Show Reviews (18)
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The Hill Street Blues of medical dramas.
Years ahead of its time, this is basically the Hill Street Blues of medical dramas. Launching the careers of the likes of Denzel Washington, David Morse, Mark Harmon and Howie Mandel, storylines range from dramatic to trivial, challenging to funny to sad, and it treats the viewer as somebody who can retain multiple story arcs in their heads at the same time. It also has one of the most famous series finales of all time.
For the discerning viewer, there are also any number of in-jokes and references to other TV shows and pop culture, such as Dr Mark Craig mentioning that he was a colleague of MASH's B.J. Hunnicutt in Korea. Also listen out for the staff announcements in the hospital that are "paging Gwyneth"-- St.Elsewhere was exec produced by Bruce Paltrow, and Gwyneth was his then six-year-old daughter.
Several other subsequent TV shows since have included references to St.Elsewhere, such as Nurse Carol Grace in Oz (written by Tom Fontana, who also wrote for St.Elsewhere) having come from St.Eligius in Boston.moreless
Cutting edge, ahead of its time, paved way for other shows!
Really a very underappreciated show and also watched as a kid as I wished that it came back on tv. Though it was on TV Land for a few years. As it paved the way for other shows like "ER, Chicago Hope, and Grey's Anatomy" to come on forward and popular. It gave Mark Harmon and Denzel Washington their starts and breakthroughs into other bigger things. Plus, it showed character actors that were seen but never really got to know at the time, like William Daniels and Ed Flanders out into the mainstream. The ending of the last show shows an autistic boy knowing his imagination was during those six years at the hospital through a small globe of snow. Just in a good kind of way.moreless
A really good show from the 80's
All the medical dramas that have littered the airwaves for the last 20 years owe a great deal of gratitude to this show. It's success led to an entire genre of television shows being created. Shows like ER, Grey's Anatomy, House, and several others would have never been created if it weren't for St Elsewhere.
Not to mention all the actors that got their big break on this show. Howie Mandell, Denzel Washington, Ed Begley Jr, and a bunch of others. This show not only had a great cast, but the writers almost always provided great gripping dialogue to let there talent show.
Now, the series finale may have been pretty stupid, but it was a first of it's kind.moreless
I was pleasantly surprised!
My parents put it in the DVD player and said "We loved this show when it was on so we bought the first season." I was worried. But I actually really enjoy it! Sometimes I can't believe I'm watching a show from the early 80's, but it is so good that I hardly notice. The plots are good and I really like the fact that it is a fast paced show. I love all of the characters and I think the actors were wonderfully cast in their roles. All aspects of the show are good, and the music is catchy!moreless
Loved this show, because it seemed so real! Definitely E.R.'s grandfather show!
St. Elsewhere, a wonderful hospital drama that enthralled me from the very first episode! It was great seeing actors like Ed Flanders, Howie Mandel, & Ed Begley Jr. together in a fine drama. The cast was marvelous, the stories hooked you straightaway, & quite frankly, it was hard NOT to watch! I was very sad to see it go off the air, even though all good things must end. A reunion show would be fabulous! Ed Flanders is sorely missed, & a montage of his scenes from this show would be great to see. Get the chance, watch this show!!moreless
St. Elsewhere was one of the first ensemble shows, a trend that continues today. This show was willing to push the envelope, daring some storylines others would avoid.
The show last aired in 1988, yet there are so many scenes and images I remember clearly. One of the best episodes was a two-parter called “Time Heals.” The episode featured several stories over different eras in the history St. Eligius. The writers really tied everything together beautifully. Many of the guest stars made an impact on me. A young Tim Robbins appeared in the first season as an Irish terrorist who is angry at the world, and Doris Roberts won an Emmy playing a wise and compassionate homeless woman. There was some “stunt casting,” such as when several cast members of the old Steve Allen show appeared in one episode as parents of some of the regulars, and when Oliver Clark played a man who thought he was Mary Richards, and Betty White just happened to be a guest star that he called Sue Ann. Many of the regulars have become big stars since then, including Denzel Washington, Mark Harmon, Alfre Woodard and Helen Hunt.moreless
One of the finest hour-long TV series of all time.
St. Elsewhere was never a huge hit in terms of the Nielson ratings, but it was absolutely one of the finest series ever to grace the small screen.
What made it so great? First-rate scripts, unique characters, fine acting, and a masterful blend of comedy, drama, and pathos.
Each episode, it seemed, had moments that could make you laugh out loud and moments that could put a lump in your throat. On one side of the spectrum, you had the silly humor of the Dr. Ehrlich/Dr. Craig exchanges (Ed Begley and William Daniels), and on the other end you had the poignant richness of the mentoring relationship between Dr. Westphall and Jack Morrison (Ed Flanders and David Morse).
The acting could not have been better. Flanders and Morse were standouts, but Daniels played prickly, egotistical Dr. Craig to perfection, and others pitched in with wonderful portrayals as well. And, each week, there were standout guest stars.
It's difficult to find another program in the history of television that so consistently offered high quality drama AND laugh-out-loud comedy. St. Elsewhere delivered that difficult mix, week in and week out. It should be included in the ranks of the greatest TV series of all time.moreless
Id describe this show as ER meet Scrubs. It was ahead of its time and real trailblazer.
The colorful cast of characters rarely failed to rise to the challenge. I started thinking of St. Elsewhere again after watch Howie Mandel in "Deal or No Deal.
St. Elsewhere did become tired at the end of its run but it was still very good when they pulled one of the most unusual series ending suprises where the entire show existed in the mind of an autistic child. Some hated, some loved it. Since it was a total suprise I liked it, although initially I had mixed feeling about it. Moments like the Peter White rape of a nurse was jarring but at the same time riveting. There was alot of dark humor like the time Mrs. Hufnagel was killed by the hospital bed when it folding her up like she was in a giant clam. Then Erlich said "Hufnagel on the half shell" I laughed for 10 minutes after he said that.
Im surprised this isnt on TV Land instead of endless reruns of Gunsmoke and Bonanza on the weekends.moreless
Star Trek Connection
A surprising number of St. Elsewhere actors appeared on Star Trek. Norman Lloyd, Chad Allen, Ronny Cox, and Ellen Bry had guest roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation (respectively, The Chase, Suddenly Human, Chain of Command, and The Quality of Life). Christina Pickles almost was selected to portray 'Dr. Pulaski' in the second season (she lost the role to Diana Muldaur). Ed Begley Jr. appeared in Star Trek: Voyager. And France Nuyen appeared in "Elaan of Troyius" in the original Star Trek series.moreless
Another great hospital comedy/drama.
Another great hospital comedy / drama. This is also another show that combined the talents of many seasoned acotrs and actresses as well as new and promising talent. Howie Mandel
was great as Dr. Wayne Fiscus. This was his first serious acting role that I know of anyway. Befor ethis he was a stand up commic and appeared only in comedies. It was quite a shock when he took this role. Mark Harmon was also very good as Dr. Robert "Bobby" Caldwell. He fit the role as a doctor very well. The show was pretty good until the last episode. Many people were upset to find that the show was in fact just thoughts in an autisic child's mind.moreless