Sunday, July 17, 2005

A Double Good Bye

Eleven years ago, two medical dramas hit our screens. They both came with excellent credentials and reasons to watch them. ER had Michael Crichton, of Jurassic Park fame, as its creator and promised fairly energetic story lines and interesting cinematography (if its appropriate to use that word for TV programmes). Up against it was Chicago Hope, another David E Kelley vehicle, which promised to be somewhat more quirky and edgy. I remember being torn between the two shows, as they both sounded exciting on paper but I couldn't really commit to both.

As it happened, I never warmed to Chicago Hope, although it had its moments. Evidently my lack of sentiment was shared by the market, as despite a desperate attempt to woo back watchers with a return of one of its more quirky characters, it went off screen five years ago. But my lack of affection for Chicago Hope does not mean that ER won by default: for years I carried a torch for Carol Hathaway, then the lovely Lucy came along and was cruelly murdered and most recently I have formed a high regard for Abbey. From the male side of things, there was Doug Ross, Peter Benton and Mark Green - all outstanding guys. Mark's final words, to his daughter, ("Be generous Rachel,' he says, 'with yourself, with your life, with your love. Just be generous.") are as good a rubric by which to live one's life as any. I've enjoyed Luka at times, particularly when he took a stand against all the unnecessary tests done to keep the insurance companies and lawyers happy, with the resulting rocketing of medical costs, but over the past season, he's really only been there as one of the crowd.

But the show over the past couple of years has become less and less vital. I've grown tired of getting interested in one or other of the characters, only to have them leave. The new people coming in, like Pratt, Chen and Neela, just don't seem to have it. Carter's departure was really the last straw - with him gone, there is no-one to carry the show. I didn't even bother to watch the finale - the shorts were enough to give the game away. I know its coming back for a twelfth season, and there is speculation that Danny Glover will play a bigger part in it, but its over between us. (Interestingly, Television Without Pity is giving up as well.) Let's see what Grey's Anatomy can do - I was pleased to see that she sets a high standard as a doctor.

My other goodbye is closer to home. About five years ago, I was sitting about drinking coffee when a mate said that he had to sell his car immediately, as he'd fallen for some sort of Subaru and needed the money. Without even seeing it, I offered $500 - I'd done over a year of having no car as my little gesture to the environment, but needed one for regular visits to Woodville. And so I became the proud owner of an unwarranted Toyota Cressida (luckily, the only reason it had no warrant was a bit of dust in the brakes). It had the coolest stereo - one of those old Pye quad things with a little joystick to sort out the channels - although it would only play radio by the time I got it. For three years it ferried me all over the north island and did a trip around the south island, never needing anything spent on it. Then, last year, I got the bad news: several hundred dollars to fix the rust. Me being me, I did nothing about it, just sat it on the side of the road outside my house and let Webster come into my life. Finally, after a bit of threatening mail, the Council took my old car away this week, presumably to be crushed down to the size of a bale of hay. Thanks for being there, LA 534.


Blogger harvestbird said...

Elegy for a vehicle--always an emotional moment! When my brother wrote off his first car, he went to the wrecker's holding-pen to see it off. It was in a special corral for cars the insurance companies had deemed beyond repair. One vehicle had a rose tucked under one of its windscreen wipers.

And a good take on ER, I thought. I remember when Carol took the babies up to Doug in Seattle and that was that; I thought at the time that things would have to go downhill from there, show-wise. The fact that Mark Green was the emotional centre of the hospital for many of the characters--not just the viewers--meant that after he died it all went a bit centrifugal.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Martha said...

I've watched the last 2 Grey's Anatomys, and they seem quite good. Bit moralistic, but bearable. Although I'm no authority, never really watched any other hospital shows.

1:11 PM  

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