Chicago Hope

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Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
wherever we are parked
In my opinion, this was the very best TV medical serial to ever appear on TV. 

Unfortunately it came out about 6 months before the arrival of ER.  The yuppie (and sometimes stupid) rapid pace for young people with short attention spans blew Chicago Hope off the top rated airwaves in about two years., though they hung on for six years, always with top ratings from the critics.

I have always regretted the demise of that show.  Interestingly, the major actors of Chicago Hope have all gone on to big roles in other current TV series.  The acting in Chicago Hope is high quality and often reaches superlative levels.  A good mix of plot, suspense, and really great humor a la Mandy Patinkin etc.  Stars that have moved on from the show include such great talent as Mandy Patinkin as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, a hot shot surgeon with emotional problems stemming from the psychiatric condition of his wife, played by Kim Greist. Adam Arkin played Patinkin's colleague and best friend and Peter MacNicol and Hector Elizondo featured as house counsel and director of medicine respectively. Christine Lahti joined in the second season as a talented cardiac surgeon with a feminist chip on her shoulder who vies with Patinkin for the chief of surgery position.

Really intense plots develop around hospital risk management, life of adult Siamese twins, private lives of medical practitioners, athletes with career threatening injuries, the fine line between genius and insanity, the impact of racism and sexism on the practice of medicine, cloning, the ethics of transplants and waiting lists, the underlying risks of hospital viruses and infections, and much more.  This show will make you laugh, cry, anger you, please you, frighten you, and take you through every emotion imaginable.  And the acting is always always first rate and real.

If you missed Chicago Hope the first time around, you can now catch it at 3 am and 5 amArizona time on the DirectTv Discovery health channel.  We set our DVR and when we wake up and have our morning coffee, The Admiral and I replay it.  We are amazed at the depth of the show and how much we missed when it first ran.  It avoids must of the jumping around displayed by ER (though in the final year they began to cave into that approach out of desperation), and takes the time to build really intensive and meaningful plots.

The character relationships build from show to show, so you will need to watch two or three shows to begin to catch on to some of the character underplay.  Currently they are broadcasting the early shows of the second season, and they are planning to run through sequentially the rest of the six seasons, so you have plenty more to see.  Now is the time to catch them, though, before they become infected with the ER syndrome shown in their shows of the 6th season.

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