ER: The Complete Fourth Season

ER: The Complete Fourth Season (1997-98)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Noah Wyle, Julianna Margulies, Gloria Reuben, Laura Innes
Extras: Deleted Footage, Featurettes

Entering its fourth Emmy Award winning season, "ER" comes to DVD in an awesome package that includes the complete 22 episodes originally broadcast in the 1997-98 television season, with a few cool extras added in.

Genuine and captivating, the drama and sometimes mild comedy never seem to stop as we enter the world of the "ER". Set in the County General Hospital of Chicago, a level one trauma center, the talented teams of doctors are continually faced with day to day challenges that offer pure tragedy and triumph. This fourth season sees the introduction of Dr. Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston), who joins the likes of an ever changing cast that has seen many faces over the years, from the talents of; George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Julianna Margulies, Sherry Stringfield, Noah Wyle and Mekhi Phifer, to name only a few. Winner of the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award as well as garnering 21 Emmy Awards and a staggering 112 nominations, "ER" easily claims its well deserved spot in memorable television history.

Looking far better than I ever remembered upon its original broadcast or what I had expected to see on DVD, Warner Bros. Home Video produces a top notch entertainment packed set for "ER: The Complete Fourth Season". Displaying magnificently saturated color and rich solid black levels, every pre and post operative procedure is yours to enjoy in all its digital glory. The transfer(s) do not exhibit any forms of dust or dirt particles and I was hard pressed to find any overly distracting issues related to video compression. The only thing that might be made a point of is the sometimes "soft" look of the visuals. This is hardly worth mentioning as the overall image is a sheer pleasure to re-experience close to ten years after the original broadcast of this fourth season of "ER".

Warner Home Video also makes good use of the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack. Being accustomed to full blown 5.1 presentations from some other TV product available on DVD had me a little skeptical as to how this set would perform sonically. Upon playing the first few episodes and hearing the smooth deep bass utilized over the opening credits, I knew that my listening pleasure would be in good hands. Vocals are reproduced to appear natural in presentation and are always clear and distinct. The 2.0 soundtrack manages to maintain good separation and provide a nice overall soundstage, given its limited number of audio channels.

There is an added feature that is titled "Outpatient Outtakes" that offers the viewer deleted scenes available on select episodes. From the episode index menu on select discs, you will notice an icon in the shape of a pair of scissors. Choosing to "highlight" this icon, then pressing "enter" on your DVD players remote will take you to the deleted footage. On disc one, the shows historic "live" season opener "Ambush" is examined through two separate featurettes; "Anatomy of an Ambush" and "Live Post Show: How Cast and Crew Wound Down After Ambush Aired" gives a good behind-the-scenes perspective that fans won't want to miss. Even more deleted footage is available under the "Cutups" section that offers a gag reel from the fourth season.

"ER" is a primary example of how terrific casting paired with well written stories can provoke all around solid performances, providing for one entertaining experience that brings creator Michael Crichton's medical drama to life.