After two hours with the revved-up premiere of NBC's new medical series "ER," you're ready for a Xanax.
There's screaming, there's shouting, there's frantic movement. There's the gunshot victim with a hole in the chest, the terrified baby-sitter with the battered infant, the doctor who's physically attacked by the son of a fatal heart attack victim after another patient accuses him of being anti-Semitic, the young woman who comes in to get felt up, the hypochondriac in for her hangnail. And so on and so on.
As the walking and wheeled-in wounded surge through the emergency room of the large Chicago hospital, only rarely does "ER" pause for a breath. So when one of its overworked, underpaid residents exclaims, "I could never give this up," you know he needs a shrink.
As marred and derivative as "ER" is, however, there's something quite seductive about this series created by Michael Crichton and John Wells. The performances--notably by Sherry Stringfield, George Clooney, Eriq LaSalle and Anthony Edwards as residents--are strong. Enough of the story lines are sufficiently compelling to hold your attention. And the pace? Well, put it this way about all the pulsating and fluid camerawork: You rarely lose interest.