The Very Best of St. Elsewhere - Four Tape Set VHS
VHS | Box Set
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For six memorable years, St. Elsewhere proved how good TV can be. Exquisitely written, directed and performed, the series unique mix of hard-hitting drama and heartfelt humor garnered 13 Emmy® awards and the coveted Peabody® and Humanitas awards. Many
Long before the angst-ridden tension of ER and Chicago Hope, television audiences tuned in to St. Elsewhere for their weekly dose of hospital hijinks. From 1982 to 1988, this Boston-based NBC series shared the spotlight with Hill Street Blues as cutting-edge TV drama, paving the way for shows as diverse as Northern Exposure and L.A. Law.
Once dubbed by TV Guide as "the greatest dramatic series of all time," St. Elsewhere wears this accolade remarkably well, as evidenced by this four-tape boxed set. For example, many dramatic series now incorporate humor as a vital element, but St. Elsewhere may be the first long-running dramatic series to consistently use intelligent humor in a compelling, off-beat manner. Each of the eight episodes in this boxed set demonstrates this nuanced humor.
Representing the most highly acclaimed shows from each season, The Very Best of St. Elsewhere showcases the work of several cast members who continued their careers after the series' demise, including Mark Harmon, Howie Mandel, Helen Hunt, Alfre Woodard, and of course, Denzel Washington. St. Elsewhere lent a much-needed human element to the never-ending trials of a frenetic, big-city hospital, and the drama was made real with the pioneering use of handheld cameras, looping story line episodes, and overlapping dialogue. The show's fresh urban edge revitalized a genre long stale with the likes of Marcus Welby, M.D. and Medical Center. Garnering 13 Emmy Awards and a fiercely loyal following, the show endured a five-year run, despite increasingly poor ratings. Finally, on May 25, 1988, St. Elsewhere closed its doors to the public, as well as network television. --Stephan Magcosta
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The truly shocking thing is it never won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. Whilst Lou Grant, Hill Street Blues and Thirtysomething rightly did, St. Elsewhere missed out. And you know what won it both years when St. Elegias should have won? Cagney and Lacey!! Probably the biggest mistake the Emmies made - that forgettable cop show looks trifling and mediocre now.
St. Elsewhere was intelligent television that's hard to come by these days. They were innovative, literate, funny, and challenging. The excellent acting was matched by terrific writing. The first two or three seasons were the best; it was the kind of tv that was so good it could give you a high, like the first few years of The West Wing. If you haven't seen it in a while, get the box set of St. Elsewhere (on eBay if it's out of print on Amazon).
The only negative comments I can make concern the soundtrack changes on the videotape editions described by a previous reviewer and the lack of other episodes on video. Hopefully, someday, this series will someday appear on DVD, with commentary from the series' writers, producers and directors (if ever a television series needed that kind of commentary, this is the one).
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