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.
This was an amazing show. The writing, the acting and the direction all seemed to be what television was all about - or should have been. All the characters were believable. When they were followed from the hospital to their homes, they lived in exactly the type of place you would have expected. That is character definition. The audience knew them, liked them and talked about them with their friends. (I remember talking about an episode at work and someone else thinking we were discussing people we actually knew.) The only actors who went over the top were the ones whose characters seemed to need it. The worst one of the bunch (and looking back, it's funny) was a man whose name reminded me of a type of gasoline but who turned out just fine - a young Denzel Washington. He was as expressive as a telephone pole.
Except for the most bizarre episodes in the final season (which we will all pretend were never aired), the program was exceptional. Ms. Hupfnagel in the bed was priceless. I could never figure out how such a critically acclaimed show could be so consistently unpopular. It was absolutely outstanding.
St.Elsewhere is a TV drama that came out in 1982 and ended in 1988.Had some big actors and actresses who have gone on to become big movie stars and have done other TV Shows.Stars like Denzel Washington,Ed Begley Jr.,Mark Harmon,Howie Mandel Ed Flanders,David Birney and William Daniels just to name a few.I believe St.Elsewhere has been underappreciated for it's good acting and writing,also how some of the stars I had mentioned,I believe got there start on TV on St.Elsewhere,not all of them but some of them.I believe St.Elsewhere should be appreciated by bringing it back to TV also by putting it on DVD.
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!
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.
St. Elsewhere was a critical darling but got absolutely no respect from the viewing public, except for a core group of fans. Of course, the 80's was a time of excess and glitz and St. Elsewhere did not fall into those categories. It was well written and superbly acted. As with most shows, I feel the early years were the best. The original cast worked very well together. Over the years there were many cast changes and I always felt that the women in the cast got shortchanged. It was one of the first, if not THE first, show to give one of its regular cast members the aids virus. I know the final episode has been the source of much controversy since it aired, but I found it to be very moving if not realistic. A reunion would be nice, but considering the fact that the show went unnoticed during its run, I doubt that will happen. But a six season run for a show with ratings like this one got is pretty remarkable.
St Elsewhere, another of my personal favorites, along will hill street, would not miss an episode, would even take lunch on afternoon shift just to catch the episode that week. Would love to see this come out on DVD so that I can watch it again. I had so many favorite episodes that i miss.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I remember never wanting to miss this show. It had an excellent cast and excellent storylines. Who could forget the whole rapist storyline in which Dr. Peter white was found out. Another great storyline was when Dr. Jack Morrison's wife died and her heart was transplanted into a patient. I can still see him listening to her transplanted heart. Let's also not forget Dr. Caldwell having AIDS, probably one of the first on television. This show was groundbreaking and definitely a classic. I judge a show by what I can remember about it years later, as you can see I remember quite a lot about this one so it is definitely one worth seeing.
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!!
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.
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.
I have been watching TV for over 50 years and I consider this show among the greatest tv shows ever viewed on the tube. The situations the show dealt with were real life situations. St. Elsewhere presented life in a hospital in the most believable manner. No Hollywood endings were done nor did the viewers expected one. Anyone viewer that had the privilege of watching this show week in and week out could not help shedding a tear for some of its most emotional moments. It didn\'t matter whether you were male or female. St. Elsewhere set the benchmark for medical shows as well as excellence in performance.
I'm only a teenager, and I was born after the series ended, but nonetheless it was a great show. I watched it when it was in syndication when I was about nine or ten years old. Sounds a little too young, and it's true, but I'm glad I learned about the show earlier.
The setting was great, and it had an emsemble cast. Sure, some people left during the series run, but there were always interesting characters that replaced the originals. The last episode was one of the greatest finale episodes to date. The theme song was a great way to start each episode. Too bad the show isn't on DVD.
A mix of drama with enough comic moments to keep the stories hopping, it featured great writes and a talented ensemble cast. It had classic Christmas and Easter themed episodes that showed reverence with an edge.
It's too bad that it has yet to receive the DVD special treatment it deserves.
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