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Hercules Has Seen ER’s
Mark Greene Flashbacks!!

Published at: Nov. 13, 2008, 12:50 a.m. CST

I am – Hercules!!
Some thoughts on “ER,” which tonight features flashbacks with Anthony Edwards reprising his role as Dr. Mark Greene: * Edwards’ screen time takes up about 10.5 minutes of the episode, or roughly one quarter of the 43-minute hour. * Greene first appears around the episode’s halfway mark. * He is suffering from his tumor headaches. * As far as I could tell, Noah Wylie is not in the episode, even though I could have sworn I read either in Entertainment Weekly or TV Guide that Dr. John Carter makes a surprise appearance. * Greene’s appearance is attended, however, by other departed regulars. Specifics available in the text invisible. Laura Innes as a becrutched Kerry Weaver. Paul McCrane as a two-armed Rocket Romano. Abraham Benrubi as Jerry Markovic. * Gorgeous Emily Rose (Cass on “John From Cincinnati” and Trish from “Jericho”) is hanging around, but gorgeous Shiri Appleby (“Roswell,” “Charlie Wilson’s War”) isn’t this week. * Edwards’ welcome appearance serves to underscore how aggressively ER sucks now. Its (“Grey’s Anatomy”-inspired?) new emphasis on flat banter is excruciating. John Stamos’ thespianic acumen has not improved one whit since his “Dreams” days a quarter century ago. * Linda Cardellini is wasted on this show. * Anybody know what happened to Abby and Luka? Did they run off to practice medicine in Croatia or something? * Since “ER” has been winning its timeslot this season (thanks, one gathers, to dramatically increased lead-in ratings from “SNL Thursday” and “30 Rock), will fourth-place NBC decide to pull a “7th Heaven” and bring it back for another season at the last minute? 10 p.m. Thursday. NBC.


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Readers Talkback

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  • Nov. 13, 2008, 12:56 a.m. CST

    is Ming-Na still there?

    by the milf lover

    not that I would be watching it if she was, as demonstrated by my having to ask.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:14 a.m. CST

    Abby and Luka...

    by Don Lockwood

    Departed in the third episode of this season to move to Boston for a fresh start. <p> Emily Rose also cavorted semi-nakedly on Brothers and Sisters last season.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:18 a.m. CST

    Answers For Herc

    by Jinxo

    Noah Wylie is returning for another non-flashbacky episode along with Eric Lasalle. Last season Abby and Luka had some serious marital problems. Luka left for Croatia to care for his ailing father (allowing for the actor playing him to stop being a full time cast member). Faced with basically having to be a single working mom and the stress of being separated from Luka, Abby started drinking and in a fit of drunken idiocy cheated on Luka with someone from the hospital. At the start of this season they decided to move elsewhere and try to make a fresh start of things.<br><br> And while it aint the ER it once was it still has its moments. Abby's whole fall into alcoholism last season was nicely done. And the death of Greg Pratt at the start of this season was a really amazing episode.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:29 a.m. CST

    RE: the milf lover

    by Incomplete Gamer

    I don't know if Ming-Na is still on ER (I haven't watched it all season), but she was on this week's Boston Legal. She didn't have a great part (the mother of a teenage girl who wanted to have an abortion), but she was there in all her beauty. Also, Greg Pratt is dead? Damn, I didn't know that.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:36 a.m. CST

    Pratt

    by Don Lockwood

    Got blowed up in an ambulance that carried over from the season finale.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:43 a.m. CST

    Ming-Na left in Season 11

    by Bob Loblaw Law Blog

    In Dr. Chen's storyline, her dad gets sick, and she ends up leaving the hospital when Susan Lewis won't give her time off to see him for Christmas. Pratt goes over to see how she's doing (they dated for a while, but broke it off in season 10), and find out she's given him a lethal dose of drugs. Pratt lies about it to the paramedics so she won't get in trouble. She was going to take his body to China to be buried... and she never returned.<p>And, as someone who has watched ER from day one back in 1994, I can tell you that, although it's not the same show it used to be, it's still pretty damn good. I agree with Jinxo... Pratt's death was really stirring. Hell, when Abby left a few episodes ago, I got kinda sad, especially when they showed all the old name tags on the brick wall.<p>As much as I love the show, though... I think 15 seasons is enough.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:49 a.m. CST

    Ming-Na

    by the milf lover

    left in 2004 according to IMDB. I watched the show for a few years, but I wasnt a big fan. My favorite episode is the one where Lucy died after she and Noah Wyle got stabbed in the cliffhanger to the previous episode (amazing scene with their getting stabbed to the Battleflag song by Low Fidelity Allstars). Seeing Romano lose it and throw stuff because he wasnt able to save her, that was a powerful episode. They lost me not that long after Noah's addiction storyline and Greene's cancer. Didnt like the new doctors they were getting to replenish the cast.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:51 a.m. CST

    okay, thanks for the details Bob

    by the milf lover

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 3:38 a.m. CST

    I bet NBC will renew it...

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    And they'll keep renewing it, season after season, despite promising that the show will finally come to an end.<p><p>Have the producers put up a dedication to Crichton yet? I know he was not at all in the series since its original pilot, but the show should memorialize the death of its creator.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 3:45 a.m. CST

    haven't caught up with this season yet

    by newc0253

    but the last season or so has been the strongest since the last of the old cast left.<p> as others have said, ER isn't the great show that it once was but it's still one of the better shows on tv - despite Stamos.<p>

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 5:52 a.m. CST

    Haven't seen the show in years but thought about recording this

    by I am_NOTREAL

    Just to see how they worked Greene in again. I quit before he checked out because the character deserved a better ending than the one they gave him, after all the shit they put him through (losing the pregnant mom in season 1, divorce, getting dumped by Susan Lewis, getting brutally assaulted, etc, etc). But I guess it gave Edwards a chance to play for the Emmy. Man, this show used to be so good in the mid to late 90s..."Love's Labor Lost," "The Healers," "Hell and High Water"...all really good stuff. I may even record the finale just for closure.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 6:22 a.m. CST

    is Adam Benrubi really a departed regular?

    by newc0253

    i thought he returned to the show (although he may have left again, like poor old Sherry Stringfield).<p> it's funny that some of the old cast get great exists (c.f. Clooney and Edwards) but more often they get written out with a perfunctory send-off: look at the lame exits given to Ming Na or Stringfield the second time round).

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Ming-Na btw-

    by Spank

    Has just been added as a regular on the Canadian Broadcasting's drama The Border. I keep trying to catch that show as what little I saw of it looked interesting- it has to do with guarding the canadian and American border- looked like it had lots of room for propaganda.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 7:08 a.m. CST

    ER still has...er...potential

    by Spank

    NBC execs are once again showing their prowess by claiming this to be the show's final season when ER has been a staple for network television for 15 years. Some things should just keep going. I agree with most of you above, it's definately had it's good and bad seasons, and toally unlikable characters, but still with the right cast and stable of writers this show could stay as fresh and cutting edge as any show on the air. I've watched it off and on all 15 years and am by no means a "fan", but I am a semi-regular watcher. There have been seasons that I stopped watching because of sheer apathy, but putting the brakes on an anchor show like this one, especially when the ratings have climbed, is the kind of mistake networks look back on after a few years saying "You know what we need, we NEED another ER". A show like this that shows it can survive cast changes like it has, is way too rare to just decide it's time to stop. As long as there's an audience they show keep going, Stamos or not.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 7:11 a.m. CST

    Sadly, I lost interest a few seasons back.

    by thedarklinglord

    Favorite cast members kept leaving and the new blood they brought in just weren't particularly interesting. And then when they started bringing back old cast members...it just felt like an act of desperation. In the way that Herc feels this episode really hits home that the show isn't what it used to be, that's how I felt when Stringfield and LaSalle returned. It was just the realization that the show had mostly been sucking for a while now, that the original magic was gone, and their attempts to recapture it only made me wish the show had ended sooner, going out with class and dignity and that feeling of, "I wish it didn't end." <br> <br> That's the tricky part of television. You want to end a series while it's still flying high, not ending it abruptly so there's no sense of resolution or closure (like many cancelled Fox series), but definitely ending at a point where you'd like to see it go on forever, or at least a few more seasons. The best shows always leaving you craving a little more, rather than having a feeling of, "Is it over yet?" Because, for me, that's the feeling that gets me to actually purchase TV series on DVD.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:02 a.m. CST

    ER

    by doubleARon

    Never stopped watching though interest has gone up and down. There was at least a season in there where EVERYONE hated each other. When the ER became like a family again it started to really work.<p> This season has been excellent. Blame it on having a target to shoot for or whatever, it has just been more gripping than ever. I was wondering what would happen when Pratt was gone and then Abby and Luca, too. But... it turns out that the rest of the characters have some great stories in them.<p>

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:03 a.m. CST

    oh and they can cancel it

    by doubleARon

    They can cancel it every season for the next 4 or 5 seasons if it makes the show as good as it is now. :D

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:03 a.m. CST

    It's Grace Park, not Ming Na on The Border

    by MrSundayNight

    On the Canadian show, The Border, that Spank was talking about. Grace Park joined the cast this week for the second half of the season.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:05 a.m. CST

    My viewing was waning...

    by BizarroJerry

    but the final nail in the coffin was a helicopter getting dropped on Romano. As if it came back to finish the job. "NOOOOOO!!!!" When that happened, I laughed and laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all. And my viewing quickly dropped off after that. Carter in Africa began turning me off, too.<p>Remember the episode where Mark died in Hawaii? For some reason, NBC allowed him to yell "SHIT!" when he was angry over his deteriorating health. And TNT even left it in. Was it so "powerful" that the censors didn't remove it? I always wondered about that.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:20 a.m. CST

    The fact that ER is in it's 15th season...

    by jimmy rabbitte

    ...only underscores that it has sucked for 12 years now.<p> The cancellation of this show is long overdue. The first 2 1/2 to 3 seasons of ER were very good, after that the decline was very noticable.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Great season actually.

    by HoboCode

    Angela Bassett deserves a damn Emmy IMO. I have stuck wit hthis show since it's beginning through good and bad. I'm really goign to miss it when it's off the air. <p> P.S. Emily Rose makes my underwear tight.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Romano's exit

    by Himbo

    I think I'm with BizarroJerry. I thought I was done with the show when Dr. Greene left. But surprisingly, it was the chopper crash on Romano that finally pushed me over the edge, incapable of viewing without a terribly jaded eye. The soap-opera aspects are better on Grey's, and the medical drama and comedy is better on House. But I still watch ER when I see the occasionally repeat with the all star lineup of Mark, Doug, Carol characters. And that stuff is still good.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 9:57 a.m. CST

    Ray losing his legs was a SHOCKER.

    by HoboCode

    I audibly gasped loudly when they showed him in the hospital. He was one of my all time favs. Glad they brought him back this season and glad he picked up the pieces even if he didn't get back with Neela. That Aussie fuck Simon needs to be killed. I hate that they are trying to redeem him this season after he was a piece of shit scumbag of a sexual harassing racist last year.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 10:11 a.m. CST

    E.R. is still better in its 15th season than Buffy ever was

    by ev1ldead

    Eat that, He with the lousy taste aka herc.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Quit watching shortly after Green died...

    by Ninja Nerd

    Time dims memory most assuredly, but I've always felt the first 5-6 seasons were the best of ER. I've tried to get back into it, but it just didn't grab me. Plus, NBC is the same network that let "St. Elsewhere" finish with what I think is STILL the biggest "FUCK YOU FOR WATCHING" finale of any show, ever. ER doing the "cast from the past" stuff just feels like another smarmy smack to the audience's head.

  • Herc, ER has been coming back for one more year for the past 4 or 5 seasons. So, yes, it would not surprise me if it was on the schedule again next year. Or maybe a spin-off. Maybe "NICU" or "OBGYN" or "ICU" or "The Neela & Sam Shower Hour".<p>BizarroJerry, I didn't see that episode where NBC allowed the word "shit" but I did see a few episodes last season, and the one before where someone said "asshole".

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Will watch til the end

    by Tar Heel

    I've been with the show since the beginning so I'll ride it out. Yeah, it's time to end it. Their best episodes were adrenaline-fueled roller coasters full of "oh shit!" moments. Haven't had those for a while. Clooney has even said they've gone soft (albeit more gory) -- they used to do things like having a guy with an arrow in his head complain about the long wait in the waiting room. P.S. ER's Thursday night competition now is "Eleventh Hour" and "Life on Mars." I think people looking for a traditional, non-gimmicky drama at that time are tuning in.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 12:42 p.m. CST

    I been there since the beginning....

    by Toby Wan

    It's really amazing how much shit has happened there in 15 years. I will say that this year is one of the best since about 8 years or so. I frigging cried when Pratt died. I really did. BTW, Benrubi left twice. His last departure was to be on Men in Trees. We all know how THAT worked out. Jerry was shot while protecting a boy. Jerry ultimately survives the surgery, but was never seen again in the ER. In an episode during the 14th season, Frank remarks that Jerry officially quit and is now "slinging beers in Alaska," a reference to Men in Trees.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Dr. Robert Romano's death

    by BetaRayBill07

    Remember after he was gone Kerry named the Center for Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender research after him? Classic.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 2:27 p.m. CST

    sorry, Herc. Gotta disagree.

    by oisin5199

    ER has been pretty great in the last season or two. Pratt's death was intense and heartbreaking, Abby's leaving was an incredible episode, my favorite character on the show is now Morris, who has done a Wesley-style gradual reversal from buffoon to hero (there's an Angel reference for ya), and while at first I hated Stamos' character on the show, I think the character and the actor have improved considerably. This is a show that rewards long term viewing, not because of usual story arc stuff, but because you see the character growth. Cardellini is certainly NOT wasted, as her character has also grown quite a bit. And even in the last season, ER has proven that it is a great setting to introduce and develop new characters (the main character is the hospital, not any one person). Angela Bassett has also been excellent and turned the 'tough ER chief who shakes things up' cliche into nuanced character work - she's just a well written and played character. If she's not up for an Emmy this year, it will be a major oversight. I'm looking forward to old character returns, not because the show sucks since they left, but as a way to bring things full circle, and complete a 15 year story.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 2:34 p.m. CST

    When Greene said "Shit!"

    by Bob Loblaw Law Blog

    I remember that being a pretty big deal. They must have made a deal with the advertisers. I think I remember reading about that when South Park did their multi-"Shit" episode.<p>Of course, this was all well before the FCC started going berserk about everything that goes on television.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Morris is also my favourite character.

    by jim

    Remember, Romano was all set to fire Morris when the helicopter fell on him. The character has matured into a good doctor but he does still have those "D'oh" moments which are fun to watch.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 5:33 p.m. CST

    Character growth

    by Jinxo

    Having characters go from jerks to heroes is anb ER staple. Morris went from a comic boob to a good guy. Pratt started out as, well, a Pratt; so eager to get in there that he'd cut into patients he had no business cutting on, looking in medical books to see what he should do as he was cutting. So I kind of laugh at the hate for the new doc from down under. He was horrible last year and they did it specifically to play that same arc, so that this season we could see him humbled and slowly transform into a better person.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Shout out to Crichton

    by buffywrestling

    by Eric LaSalle

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 9:07 p.m. CST

    I miss the old theme credits

    by buffywrestling

    Greene rolling in his chair, Benton punching the floor...

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 9:15 p.m. CST

    I always wanted to see Angela Bassett

    by buffywrestling

    play Odetta Walker from King's Gunslinger series.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 9:23 p.m. CST

    Fuck the haters

    by Itchy

    I've watched ER since episode one, and while the quality has certainly waned over the years (due in large part to the fact every storyline had been done ... multiple times), I will say that the last 1 and 3/4 seaons have been exponentially better than any in about a decade. At some point early last year, they must have gotten a new writing staff, who suddenly turned Morris from a stupid joke of an ass to a great character. They got rid of the stupid storylines (Sam's a-hole delinquent kid, Abby's incessant whining), and have interjected some fresh blood into the series. They are doing some nice work with the "final season", and it's a testament to the show-runners that after all these years, so many formers (like Clooney, Wylie, Edwards and LaSalle) are willing to put in some fact time to say good-bye. All in all, ER is doing itself proud in the final year, and the nostalgic part of my being is actually kind of happy about that.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Romano getting Helicoptered

    by maxwell's hammer

    Some people found that over the top, but that was the perfect ending for The Rocket. That sad sad send-off where nobody even realized he was gone.<BR> <BR> His little cameo on tonight's episode makes you realize that the little lovable bastard deserved what he got...<BR> <BR> To Mark: "Nobody told you to go and get cancer!" Then almost apologizing, but not. Yes, those little bits of the old days really cast the last few seasons in a rather depressing light.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Angela Bassett's performance is...

    by snax

    Incredible in tonight's excellent episode, worthy of an Emmy. I didn't think much of her tough exterior, but the exposition of her past helped me understand her character. I could have done without the token cameos, but overall it was one of the best episodes that I'd seen in several seasons.

  • Nov. 13, 2008, 11:36 p.m. CST

    ok, that was amazing

    by oisin5199

    just saw it and I stand by my assessment. I loved that the Greene thing was more than just a ratings stunt, but that it was integral to the story and the episode was all about Bassett's character. The focus is always on the story (rather than plot). Bassett was incredible, and damn if she doesn't get an Emmy nod. The scene where she looks in on her past self just took my breath away. Ok, I admit I was reaching for the tissues. As the parent of a toddler who almost didn't make it into this world, any story with a young child in danger is going to be pushing my buttons. But yeah, anybody who says ER has lost its touch, watch this episode and you'll be proved dead wrong.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 7:57 a.m. CST

    Thoughts

    by BetaRayBill07

    I loved it. That being said maybe it would have been a bit more powerful, or meaningful to make Angela's character a nurse way back when her son was taken to County. Through Greene's heroic's, he saves her son, inspiring her to become a doctor. Still loved it though. Who else is coming back I wonder.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Angela Bassett...

    by REDD

    Would have been a great Storm.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 1:42 p.m. CST

    BetaRayBill07

    by oisin5199

    No way. What makes Banfield's story so heartbreaking is that she WAS a doctor already and was helpless to save her son or even know what was wrong with him the whole time. Plus the doctor vs. doctor tension in the room was a huge part of the dynamic between her and Greene (you be the mom, let me be the doctor). I think the 'inspiring someone to become a doctor' would have been the easy, cliche direction to take. Oh, and did I mention LaSalle's tribute to Crichton, and 'physician heal thyself' quote in its actual context was a great way to start out the episode.

  • Nov. 15, 2008, 12:33 p.m. CST

    People still watch this show???

    by Charlie_Allnut

    I gave up on it over ten years ago, and haven't watched a single frame since.

  • Nov. 16, 2008, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Best Hour of TV since "33" in BSG Season 1

    by Itchy

    Seriously. I finally watched it via Tivo and I was almost bawling like a bitch. I can't believe how well they did it. I thought for sure it would be total hack ... but it marvelously well done. I actually wondered if all the scenes were from an actual prior episode. Even the quick cameos did well ... Romano was an a-hole, but while he was dropping that line on Greene, you could see how much it hurt him. All in all, I'm really amazed at how good it was. And seriously, Charlie_Allnut, isn't it the height of douchocity to drop into a thread just to advise everyone you don't care about the topic of the thread ?