ER (series finale), 9pm, NBC
When ER debuted in 1994, it was unlike anything we'd ever seen. It was the most exciting show on television. We knew we could count on adrenaline-pumping action starting the moment that gurney crashed through the ER's double doors. We loved the realness -- the blood and guts, the life and death, the doctors yelling incomprehensible medical gobbledy-gook at each other.
And it had all those smart, beautiful new actors -- George Clooney, Julianna Marguiles, Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, Eriq La Salle... Sigh. We were in love.
George Clooney saved a little boy trapped in a storm drain, and presto -- ER was our number one drama for seven years. At its peak, ER drew nearly 50 million viewers a week. That's more than American Idol and Dancing With the Stars combined.
Then it got a little full of itself. A little ridiculous. Helicopters crashing in the ER one week, the ER staff being held hostage by a gunman the next (are you listening Grey's Anatomy?). So some of us broke up with ER, which, admittedly was easier to do after Clooney left for The Bigs.
But ER hung in there, even when the ratings dropped and the critics turned away. It brought in exciting new players (Maura Tierney, Goran Visnjic, John Stamos) and amazing guest stars (Alan Alda, William H. Macy, Sally Field) so we kept in touch. But the bloom was off the rose, so we moved on and started getting serious with other medical shows. House, Grey's Anatomy, the occasional St. Elsewhere rerun...
But tonight, ER leaves us for good. Our old favorites have been back this season, so there was closure. Doug and Carol are married with kids, Carter almost died and got a new kidney, and Benton toned down the jerkiness... That's nice.
There's a retrospective tonight at 8pm, and then the final show starts at 9.
How about it? One last spin around the ER, for old time's sake?