The Good

How can a show that is supposedly based on 9-1-1 calls not be good?

The Bad

No extras.

As I watched Emergency!: Season Two I had a thought. Sure, Robert Fuller, Julie London and Randolph Mantooth were actors, but this show might have been one of the first “Reality TV” shows on TV? Yes, I know that the life of paramedics probably isn’t always as exciting as it is here, but there was a realness to this show that I think would give any “Reality Show” a run for it’s money.

I particularly loved the ethical episodes like Kids in which Dr. Early (Bobby Troup) has to make a choice of just how he’s going to help a child. Or, the School Days spot where John and Roy have to get a new medic up to speed. There was an urgency to this episode and I like how the episode, though it did have an uplifting ending, didn’t try and manipulate the viewers too much.

Overall, if you are a fan of the show or just interested in seeing one of the pioneering TV dramas then Emergency!: Season Two is for you.

Features

No extras came with this DVD.

Video

Full Frame - 1.33:1. I can best describe the colors of this show as almost bland. The only things with a lot of character (in terms of color) are the fire engines. Still, even with the show not really being that flashy, I find that this works very much in it’s favor. We are almost forced to focus on the humanity of the situations and the characters in them. As a result, this show doesn’t wear on us that much because we don’t have to process everything, and can focus more on the situations the characters are in.

Audio

English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. As I mentioned in my other review, I was impressed with the quietness of this show. While I think they punched things up a bit for the second season, I still think that it was far less “talky” than a lot of similar dramatic shows. Also, I liked how none of the dialogue seemed wasted. Information was simply presented and not held out there so viewers could have too many “Ah-hah!” moments.

Package

The design is of the digipack variety with three slim cases all snugly fitting into a cardboard case. Again, the cast splits the front cover with shots of fire trucks careening out of the station. The back has four shots from various episodes of the show, a description of the episodes that make up this three disc set and a few technical specs. All the plastic covers have the same front cover as their cardboard holder, with an episode index and descriptions on the back of each of them. A typo on the box lists the running time for all these discs as 7 hours but I think they meant 17 hours.

Final Word

TV has a special ability to highlight the everyday and make it entertaining. For example, I walk by a firehouse a few times a week when I go walking. I didn’t even give the house or the workers inside a moments thought. Then, I screened both seasons of Emergency!, and suddenly I found myself taking an interest in the firehouse. When the garage door was up I would look inside. When a fire truck passed me on the street I would wonder where it was going? Were the people in the truck anything like the actors on the TV show?

It is this ability to make people aware of what’s around them that truly sums up the power of this medium, and probably explains why TV shows and movies resonate so much with viewers.

Emergency! was released .