Tuesday 20 July 2010

DVD Review: ER – The Complete Thirteenth Season


ER The Complete Season Thirteen 3D cover ER was the longest-running medical drama to run on primetime television and it ran for an impressive fifteen seasons.  It received an incredible 124 Emmy nominations, winning 24 times and launched the careers of several big Hollywood stars including George Clooney and Julianna Margulies.  ER was one of the first television shows to really take American television programming up a notch and the storylines, casting, acting, sets and medical storylines were all fantastic.  For fifteen years, millions of viewers tuned in for every episode and faithfully followed the story of the doctors and nurses in the emergency room in the fictional County General Hospital in Chicago. 

It has been a really long wait but finally, three years after the season aired on NBC, Warner Brothers have released the region 1 DVD of the complete thirteenth season of medical drama ER.  This is perhaps one of the most explosive and exciting seasons and the one in which everything changes. 

The previous season of ER had ended with Nurse Sam Taggart’s ex-husband Steve being brought into the ER following a prison fight.  With the help of an EMT trainee, Steve and the other prisoner stage a violent escape drugging Luka, shooting Jerry and kidnapping Sam (Linda Cardellini) and Alex.  The season closed with the pregnant Abby (Maura Tierney) collapsing outside the trauma room door as a paralysed Luka (Goran Visnjic) watched, unable to help.

Scott Grimes, John Stamos, Busy Philipps, Shane West, Mekhi Phifer, Maura Tierney [ER Season 13]

The first episodes of thirteenth season of ER were amongst the most exciting episodes of television that have aired in recent years.  In three short episodes, everything changed and we saw new faces arrive at the hospital and one staff member was demoted.  The season opened as staff at the hospital fought to save Jerry’s life and to save Abby and the baby while Sam and Alex dramatically escaped from the violent and psychotic Steve.  Parminder Nagra’s grieving character Dr. Neela Rasgotra struggled to recover emotionally from the death of Gallant and former-paramedic Tony Gates (played by John Stamos) arrived as an intern at the hospital.

The season barely slowed down from there and included the usual collection of intriguing and at times heart-breaking medical cases.  It was the relationships between the characters and the character development that set this season apart though.  There was a love triangle as Neela found herself the object of affection of both Dr. Ray Barnett (Shane West) and Tony and Neela and Ray’s relationship hurtled towards an ultimately tragic and shocking conclusion.  Tony became a pivotal character in the season and his personal story, secrets and challenges kept the audience tied to the television screen for episode after episode.  One of the longest standing characters on the show, Dr. Kerry Weaver (played by Laura Innes), left mid-season and as sad as I was to see her go, it also gave way for a new guard in the emergency room at County General Hospital. 

Mekhi Phifer is Dr Gregory Pratt [ER Season 13]

One of the biggest stories of the season was that between Luka and Abby.  The talented Forest Whitaker guest-starred as Curtis Ames, a disgruntled former patient of Luka’s that came to take out his revenge on Abby and the baby. Forest Whitaker was nominated for an Emmy for this role in the category Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.  The storyline was explosive and for most of season you were left guessing as to whether their relationship would survive the pressures of Luka’s new position at the hospital, the effect of the trauma and the arrival of their new baby. 

The last three episodes of the season were at times incredibly tragic and sad and the season ended with the promise of even more action and wider changes than ever before.

Linda Cardellini is Nurse Sam Taggart and Busy Philipps is Dr Hope Bobeck [ER Season 13]

The cast and acting were always incredible in ER and this season was no different.  I believe the strongest performances came from Parminder Nagra in her role as Dr. Neela Rasgotra and Shane West in his role as Dr. Ray Barnett.  Special mention must go to Chloe Greenfield who plays Sarah, the daughter of Dr. Tony Gates.  Chloe would have been a pre-teen when the season was filmed and she showed herself to be a talented young actress as her character loses her mother and fights to stay with Tony.

The region 1 DVD release of the complete thirteenth season of ER consists of six discs and has an information booklet complete with episode summaries.  Extra features include outpatient outtakes on several episodes which provide a bit of comic relief when some of the storylines get quite hectic.  There are unaired scenes too which are quite interesting but in most cases you can see why they were left out.  The set has English and French subtitles on the main episodes but not on the extra features.

As frustrating as it is to wait so long for the ER seasons to be brought to DVD, it is wonderful to watch them all again and to recall what made this television series great in the first place.  This award-winning and powerful drama is greatly missed and I would certainly recommend this box set.  I give it five out of five stars and wait patiently for the region 1 releases of the last two seasons.

Maura Tierney is Dr Abby Lockhart, Scott Grimes is Dr Archie Morris and Shane West is Dr Ray Barnett [ER Season 13] 

Scott Grimes is Dr Archie Morris and Stanley Tucci is Dr Kevin Moretti [ER Season 13]Maura Tierney is Dr Abby Lockhart and Sally Field is Maggie [ER Season 13]

Shane West is Dr Ray Barnett, Parminder Nagra is Dr Neela Rasgotra and Scott Grimes is Dr Archie Morris [ER Season 13]Shane West is Dr Ray Barnett and Goran Visnjic is Luka Kovac [ER Season 13]

Photos courtesy of © Warner Brothers Entertainment

Article first published as DVD Review: ER – The Complete Thirteenth Season on Blogcritics.



  1. er was a really good show i missit i always watched current episodes and reruns sam aka linda cardellini played a really good part

  2. Thanks for that review! Totally agree. I always love er and can't believe there won't be any more episodes :( But hey, at least we've the dvds to watch it over and over again :D

  3. @ Anonymous: I agree - Linda Cardellini is great!

    @ Richard: Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I can't let your link to a spam site with stolen content and auto popups and installs stand, so I have removed it.

  4. hi i live in Brazil and I found it super cool to have someone with my name almost equal
    My name is kelvin Moretti super series like this should be legal
    sorry I'm not very good in their language
    kelvin Moretti


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