Part of ABC TV's big turnaround in the last few years, "Grey's Anatomy" started off as a mid-season replacement in its first season, with only nine episodes. The series picked up steam during its first season and became a breakout hit during its second. A prime post-Super Bowl slot in 2005 netted the show an astonishing 38.1M viewers.
One of the show's best elements is that it finally found consistent work for Ellen Pompeo, a wonderful actress who has brightened up moments in small supportng roles in such films as "Old School", "Moonlight Mile" and others. Pompeo stars as Dr. Meredith Grey, a new doctor following in the footsteps of her famous mother, Ellis (Kate Burton), who now suffers from Alzheimer’s.
In the first season, her roommates turn out to be a pair of fellow doctors: Isobel "Izzie" Stevens (Katherine Heigl) and George O'Malley (T.R. Knight, who looks an awful lot like Sean Astin to me). Other fellow fresh docs in the Seattle hospital include: Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers). Shepherd (nicknamed "McDreamy") (Patrick Dempsey) is Meredith's superior, which she finds out after she has a fling with him. Also supervising the newcomers are Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and the Chief of Surgery, Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.).
While Pompeo has an enjoyable on-screen presence and manages to show vulnerability and drive equally well, the entire ensemble shares the spotlight quite well, with highlights such as Oh's ambitious doc and others. The show's cast also has good chemistry with one another, and the series does a mostly fine job of developing relationships (such as the one between the Pompeo and Dempsey characters) without making the show seem like a soap. In fact, the show develops both the relationships and the workplace environment quite well, keeping the overall feeling grounded and at least reasonably realistic. Additionally, while the show is primarily a drama, there are moments of comedy on occasion that lighten the mood without taking away from the overall emotion of the episode.
After a third season that fans had a rather negative reaction to (I thought it was certainly uneven), the fourth season of "Grey's" clearly sees the series trying to change things (backed up by the design of the DVD set, which has "Job Changes", "Life Changes", "Everything Changes" and similar McChange-y labels on the DVDs) up a little bit to try and freshen up the show to get it back on the right foot. The fourth season is the first time the series has shifted cast members, with regulars Isaiah Washington and Kate Walsh (Walsh moving over to the "Grey's" spin-off, "Private Practice") leaving and newcomers Chyler Leigh (playing Meredith's younger half-sister) and Brooke Smith becoming full-time cast members. Unfortunately for the new arrivals, their first full season on the show was a short one, as the Writer's Guild Strike resulted in the season being shortened down to 17 episodes.
Season Five of “Grey’s Anatomy” tries to shake things up a bit, but at times it slips back into the usual soap-opera effect of lover quarrels, hospital crises and somewhat convenient emotional obstacles. Season five brings slightly more stability to Meredith and Derek’s relationship, seeing the couple move in together and finally have some level of commitment. Of course, that’s not to say that the on-again, off-again couple doesn’t face their share of relationship difficulties, including Derek uncovering Meredith’s mom’s diary, issues with Meredith’s previous roommates still living in her house, and the fact that their joint clinical trial is published without the inclusion of Meredith’s name. One thing that does bring a new level to their characters is when Derek breaks down after learning some disconcerting news regarding his past surgeries.
Still, what makes “Grey’s Anatomy” as enjoyable as it is are the supporting characters and this season is no different. In season five a lot happens to the rest of the characters. George has to retake his intern exam to see if he can become a resident. Meanwhile his ex, Callie starts dating a female surgeon, Erica (Brooke Smith). Lexie and Mark starting dating, which sheds a new light on Mark’s character. In this season, her character Izzie is diagnosed with cancer and despite Heigl’s issues with the series (which played out in the tabloids), she managed to pull of an engaging and powerful performance in the second half of this season as she comes to grips with her situation.
Thankfully the fifth season - despite its heavy subject matter - manages to have some lighter moments throughout, as well as some touching moments with Izzie and Alex, who develop a deeper relationship in this season. The two-part finale will certainly leave fans on the edge of their seat, surprised, shocked and more than a little curious to know what happens next. While “Grey’s” has certainly had it’s ups and downs, the second half of this season proves it can bring a great cast and powerful writing to the small screen. While it still has moments that fall too far into soap territory, season five is definitely worth a look for those moments that truly rise above the norm.
Season six of “Grey’s Anatomy” starts with goodbyes and hellos as one of the characters is remembered and new characters make their way in. Seattle Grace and Mercy West hospitals merge, bringing more people to an already large ensemble. Still, newer characters also bring new storylines and people for audiences to root for or against. One of the major changes for season 6 is the fact that Derek and Meredith are officially married. On one hand, you could wonder what comes next if the main couple are now official, but it actually feels more refreshing to have them come together than constantly toying with the audience. Plus, there are enough characters and romances on the show to keep that aspect of the series strong.
All of the characters see a decent amount of playtime and new obstacles, including Izzie getting fired during cutbacks at the hospital and Meredith has to take some time to heal after surgery. Needless to say, there is a group of episodes where both female leads and a few other regulars are used less. Dr. Shepherd has some interesting cases, including one that sees him performing a risky surgery despite it being deemed inoperable in “Give Peace a Chance.” Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) and Callie’s relationship continues to grow in season six, and the show focuses on developing their characters further. Cristina is focused on keeping her job as she works extra hard to outshine other doctors, especially the new one’s from the merger.
Season six does see some changes, but overall it’s the same “Grey’s Anatomy” that fans have come to know and expect. A couple of episodes feel slightly more soap-operatic than others, but the majority remain grounded and engrossing. There are some shocking moments, some humorous in between, several hospital cases and lots of romantic storylines. “Grey’s Anatomy” continues to deliver on performances, character development and plot. Look for Demi Lovato in “Shiny Happy People” and Mandy Moore in the two-part season finale. This is Katherine Heigl’s final season on the series, as well. Still, as always with “Grey’s Anatomy” the two-part season finale is a nail bitter. The finale is an intense close to an emotional season, with phenomenal performances. This is likely to leave fans eager for season seven.
103 24-Sep-09 Good Mourning
104 24-Sep-09 Goodbye
105 01-Oct-09 I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watchin' Me
106 08-Oct-09 Tainted Obligation
107 15-Oct-09 Invasion
108 22-Oct-09 I Saw What I Saw
109 29-Oct-09 Give Peace a Chance
110 05-Nov-09 Invest In Love
111 12-Nov-09 New History
112 19-Nov-09 Holidaze
113 14-Jan-10 Blink
114 21-Jan-10 I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked
115 04-Feb-10 State of Love and Trust
116 11-Feb-10 Valentine's Day Massacre
117 18-Feb-10 The Time Warp
118 04-Mar-10 Perfect Little Accident
119 11-Mar-10 Push
120 25-Mar-10 Suicide is Painless
121 01-Apr-10 Sympathy for the Parents
122 29-Apr-10 Hook, Line and Sinner
123 06-May-10 How Insensitive
124 13-May-10 Shiny Happy People
125 20-May-10 Sanctuary
126 20-May-10 Death and All His Friends
Grey's Anatomy: CLIPS:
"SHE CAN SING" Featurette:
VIDEO:"Grey's Anatomy" is presented by Buena Vista Home Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is quite good, as the image remained crisp and well-defined for the majority, with only a couple of slightly softer moments seen here-and-there.
Some minor edge enhancement and a couple of slight artifacts were visible, but the image was almost entirely free of issues. Colors appeared natural and accurate, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: "Grey's Anatomy" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The presentation generally remains forward-oriented, as one would expect from a drama like this. Still, surrounds occasionally offer some ambience and other tidbits. Audio quality was certainly satisfactory, with crisp dialogue, music and sound effects.
“Chandra Wilson: Anatomy of a Talent” is a nice and informative look at Chandra Wilson’s many talents including her role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” her directing debut on the series with the episodes “Give Peace a Chance” and “Push” in season six, as well as her role on stage in “Chicago.” The Feature does a fantastic job focusing on the extremely talented Chandra Wilson’s many talents and the recognition she’s received including the NAACP Image Award for directing.
“Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy: Unaired Scenes” There are several unaired scenes included on the season six DVD. The unaired scenes included here are from the episodes “Good Mourning,” “Goodbye,” “Invasion,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “New History,” “Holidaze,” “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked,” “Valentine’s Day Massacre,” and “How Insensitive.” The unaired scenes are included on Disc Five and can be watched with a play all option.
“Extended Scenes” There are two extended scenes included as well from the episode “The Time Warp.” The episode “Death and All His Friends” is included as an extended episode.
“In Stitches: Outtakes” is a brief collection of outtakes that fans of the series and/or cast may enjoy.
Also included on the DVD is “Seattle Grace: On Call.” There are six webisodes featured that you can watch one at a time or all together. Also included is “The Making of Seattle Grace: On Call,” a brief look at the webisodes with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
Final Thoughts: While the sixth season of the series does see some changes, "Grey's" continues to largely stay close to the core of the series that has resulted in success so far. With fine performances, writing and directing, this season is recommended for fans. The DVD set boasts fine audio/video quality, as well as a few extras.