ER gets ready to go off the air with its series finale tonight, amid much verbiage from people like me citing it as a sign of the end of the heyday of broadcast TV. It’s worth noting, though, that even in its diminished state, millions of people still watch ER. I just don’t know them, and except for some recent tune-ins out of professional obligation, I’m not one of them.
But if you are still an ER fan, I salute you. Frankly TV critics like me tend to be a fickle bunch, drifting away from popular shows when they show the slightest tendency to repeat themselves. Which means we don’t really do a good job serving the millions of people who are still watching ER, or Law & Order, or even The Simpsons. (For my part, I’m still watching Survivor every week, long after that stopped being cool, if it ever was.)
I can’t fake fandom for ER just because it’s going off the air, and it always makes me uncomfortable when critics try to do it. Instead you might want to read this genuine appreciation for ER from Tampa Bay critic Eric Deggans, who’s stuck with the show its entire run; Alan Sepinwall’s rundown of classic ER moments; and my own employer’s photo gallery of ER’s long goodbye.
I’ll have the Tivo set for ER’s finale tonight. But I’ll probably watch Survivor first. Make fun of me for it all you want.