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124 of 130 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best TV shows ever deserves better DVD treatment than this!
St. Elsewhere is viewed by critics as one of the best TV shows ever produced. The accolades are deserved. All the shows since - ER, Grey's Anatomy, Chicago Hope and others - have roots in St. Elsewhere, the show that set the standard for combining hospital drama and comedy.

As a teenager I came late to the table and was only able to view about two thirds of...
Published on December 8, 2006 by Traveler

versus
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The show is fantastic but the DVD is not that great.
Firstly, my star rating has to do with the quality of the DVD and not the show. The show despite the shoddy treatment on DVD is still engaging and holds up after 20+ years (very few Dramas can say that!) The DVD quality however, sigh. The picture isn't great and the sound is kind of fuzzy/tinny. The menu maze is kind of tedious. I prefer a "play all" feature, which this...
Published on December 23, 2006 by Ange Anderson


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124 of 130 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best TV shows ever deserves better DVD treatment than this!, December 8, 2006
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
St. Elsewhere is viewed by critics as one of the best TV shows ever produced. The accolades are deserved. All the shows since - ER, Grey's Anatomy, Chicago Hope and others - have roots in St. Elsewhere, the show that set the standard for combining hospital drama and comedy.

As a teenager I came late to the table and was only able to view about two thirds of the original shows. However, I was able to record on VHS almost all of the shows I did see. I was excited when I heard they were going to (finally!) release the show on DVD and I could, at last, watch all the early episodes I had missed.

So here we have one of the most acclaimed shows ever and what we get is a flimsy slip case, double sided DVDs (that easily become scratched), and minimal extras. This is the treatment they give shows like Different Strokes or Emergency. St. Elsewhere, of any of the 80s shows, deserved the kind of treatment they give The Simpsons or CSI.

Imagine what they could have done if they'd packaged the entire show like they did the complete West Wing. Imagine a first aid box with the St. Elsewhere logo. Inside would have been a DVD set for each season. Single sided DVDs with images of the cast on each one. The extras would have included interviews with all the cast members, background on the St. Elsewhere theme song, a documentary on where they shot St. Elsewhere (and where exterior shots were filmed in Boston), a where are they now documentary on the cast, and lots lots more.

Intead we get this. I bought this set. And I'll buy the others when they get released. But what a rip-off. St. Elsewhere - and its fans - deserved better than this.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best shows EVER!, October 24, 2006
By 
RMurray847 (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
It's hard to say how well this show will stand up to the test of time. It's been a long time since I've seen an episode, and I know that dramas in particular don't always hold up well a generation later. I LOVE LUCY, MASH, THE HONEYMOONERS can still make us laugh and appreciate their brilliance. Dramas like HILL STREET BLUES often are more nostalgic than actually still engrossing.

I have high hopes for ST. ELSEWHERE because 1) it was head and shoulders above the rest when it aired, 2) it had a brilliant cast...and not just Denzel Washington, David Morse or Alfre Woodard (who all went on to more famous film careers), but pretty much every other person in the show was at the top of their games.

I remember how cutting-edge they were, particularly in dealing with AIDS. First regular TV show I can remember where a patient had AIDS. And I remember how freaked out everyone was by him. First show in which a major character (Mark Harmon) died from AIDS. And remember how there was a rapist running around the hospital as well? And remember that it turned out to be a major character? Not many shows will go down that road today.

I remember lots of humor, and lots of pathos. I'm sure it doesn't have the blinding pace of ER...but ER would not have existed without ST. ELSEWHERE. (And ER's pace isn't always a good thing...sometimes I can't understand what everyone is saying on that show!) But it told interesting stories, and it had recurring characters you CARED about. In so many dramas with large casts today...you don't find yourself investing much concern in what happens to the characters...you're just trying to keep up with them all. ST. ELSEWHERE managed to juggle so many people, and yet they were all flesh and blood. This was due to great writing, cutting edge topics and BRILLIANT ACTING.

So I'll be placing my order for this trip down memory lane. With all the lousy shows that have been released on DVD...it's more than high time to visit St. Eligius!!
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Return of St. Eligius Hospital, September 14, 2006
By 
R. Fox (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
A number of years ago I wrote an Amazon review of the box VHS set, "The Best of St. Elsewhere." In that videotape collection all of the contemporary or period music had been replaced by an awful, high-static overdub of generic, muzak-style tunes. Obviously rights for all of the popular and pre-recorded songs could not be obtained and the set was released anyway. Only the theme song and background score composed specifically for the show remained as originally intended. Unfortunately, the new dubbing ruined many of the best episodes and even the actors' original dialogue tracks were barely audible over the `new' score.

[UPDATE: I have purchased the DVD since writing this review several weeks ago. Fox Home Entertainment has done a terrific job with the extras and remastering. Producer/co-creator/director Mark Tinker mentions in the audio commentary for the 'Cora & Arnie' episode that even at the time of production they frequently had to use very convincing 'sound-alikes' for period music because the original artists' recordings were prohibitively expensive. The one exception to this was the ZZ Top song 'Legs,' which the producers did buy and may be heard in a later episode/season. Despite this, the earlier VHS collection I referenced still has terrible overdubs and does not contain the original broadcast selections - sound-alike or not. I am happy to report that at least for the Season 1 DVD all of the original music seems to be intact.]

I am very glad that the series is at long last being released on DVD, but am wondering if the music rights were ever obtained. This issue has held up many other releases, most notably `Miami Vice,' which was scored almost entirely with hit songs from the 80s.

I will purchase the first season and hope for the best. If you are just coming to `St. Elsewhere' you are in for a wonderful treat. TV Guide once named it the best drama series of all time. Despite its relatively low ratings it was beloved by critics and boasted a loyal fan base. The writing has yet to be matched anywhere and the ensemble (consisting mostly of acclaimed stage actors) rounds out one of the largest and most versatile casts ever assembled for television.

No series has ever matched St. Elsewhere and I don't think anything ever will - it will make you laugh; it will make you cry; it will show you how great television can be. Hooray for this release!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yay!!!!, September 10, 2006
By 
The Wordy Bird "Robin" (An Undisclosed Basement in Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
It's about dang time they started releasing this series. Afterall, TV Guide rated this as the best prime-time drama series in television history - and for good reason. This series pioneered blending poignance and irreverence with a top-notch ensemble cast, the likes of which have not been matched in a prime-time drama since. If you're only vaguely familiar with this series, do yourself a favor and sample Season One when it comes out; this show embodies all that television can be.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The show is fantastic but the DVD is not that great., December 23, 2006
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
Firstly, my star rating has to do with the quality of the DVD and not the show. The show despite the shoddy treatment on DVD is still engaging and holds up after 20+ years (very few Dramas can say that!) The DVD quality however, sigh. The picture isn't great and the sound is kind of fuzzy/tinny. The menu maze is kind of tedious. I prefer a "play all" feature, which this DVD does not have. Also, I'm not crazy about the dual disc either.

The special features are okay but not great considering folks have been waiting so long for this DVD collection's release. Little stingy.

I hope that the next seasons' release will have better features, better picture quality and better sound quality.

content: five stars, no doubt.

picture: 3 stars

sound: 3 stars, even with a quality system, it's tinny.

special features: 3 stars.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Only Gets Better From Here, January 31, 2007
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
St. Elsewhere remains my absolute favorite TV show, and it even ranks high among all of the other forms of entertainment that I enjoy, like movies, music and books. It's the first show I remember watching that achieved a certain level of realism with its characters, and that had continuing storylines without being a soap opera. You could watch each episode without having seen previous ones, but you were definitely rewarded if you watched each week. It was also the first show I remember that wasn't afraid to take risks with its many characters- they weren't perfect people, and sometimes very bad things happened to them. St. Elsewhere was intelligent but highly entertaining TV, and it (and Hill Street Blues) paved the way for some excellent shows today that maintain similar standards.

And so I've waited for a long time for St. Elsewhere to be on DVD. I'm not disappointed, but the first season is definitely different from later years. I don't remember much of the first two seasons, but it seems to me that the show hit its stride in year two and peaked in it third and fourth seasons. The first season is very good, but the characters haven't been developed quite as well as they would later, and its hard to be invested in some of them knowing that they would disappear after the first season with no explanation. Also, some of the storylines (especially those involving the psychiatric wing of the hospital) seem silly and unrealistic- almost more like something out of a sitcom than from a serious drama.

Still, though, this is where it all started and it's clear that the groundwork was being laid for a great show. Minor details mentioned here will become major storylines later on, and events that impact characters now will play even bigger roles later. There are many genuinely emotional and dramatic moments, as well as interesting and well-written stories about medical cases and, more importantly, about the personal lives of the employees at St. Eligius.

It would have been nice to have more extras, as other reviewers have mentioned, but I'm glad that the first season is fully intact (although it seems like they did substitute some of the songs- that is definitely not Bruce Springsteen singing "Born to Run" in the first episode). It's frustrating that there is no word yet on future seasons, but hopefully sales will be enough that we'll get the complete show in a relatively short period of time.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a long, long wait, December 28, 2006
By 
Dave Fernandes (Chelsea, MI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
Every single medical drama that is on the air today has directly stolen its style and pathos from St. Elsewhere. Gray's Anatomy might be considered a very weak, but updated version of St. Elsewhere. St. Elsewhere set so many standards it wasn't even funny. Always struggling in the ratings and always changing and evolving, the show never settled in one place. Characters came and went, plot lines came back when you least expected them, and experimentation was the rule of the day.

Season one set a style and tone that did not last in the following seasons. Here you see more chit chat and a faster pace (if you can believe it) than seasons 2 on. It's nice to see commentaries and some special features on the DVD vs. just the shows. The quality of the DVD is acceptable but the grain is quite visible especially in the pilot episode and that's discouraging. They could have footed the bill for cleanup.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, September 20, 2006
By 
Kristi Branstetter (Raytown, Missouri United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
I am sooo happy to see the release of the first season of this amazing series coming out on DVD finally! I have waited a long time to see the doctors and nurses of St. Eligius on DVD. I can't wait to see Drs. Westphall, Auschlander, and Craig and all the other cast members of this beloved series grace my TV screen again! I used to live for the nights that this show came on NBC from 1982 until 1988. It ran for a awhile in syndication on Bravo. But it has been well over a year since then. I plan to get all the seasons when they all come out on DVD.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE BEST TV drama...ever, December 7, 2006
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
I cannot put into words my love for this drama. The writing, acting, humor, sadness, plot twists, characters...all as wonderful as I remembered. This is a great DVD set. Love Howie Mandel's commentary and the one from David Morse. No show will ever match St. Elsewhere, and whenever I hear anyone talk about ER, my only response is...It isn't, never was, and never will be...St. Elsewhere.

So, when is Season 2 coming out???
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AT LAST!, September 20, 2006
This review is from: St. Elsewhere - Season 1 (DVD)
This is simply one of the best dramatic series in TV history. It had the best ensemble cast ever, the best writing, and tackled taboo subjects that other shows wouldn't touch. Although, I am worried that if the first season doesn't sell well enough they won't release the entire series which would be a crime, for no one could have guessed how they decided to end the show, which is also the greatest finale I've ever seen. SO PLEASE RELEASE THE ENTIRE SERIES RUN!
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