago hospital drama smackdown" with Chicago Hope through interviews with Crichton, executive producer Steven Spielberg, other crew members, and the principal cast members other than Eriq LaSalle. Also included are a very watchable featurette on the show's realism (ever wonder why Ross is always looking down?) and another on post-production, a list of characters (including patients by episode, but why no actor credits?), three minor deleted scenes, outtakes, and a glossary of frequently used medical terms. Particularly notable is that the episodes are shown in anamorphic widescreen. ER was one of the first network shows broadcast in widescreen, but that was years after these episodes, which are shown in widescreen for the first time. --David Horiuchi