Thursday, September 21

ER series on HBO: the ‘Hill Street’ of medical series

Some protagonists of ‘ER’. / CR

HBO includes in its catalog from next July 17 the mythical fiction of Michael Crichton

Rose Belmonte

‘ER’ is one of the last great series of general networks (NBC) seen on our lifelong television (TVE). Michael Crichton, who can be considered an author, wrote a screenplay in 1974. Chrichton is a novelist, but he was also trained as a doctor. By the time ‘Jurassic Park’ was made, he was already someone you could buy another movie from. Or a medical series. The pilot premiered on September 19, 1994. A Monday. And three days later, the first episode. Spielberg produced and the showrunner would be John Wells (years later he would do ‘The West Wing’ and ‘Shameless’). It was released at the same time as David E. Kelley’s ‘Chicago Hope’. With Adam Arkin and Mandy Patinkin. And both were in Chicago. But ‘ER’ was something else. It blew over ‘Chicago Hope’, just like ’30 Rock’ blew over ‘Studio 60’ (ok, these, although centered on a TV show, were very different). ‘ER’ was very fast, quite technical, perhaps demanding. But if viewers were prepared to see ‘Hill Street’, why wouldn’t they be ready for ‘ER’? And those are two perfect examples to affirm that the series are not better now, although there are more and it is easier to watch them. But neither ‘Hill Street’ nor ‘ER’ have needed cables or platforms to be a good auction.

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In Spain, ‘ER’ premiered in 1996. On La 1. And of course he mistreated her. In that, at least, young people live better than their parents. Seeing what they want when they want. ‘ER’ has been the last great series along with ‘The West Wing’, ‘Six Feet Under’ or ‘Gilmore Girls’ premiered on the public channel. And of course a medical series was nothing new, despite the fact that ‘ER’ was. People ran through the corridors, the cameras moved, with them in hand they chased the protagonists. Bochco had planted the seed in ‘Hill Street Blues’, but here the students surpassed him.

Clooney and Margulies, in ‘ER’. /


Michael Crichton said that rhythm was in the emergency room when he was studying medicine. There were so many episodes that they even did one live and let Tarantino direct another (he showed off with a sequence shot). And then there were also annoying chapters of those in which they went to Africa. The pilot and the last chapter were directed by Rod Holcomb. George Clooney and Julianna Margulies would be the actors who would stand out the most. Also Maura Tierney or Linda Cardellini. We knew Clooney as the police boyfriend of the gorgeous Sela Ward in ‘Sisters’. In the first chapter nurse Carol Hathaway (Margulies) had taken an overdose by the handsome pediatrician.

If in the series that would consecrate Margulies, ‘The Good Wife’, there would be hateful characters, in ‘ER’ there were also: the doctor played by Eriq LaSalle, the lame Laura Innes (lame before ‘House’ and the actress who more time was in the series), Paul McCrane (Dr. Romano, whose arm was severed by a helicopter, to the enjoyment of the viewer). There were also characters without salt, like Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards). For the last episodes George Clooney returned. I don’t know if it was to decorate, to do a favor for friends or to make a difference with what was there.

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There were 331 episodes and the most Emmy-nominated series (although not the most awarded). I’m not sure I want to see her again, maybe bite. How lucky to have seen her at her time. But what luck also that HBO Max recovers it. If La 1 put it at 4:30 p.m., as he did with ‘Downton Abbey’, he would surely see it.

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