The Good: By starting off the night’s “final ER event” with a retrospective featuring interviews from cast members both new and old, NBC did a remarkable job of ensuring that this TV Addict was in the proper frame of mind for my long awaited return to County General. So much so that by the time the opening notes of the show’s now iconic theme song played, I was pretty much in full-blown nostalgia mode, fighting off the urge during commercial breaks to order seasons 1 thru 10 on Amazon.
Much like the show’s groundbreaking series premiere, the John Wells penned finale offered up a frantic day-in-the-life in the “ER”, which provided every cast member, from stars like Dr. Gates (John Stamos), Sam Taggert (Linda Cardellini) and Dr. Morris (Scott Grimes) to familiar bit players such as Chuney (Laura Ceron), Haleh (Yvette Freeman), Frank (Troy Evans) and Jerry (Abraham Benrubi) with a moment to shine. Especially Frank, who quite possibly had the night’s most memorable moment upon realizing that the young girl standing before him was none other than Dr. Greene’s grown up daughter Rachel who had dropped by the “ER” to apply for a medical internship.
Adding to the nostalgia factor were the return of original series stars Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle), Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes), Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) and Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston) who were all on hand to witness John Carter (Noah Wyle) opening the doors of the Joshua Carter Center for Medicine.
The Bad: Perfectly encapsulating why I stopped watching ER years ago were the string of been there done that patients-of-the-week which included special guest star Ernest Borgnine saying farewell to his dying wife, Dr. Gates dressing down irresponsible parents whose lack of supervision at their daughter’s party resulted in a girl in an alcohol induced coma, and a mother of three sons who died while giving birth to the daughter the father had always wanted. Not to mention, the ridiculously predictable final scene, where a mass trauma brought with it a multitude of ambulances allowing for the camera to pan away slowly and show off the show’s unspoken starring character — the hospital itself.
The Ugly: That NBC didn’t end off the night by immediately announcing the launch of ER: THE NEXT GENERATION starring Alexis Bledel’s Dr. Julia Wise. We’re just sayin’