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Warner / 2008-2009 / 914 Minutes / Unrated / Street Date: July 12, 2011
If you have the first fourteen seasons of ER displayed proudly on your shelf, there's no reason you should resist letting this one join the ranks - after all, this brings everything full circle. Even the most strident ER devotees would admit that the show kind of flew off the rails a bit after its first seven or eight seasons, but it would take a real ER hater to resist this Final Season's advent of showcasing the show's series finale.
It's basically a greatest-hits package of sorts. All the biggies from the show's early days return for quickie story arc wrap-ups (even Clooney stops by for a bit), and after all the years of revolving-door characters and will-they-or-won't-they? romantic entanglements, ER finally closes its emergency room doors here, allowing the series to finally exist as a complete entirety rather than a 'next week on..." balancing act.
So what exactly is the legacy of ER now, considering at this point we can assess the thing as a full-blown whole? As the launching pad for Clooney and Margulies, it'll be remembered for quite a while, for sure, but even though the argument could be made that ER stayed on the air too long, it nevertheless offered a relatively dependable collection of hour-long dramatic television episodes. I don't know that anyone other than superfans would ever watch and rewatch the series on a season-by-season basis, but taking into consideration the many pock marks that marred the show in its later years, I bet ER will go down as one of the last big TV-drama crowdpleasers of our generation.
There sure isn't anything on TV quite like it now.