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6 Degrees Entertainment

'ER - The Complete Ninth Season'
(Maura Tierney, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / (2001) 2008 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: How do you separate your personal life from your professional life? Not easily. And if you're on the emergency-room staff of Chicago's County General Hospital it may be impossible.Challenges at work and at home overlap in the series that remains the right prescription for powerful entertainment. Carter's playful office love affair becomes a 24/7 crisis. Kovac's partying affects his performance. And be careful what you wish for staffers: Weaver is indeed promoted to a position outside the ER...but Romano replaces her. No wonder Kovac and Carter decide it's time for a change. They opt for assignment in Africa!

DVD Verdict: "ER" always suffered a little bit during times when a major character had exited the series. In February of 1999, George Clooney left as Dr.Ross and his absence left a huge gap for the remainder of the fifth season, while the seventh season dragged without Nurse Hathaway after Julianna Margulies made her departure. But the absence of Anthony Edwards as Dr.Greene created a permanent void, and one that Dr.Carter wasn't able to fill.

I also thought for a long time that Carter and Abby would work as a couple. We finally see that unfold with the start of this season, but once they were together they sort of, well, sucked. Then there's Dr.Corday, who never showed any chemistry when the writers paired her with Dr.Greene and is now forced to be involved in some storyline where she's training an upcoming doctor who's keeping a secret about his disability.

The real disability lies within the writers for creating a storyline that was totally boring as nothing compelling or challenging took place. We're also subjected to the return of Abby's mother as well as all the repeated tales of that relationship which took place two seasons earlier. There are many more flaws too numerous too mention, but let's just say that the quality of this once outstanding series had declined so bad that I stopped watching the show by the time they were airing the spring episodes.

I remember the previews for the season finale though, which involved Carter and Luka stranded on some African safari. What should have happened next was NBC yanking the summer reruns and announcing that the show died a peaceful death!

That said, Frances Sternhagen's Millicent Carter (John Carter's grandmother) is also worthy of a mention. First appearing in 1997, Sternhagen contributed to some great episodes and her pairing with Wyle left some great moments in the series history. This season is also graced with the presence of some great character actors including Bruce Weitz and Don Cheadle as a doctor in training with Parkinson's disease. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Outpatient Outtakes: Unaired Scenes
Cutups: Gag Reel