Slate owes you an apology. Over the last three months, we in the magazine’s culture department have been trying to prepare the perfect eulogy for ER, the medical drama whose finale airs Thursday. We have approached both staff writers and a series of reliable correspondents, inviting them to weigh in on the final episode and the legacy of the drama’s 15-year run. No one wanted the assignment. It’s tough to find a surprising angle on this story. And it’s even tougher, it turns out, to find anyone who has watched the show since George Clooney was just that promising young actor from The Facts of Life.
But if Slate contributors aren’t watching, somebody is. Even in this its final season, ER has reliably delivered 9 million viewers for NBC on Thursday nights. By contrast, Friday Night Lights, the network’s high-school football drama, draws a mere 4.5 million (and yet was just renewed for two seasons). Slate has lavished attention on the critical darling Friday Night Lights while all but ignoring ER. A search of the Slate archive yields more uses of the interjection er than mentions of the medical drama.
We’d like to make it up to you, ER fans. We propose to turn our ER finale coverage over to you. Why do you still watch this show? What is it that has kept you coming back to County General season after season? Was it really still good after Clooney, Julianna Margulies, and Noah Wyle left? What does ER do that no other series does? How has it changed television? And is Abraham Benrubireally still on the show? Send your thoughts to email@example.com by noon Wednesday, and we’ll collect the best responses and publish them. Please include your name and where you’re writing from (city and state) in your messages.
Slate’s Culture Dept.