This week, the question that has surrounded NBC’s venerable medical drama ER for years will be put to rest. That question, of course, being “that show is still on?” Unbelievably (and probably unnecessarily) ER lasted 15 seasons, bursting on the scene in 1994, helping shape network TV drama in the process. I was a huge fan of the show when it debuted, and it remained one of my favourites for years to come. But, like many people who followed the show, I eventually dropped out. I gave up near the beginning of season twelve, deciding that a show that had none of the lead actors left from its first season (Noah Wyle left at the end of the eleventh season) no longer bore any resemblance to the show I once enjoyed. And, really, after a decade, I’d seen all I needed to see (although I did tune a couple weeks ago to see the return of Wyle, Eriq La Salle, Julianna Margulies, and that George Clooney guy).
So obviously this list is by no means definitive, although I’m fairly confident that few fans would rank episodes from the final four seasons amongst the show’s very best (even if they may have been pretty good). Moreover, I’m working completely from memory here, so it’s entirely possible that I’m missing some great episodes. Which is why this titled “10 Memorable Episodes of ER”, rather than “The Top 10 Episodes of ER”. I watched these episodes as they aired, some again on reruns, and have rewatched the first five seasons (the Clooney years) on DVD (I’ll probably keep buying and watching the series on DVD until I no longer enjoy it, which I suspect will be earlier than when I first stopped watching it). So my methodology is a little spotty, but, hey, if I remember an episode, it necessarily qualifies as “memorable” right?
Oh, and by “memorable”, I mean “memorably great”, not “Freefall” memorable (AKA “Romano v. Helicopter II: The Revengening”, AKA when the show jumped the shark). Because now that it’s over, let’s not remember all the reasons it faded into obscurity, and rather celebrate one of the truly great network dramas in the history of television.
The list, arranged chronologically…