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Over its six-season run, the ground-breaking, critically acclaimed St. Elsewhere was nominated for over 60 Emmy Awards, winning 13 of them! This remarkable series, with its unique blend of intense medical drama, off-beat humor and imaginative storytelling, paved the way for later TV classics such as E.R. and Chicago Hope, while introducing America to future superstars Mark Harmon, Howie Mandel, and Oscar(r)-winner* Denzel Washington. Eccentric, insightful, and intelligent, St. Elsewhere is considered to be one of the best dramas ever to air on broadcast television.
Beginning its six-year run in 1982, St. Elsewhere was neither television's first ensemble medical drama nor, heaven knows, its last. Yet this four-disc set of all 22 episodes from the first season is a reminder that this was, and still is, one of the very best. Even now, when "reality" programming blights the landscape like some biblical plague, doc, cop, and lawyer shows remain staples of the medium, and while the likes of C.S.I., E.R., and Grey's Anatomy have it all over St. Elsewhere in the sizzle department--the production values are much flashier, the content sexier, more graphic, and faster-moving, the technology both in front of and behind the camera light years more sophisticated--the older show, despite its somewhat cheesy '70s vibe, is the hands-down winner when it comes to the actual steak. That's because it does it the old-fashioned way: by relying on good writing, vividly-drawn, identifiable characters, and excellent performances by an eye-opening group of actors.
Co-creators Joshua Brand and John Falsey's pilot episode, which establishes the scene at Boston's St. Eligius Hospital (mocked as "St. Elsewhere" due to its rundown facilities and reputation as a "dumping ground" for the poor and disenfranchised), isn't especially promising. While we can see right away that the show sports a lighter, more humorous tone than others of its genre, the direction is static, the acting and dialogue are often stiff, and what passes for "chaos" is pretty tame. But it hits its stride almost immediately thereafter, as the characters (including Howie Mandel's wisecracking Dr. Fiscus, David Morse's driven, committed Dr. Morrison, William Daniels' egotistical, pompous Dr. Craig, and Ed Begley, Jr.'s nerdy Dr. Ehrlich) are more fully realized. The cast, in fact, may be the most impressive ever assembled for a TV program: in the first season alone, the list of actors with regular, recurring, and one-shot appearances includes future movie stars Denzel Washington (a regular, but his role is minor), Tim Robbins, Ally Sheedy, Christopher Guest, Laraine Newman, Ray Liotta, Tom Hulce, Michael Madsen, and Rae Dawn Chong. Sure, some of the multiple storylines are dated: the handling of issues like gun control, immigration, and terrorism seems almost quaint by today's standards, and a running gag concerning ladies man Dr. Samuels' (David Birney) having to inform his many lovers that he has gonorrhea comes off as tasteless and unfunny, notwithstanding that era's low awareness of AIDS and other STDs. But on the whole, this St. Elsewhere set (extras include audio commentary for "Cora and Arnie," plus four featurettes) is a reminder of episodic TV at its best. --Sam Graham
Really dated. Do not understand why a program this old still costs $1.99. We won't be watching.Published 24 days ago by D. Merz
I love St Elsewhere.It's great to feel that your back in that time frame. I just wish they would release the rest of the seasons..Published 1 month ago by Betty Forester
I am sure it is as good as when it was made, and I am really getting a kick out of watching it after all these years. (efficientyl sent, and delivered)Published 1 month ago by jul
Excellent show. Watching this actor before they became big stars is rare find.Published 2 months ago by Thumper
Hospitals in the 80's were more oriented to the public. Nowadays looks like only a business. Good prompt DVD delivery.Published 3 months ago by The traveler
|Topic||From this Discussion|
I, too, await the next season--and why do they make us wait a whole year for each release? I'd buy all 6 seasons as a package if it was available.
Jan 1, 2007 by Ginger L. Chapman | See all 19 posts
|St. Elsewhere box set||
According to Amazon.co.uk, Season two (region code 2) is available for pre-order. And that the release date is January 1, 2020! Is this a joke or a mistake?
Feb 15, 2009 by R.J. Laaksonen | See all 7 posts
|A FOX Release||
Why does Denzel Washington, who was a minor character on the show, rate the most prominent picture on the box? His picture is at the top of the box, and is bigger than anyone else's pic...
Jul 4, 2008 by Scoot395 | See all 5 posts
|st. elsewhere needs to sell!||
Oh boy, I was afraid of that. St. Elsewhere is such a virtually unknown gem that people have either forgotten about it or are unaware of it's quality.
Well, Fox, if you are watching, I just bought season 1 and signed up to be emailed when the rest becomes available.
Oct 5, 2010 by Glenn | See all 2 posts
|Pirated versions||Be the first to reply|
|Does the DVDs include Spanish audio & subtiles?||Be the first to reply|