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    ER Still Has Staying Power

    I’ve been watching ER (Emergency Room) way back since George Clooney played a doctor on the show.  His character was Dr. Doug Ross (108 episodes, 1994-2000). This was when Noah Wylie was still on the show. He played Dr. John Carter in a whopping 248 episodes from 1994-2006. I also enjoyed watching Dr. Mark Greene played by Anthony Edwards from 1994-2002 when his character was written out of the series as a terminal cancer patient.

    His wife was played by British actress Alex Kingston as Dr. Elizabeth Corday from 1997-2004.

    The show is still on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on NBC. I’m still an avid watcher in spite of all the character changes. They certainly do keep you guessing.

    According to an Internet Movie Database fan, “As a 10 year devotee of ER, I can't agree with some of the posters. The first years of a show are often its best, that is true. Yes, I miss Dr. Greene something fierce, as I do George Clooney and Juliana Margulies. But for me, ER is still a compelling, emotional show, filled with good acting, great characters, drama, humor, a fast pace and lots of layers. It remains an interactive, nail-biting show. I look forward to each episode and the journey of each character. At a time of reality shows dominating the ratings, ER remains in the top ten, as it should.”

    Writing about this takes me back to another medical drama show I used to watch called Chicago Hope.” It starred Adam Arkin as  Dr. Aaron Shutt  from 1994-2000,  Hector Elizondo as Dr. Phillip Watters, Rocky Carroll as Dr. Keith Wilkes,  Mark Harmon as Dr. Jack McNeil and Christine Lahti as  Dr. Kathryn Austin. Mandy Patinkin also guest starred as phychologist Dr. Geiger in several episodes.

    Another fan at the IMDb Website notes that:

    “Chicago Hope is a hospital show with amazing cast. Hector Elizondo plays the boss and Mandy Patinkin plays Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, who was gone for a few years but came back in 1999.”

    ER is much more of a fast-paced Emergency Room setting with many things happening at once. Chicago Hope was more of a character-driven show that took the time to explore themes more fully than the action-packed ER could do.

    Since ER has out-lasted Chicago Hope, it’s a good bet the American public would rather have action and fast pacing than well-explored themes, but both shows have certainly had their places on the networks and with fans.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com