Born from the creative mind of Michael Crichton, the series ER (ER) was broadcast for the first time on September 19, 1994 on the American network NBC. It was the first time the public was able to peek into the emergency room at Chicago County General Hospital. In Spain, TVE began broadcasting it in January 1996. Fifteen seasons and 331 episodes later, the series ended in April 2009, having achieved the favor of the public in all the countries where it was broadcast and a good bunch of awards. In addition to making known actors who, over time, have become great stars, such as George Clooney.
Now, HBO Max, in its commitment to recover television classics (last Sunday it recovered, complete, Alf), includes from today on its grill what many consider the quintessential medical series. It reaches the platform in full, with its fifteen seasons and in high definition.
Announcing the inclusion of the medical series on its schedule, HBO Max notes that “by combining the extraordinary talents of bestselling author Michael Crichton with Peabody, Humanitas and Emmy award-winning producer John Wells (The West Wing of the White House, guard), the multiple Emmy Award-winning ER explores the inner workings of an urban teaching hospital and the dire problems facing the doctors and staff of its overburdened ER. These medical professionals are determined to save lives in a place where nothing is taken for granted and nothing is certain… except that very soon another desperate person in need of help will be rushing through the ER door.”
CRICHTON AND SPIELBERG
Its creator, Michael Crichton, had studied medicine and in 1974 wrote the script for a movie about an emergency room that did not catch on in the television studios he went to. He abandoned the theme and focused on the Jurassic Park novel that he published in 1990 and the subsequent collaboration with Steven Spielberg for its film adaptation. The “King Midas” of Hollywood had already been interested in the ER script and bought it to take it to the movies. But it was after the premiere of Jurassic Park when the conversations between Crichton and Spielberg came to fruition to shape the series. In the spring of 1994, NBC premiered the pilot 24 Hours. And the audience reacted positively.
At the beginning of ER we met a staff made up of Dr. Morgenstern (William H. Macy; Oscar for Fargo), Drs. Mark Greene, Peter Benton, Robert Romano and Doug Ross (Anthony Edwards, Top Gun; Eriq la Salle; Paul McCrane, Robocop, Life Chain, and a very young George Clooney), young medical student John Carter (Noah Wyle), doctors Susan Lewis and Kerry Weaver (Sherry Stringfield and Laura Innes) and head nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies). ; The Good Wife, Billions), among others. In later seasons, names such as Erik Palladino, Shane West, John Stamos (Forced Parents) or Angela Bassett (9-1-1) were incorporated.
George Clooney remembers how when he started on television “he would take any job that came along. I fought to get ER, I got it and it changed my life. If they hadn’t given me that space, I wouldn’t have a film career. It’s luck, not my genius. Though I like to think it was. And when I started making movies, the same thing happened. At first I did whatever I could get. But I learned. In television, I learned to focus on the script but I didn’t apply that lesson to film. But the cliché is true: you can take a good script and make a bad movie, but you can’t take a bad script and make a good movie.”
ER is one of the most successful series on television. It became the most nominated in history for the Emmy Awards (equaling Cheers), with more than 124 nominations, and winning 23, including best dramatic series in 1996. It also has several Golden Globes, Actors for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series, the People’s Choice Award and the prestigious Peabody Award. It remained the series with the most Emmy nominations until the Game of Thrones phenomenon arrived two decades later. And until 2019, it was the medical drama with the most episodes in history, only surpassed, for one season, by Grey’s Anatomy.
ER paved the way for a long list of titles with the medical profession as the protagonist. After the Michael Crichton series came others such as House, starring Hugh Laurie; Grey’s Anatomy, from the Shonda Rhimes factory with Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey as main protagonists in its first seasons; or, more recently, The Good Doctor, which Telecinco began broadcasting in Spain.