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"Grey's Anatomy" Season One DVD Review

Buy Grey's Anatomy: The Complete First Season from Amazon.com Grey's Anatomy: Season One (2005)
Show & DVD Details

Creator: Shonda Rhimes / Directors: Peter Horton, Tony Goldwyn, Adam Davidson, John David Coles, Scott Brazil, Darnell Martin, Sarah Pia Anderson, Wendey Stanzer

Regular Cast: Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey), Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang), Katherine Heigl (Isobel "Izzie" Stevens), Justin Chambers (Alex Karev), T.R. Knight (George O'Malley), Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey), James Pickens, Jr. (Richard Webber), Isaiah Washington (Preston Burke), Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd)

Recurring Characters: Kate Burton (Dr. Ellis Grey), Moe Irvin (Tyler Christian)

Notable Guest Stars: Skyler Shaye (Katie Bryce), Alice Lo (Qing Lu), Keith David (Lloyd Mackie), Callum Blue (Viper), Anna Maria Horsford (Liz Fallon), F.J. Rio (Jorge Cruz), Taylor Nichols (Rick Humphrey), Brent Sexton (Jerry Frost), Jonathan Scarfe (Hank), Kathryn Joosten (Mrs. Drake), Barry Shabaka Henley (Mr. Patterson), Bruce Weitz (Mr. Levangie), Alex S. Alexander (Annie Connors), Jane Galloway Heitz (Annie's Mom), Russell Hornsby (Digby Owens), Amanda MacDonald (Claire Rice), Kim Morgan Greene (Mrs. Rice), Joan McMurtrey (Zoey Glass), Kevin Rahm (Mr. Duff), Sarah Hagan (Devo Friedman), Kate Walsh (Addison Shepherd), Lauren Bowles (Alice Franklin), Wayne Wilderson (Bill Adams)

Running Time: 386 Minutes (9 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: February 14, 2006
Season 1 Airdates: March 27, 2005 - May 22, 2005
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Standard-width black keepcase with cardboard slipcover


A television show about doctors is anything but new. Ratings giant "E.R." seemed to define the genre upon its launch eleven and a half years ago, but many came before it and many have come since.
Some entries offer twists on the format ("M*A*S*H" had the Korean War as its backdrop and comedy as its primary device, "Doogie Howser, M.D." offered a teenage boy genius as its protagonist), while more recently, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and its numerous spin-offs have blended doctor duties with one of primetime's two other most popular occupations (cops; the third, as you know, is lawyers). The seeming majority, though, choose to focus on the everyday drama of hospital life and the doctors who experience it. This is true of "E.R.", as well as "St. Elsewhere", "M*A*S*H" spin-off "Trapper John, M.D.", "Chicago Hope", "House M.D." and many others that you'd be less apt to recognize by name. It's also true of "Grey's Anatomy", an hour-long drama that the Walt Disney Company's Touchstone Television branch and ABC network simultaneously introduced in the final months of last season.

Though "Grey's Anatomy" offered no big name cast or crew and little variation on the "E.R." formula, it nonetheless proved to be a big hit for both ABC and Touchstone, which had both already reversed their fortunes thanks to the hearty embracing of hour-long dramas "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" upon their debuts in late September 2004. Following a much-publicized slump in ratings, "Grey's Anatomy" became the third feather in ABC's cap, solidifying the network's status with in-house hour-long dramas, a format Disney and the network it acquired in 1996 had rarely dabbled in to any degree of success. Nowadays, "Grey's Anatomy" regularly shows up, along with "Desperate" and "Lost", among Nielsen Media Research's weekly list of the ten most-viewed programs in the United States. Just this past Sunday, ABC chose to follow up what's bound to be the most-watched broadcast of 2006 (Super Bowl XL) with a brand new episode of "Grey's Anatomy", expressing a vote of confidence in a show that has not yet been on the air for a full year.

The "Grey" of "Grey's Anatomy" (an obvious allusion to the landmark 19th century textbook authored by Henry Gray) is Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo), a young woman beginning a seven-year surgical residency at Seattle Grace Hospital in the rainy Washington city. Meredith's mother Ellis is renowned for her body of work as a surgeon at the hospital, a fact which yields both open arms and unreasonably large shoes to fill. That Meredith's mother, now afflicted with advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease, often doesn't recognize her daughter removes any chance for experienced maternal guidance. But as per the elder Dr. Grey's wishes, Meredith keeps her mother's condition a secret from Ellis's former (and Meredith's current) colleagues. While this is established in the pilot and becomes a recurring element of Season One, it doesn't seem to cast too large a shadow on the series as a whole. Occasionally, Meredith will secretly but strongly relate to a patient's family member faced with a similar quality-of-life plight.

The "Grey's Anatomy" title logo, seen at the end of the opening credits. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), Izzie (Katherine Heigl), and Cristina (Sandra Oh) are the series' three central female surgical interns.

Like "Scrubs", Touchstone's half-hour series with an atypically comedic bent, "Grey's Anatomy" focuses upon an ensemble of young people who, after years of schooling and theoretical study, are finally experiencing the reality of their callings through the start of demanding medical internships. The principal cast surrounding Meredith is composed entirely of her fellow doctors, be they interns like her or her diverse foursome of superiors. The prominently-featured interns are those who are assigned to Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), a short but tough-talking surgeon more commonly known as "The Nazi." They are: Cristina Yang (Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh), a cunning, opportunistic Stanford grad always looking to get ahead; George O'Malley (T.R. Knight), a friendly but passive young man whose effeminacy leads many to assume he is gay; Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), a down-to-Earth ex-model; and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), a macho brute unfazed by the fact that few of his colleagues like him.

The regular cast is rounded out by three superiors who have authority above "The Nazi." Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey, of fondly remembered '80s teen romantic comedies like Touchstone's Can't Buy Me Love) is a charming chap from New York whose recent romantic hook-up with Meredith forms the basis for a somewhat awkward, somewhat secretive workplace relationship. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington) is widely respected as one of Seattle Grace's finest surgeons, though his arrogant attitude can be discouraging to interns, one of whom he finds himself romantically attached to before season's end. Finally, there is Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.), the hospital's Chief of Medicine who seems to hold the least amount of screentime of the nine leads, merely being called on as a grandfatherly figure of supreme authority.

"Grey's Anatomy" doesn't wander outside of the hospital too much in its first episodes. On occasion, Meredith checks in with her mother's heartbreaking situation at the center she is staying. More frequently, we see Meredith's bonds with her fellow doctors expand beyond the hospital, as she reluctantly agrees to let George and Izzie move into her mother's house with her rather than sell it off. There are also the potential relationships, which are compelling but far from groundbreaking or original. The most prominent romance involves Meredith and Shepherd (whom Cristina dubs "McDreamy"), though focus is also given to George's unspoken attraction for a fellow intern and Burke's secretive fling with another.

"The Nazi" (Chandra Wilson) takes her assigned interns around Seattle Grace Hospital. Meredith has a brief, recent romantic history with her supervisor, Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey).

A few things distinguish "Grey's Anatomy" from other medical dramas, and as "E.R." seems to be the one most viewed in recent times, I'm considering that a frame of reference. The doctors of Seattle Grace are not portrayed merely or frequently as heroic; their humanity reveals flaws and ambitions that any surgeon might possess. Though this thought might give pause to anyone scheduled for a forthcoming operation, it also lends reality and intrigue to the protagonists and their dilemmas.
Once in a while, it can aptly convey the grave, immediate emotion of being a doctor, but more often it finds more interest in the puzzling nature of interns, who seek to advance their own careers by getting involved in tricky, dangerous procedures.

The series sometimes aspires to the same kind of dark comedy of "Desperate Housewives"; it is very rarely broad and never strives for big laughs like the similarly-focused "Scrubs", but there is a sarcastic tone which is played with just the right subtlety. Irony and irreverence mark this as something of a post-postmodern program designed to offer new things for those weaned on "E.R." or "St. Elsewhere."

Each episode basically follows the same formula, loosely upholding through several juggled patients a theme that is introduced in narration by Meredith. Thoughts from her psyche only really accompany the beginning and end of each episode to tie things together and convey the unexpressed emotions at play. As a result, the device comes across more like a less clever, less present "Desperate Housewives" voiceover than a steady stream like "Scrubs" or "The Wonder Years." As the conflicts and clues are somewhat predictable, uncertainty then comes from not knowing if a patient will or won't survive a seemingly always daunting treatment. Many of Season One's cases lack happy endings, leading the viewer (like a doctor) to not put too much stock or unrealistic hope in saving every compelling persona who wanders into the operating room, even those apparently well in control of their facilities. Furthermore, the successes are celebrated with restraint among the doctors. Rarely, if ever, does a triumph leave the show to linger on the joy experienced by the fortunate patient and their family.

The cocky but respected surgeon Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington) develops a special relationship with Cristina. Izzie and George become Meredith's housemates early on.

One of "Grey's Anatomy"'s greatest assets is that it is new and fresh, much like "E.R." was in its early seasons, though "Grey's" pushes the envelope in some ways and offers less emotional connect and payoff in others. "M*A*S*H" ran for eleven years, "E.R." is on number twelve, and while shows generally only continue if audiences remain invested, no doubt some creative steam gets lost in that lengthy a production. Eventually, trends become repetition; enough time passes, you've got a soap opera. Fortunately, the devices and personalities of "Grey's" remain far too young for us to abandon anytime too soon. Certainly, it doesn't wear out its welcome in these first nine episodes.

Other factors which distinguish this from other doctor series: "Grey's" employs an especially fast-moving pace, plenty of handheld camera photography, and, in no shortage of music video-type montages, pre-recorded alternative/pop songs (which I gather are trendy, though I didn't recognize a single track), a certain bucking to the dramatic score trend. In nearly every episode, there is some graphic stuff to gross out or induce wincing, but medical jargon and visuals are held in check by a constant preference for human drama. Its occasional speechmaking is fairly forgivable. Whereas "E.R." frequently incorporates the city of Chicago into dialogue and weathered scenery, to a lesser degree, "Grey's" makes rainy Seattle a character with nice establishing and transitional photography.

The stories of "Grey's Anatomy" are somewhat female-skewed, which can likely be attributed to the female writing staff as much as having a woman protagonist. This characteristic is only noticeable in small strokes, such as its eye for emotion, the mother/daughter relationship, or the interest in romance, and it certainly hasn't deterred male viewers from tuning in, nor should it. The issue of ethnic diversity in television programs has been brought up repeatedly over the years, often resulting in nothing more than a disposable token black or Hispanic character. Consciously or not (and the featurette and commentary credit coincidence), the makers of "Grey's" have conquered the subject straight on; three of the four authority roles are played by African American actors, and one of the five interns is Asian. Colorblind casting can be effective, as illustrated by the strong ensemble portraying the surgeons in this series. The characters are believable as doctors, with Chandra Wilson's "Nazi" being ever so slightly the weak one-dimensional link among the cast. As Meredith, the Renée Zellweger-esque Ellen Pompeo's leading lady is not the easiest character to like; some of her co-stars are even less likable. Nonetheless, together, the stories and arcs are involving. If that's not easy to explain, we need only turn to television's time-tested truth: Medical shows allow us to live vicariously through doctors who can work passionately and regularly perform miracles, unlike the majority of us.

Cristina and Meredith work together to determine what is wrong with a teenage beauty paegant contestant in the pilot episode "A Hard Day's Night." Alex (Justin Chambers) and Meredith argue over whose patient Viper (guest Callum Blue) should be in "Winning a Battle, Losing the War." In the same episode, Keith David guest stars as liver transplant candidate who takes a liking to George.

DISC 1

1. A Hard Day's Night (43:15) (Originally aired March 27, 2005)
This pilot episode documents the new surgical interns' first 48 hours on the job.
For Meredith, that involves surprise, when an extremely recent one-night stand turns out to be a supervising doctor. It also involves plenty of stress for Meredith and the other interns assigned to "The Nazi."

2. The First Cut is the Deepest (42:40) (Originally aired April 3, 2005)
Meredith notices a potential problem with a baby in the hospital nursery and takes action in spite of being out of her environment. She is also struck by a young rape victim's visit-less struggle and has the bizarre task of carrying around the offensive act's central body part, which has been severed from the rapist, who also shows up in need of care.

3. Winning a Battle, Losing the War (43:10) (Originally aired April 10, 2005)
A wild illicit bicycle race brings in a number of patients into the hospital, including one (guest star Callum Blue of The Princess Diaries 2) who takes a liking to Meredith. Lloyd Mackie (guest star Keith David), a longtime friend of Webber's who is in need of a liver transplant, seems to take a liking to George, assigned to watching him. Cristina and Izzie actively pursue organ transplant capabilities from a unidentified brain-dead man.

4. No Man's Land (43:07) (Originally aired April 17, 2005)
Recognizing Izzie from a newly-printed lingerie spread, a male patient ardently refuses to have her treat him. Meanwhile, George is troubled by his new roommates' sister-like attitude towards him. Cristina gets assigned to a well-known former scrub nurse, but has trouble waiting for surgery to start. Meredith and Derek deal with a man who has inexplicably managed to stay conscious after accidentally shooting several nails into his skull.

5. Shake Your Groove Thing (43:02) (Originally aired April 24, 2005)
Meredith worries she might have damaged a patient's heart during an operation, while someone else is responsible for another major surgical screw-up on a patient who has had a towel inside of her for five years. The hospital staff is buzzing with anticipation for a party to be thrown at Meredith's place, although Izzie keeps extending invitations and has yet to let the hostess know the extent of it.

Alex bonds with Digby Owens in "The Self-Destruct Button." Izzie tends to a seizure-prone patient who claims to be psychic in "Save Me." First, syphilis. Now, three co-workers looking at his butt. George is having quite the day in Season One finale "Who's Zoomin' Who?"

DISC 2

6. If Tomorrow Never Comes (42:54) (Originally aired May 1, 2005)
The entire intern staff observes a woman with an enormous stomach tumor that has gone untreated for over a year. She takes a liking to Alex, until during her MRI when (unbeknownst to him) she hears his real assessment of her. George views the woman's bleak situation as encouragement to make his feelings for Meredith known. Meredith sympathizes with the daughter of a man afflicted with Parkinson's Disease who is reluctant to undergo open brain surgery.

7. The Self-Destruct Button (42:37) (Originally aired May 8, 2005)
A restless night ends with George and Izzie finding out about Meredith and Shepherd's relationship. There are consequences for everyone directly and indirectly involved. Meanwhile, Alex connects with a fellow Iowan wrestler who thrives on pain and gets shot for the cool scars. Meredith treats a girl who has complications from an illegal Mexican operation and a pushy mother. Izzie puts up with a whiny woman and the boyfriend who swallowed her car keys. Finally, George weighs his options when he suspects an anesthesiologist of being inebriated.

8. Save Me (42:44) (Originally aired May 15, 2005)
A seemingly epileptic patient claiming to be psychic knows much about every doctor who tries to deal with him. An orthodox Jewish teenager (guest star Sarah Hagen of "Freaks & Geeks") objects to having a pig's heart valve inside of her, leaving Burke to perform a more challenging bovine transplant suggested by Alex. Cristina, who has no qualms about secretly proceeding with an abortion herself, can't fathom why a middle-aged pregnant cancer patient would put her baby's life before hers. Meredith tries to squeeze some personal details out of the tight-lipped Shepherd.

9. Who's Zoomin' Who? (42:47) (Originally aired May 22, 2005)
Surprises are in high supply, beginning with George's discovery that he has syphilis. Word quickly spreads of this and, following other cases, the staff is encouraged to get tested. Meanwhile, Burke learns that his best friend has an ovary, which makes his wife's pregnancy troubling. Following blurred vision and the revelation of a tumor, the Chief asks for Shepherd to arrange for a covert eye surgery for himself. When Cristina and Izzie's patient inexplicably dies and his family won't agree to an autopsy, they take matters into their own hands. Not every secret comes out, but, unsurprisingly, this finale to a short season ends with one whopping cliffhanger.

Bailey leads her interns through one of Seattle Grace's more scenic spots. Time-lapse photography like this goes a little way to establish the city of Seattle as the show's setting.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Like most of today's hour-long television programs, "Grey's Anatomy" appears on DVD in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, matching the dimensions of the show's high definition broadcasts. As seems consistently true of contemporary drama series, "Grey's" resembles a feature film creation with its visual flair and like its cinematic brethren, it comes to DVD boasting visuals with nary a flaw in sight. The element is pristine and vivid. The show summons a color palette of its own, favoring whites and light colors rather than the light/dark contrasts of "E.R." or the old, worn-down hospital look somewhat achieved by "Scrubs." Framing seems good; I assume you are seeing more than you would on 4x3 broadcasts, but if it is matted, it was obviously filmed with the 16x9 aspect ratio in mind. I could go on, but outside of the extreme nitpickers and those with screens the size of a wall (and even both those demographics might fumble to find gripes, aside from the fact that the budget here is not quite that of a James Cameron film), viewers should be perfectly pleased with this gorgeous transfer.

As far as sound goes, "Grey's Anatomy" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. While the obvious thing to say here might be "sound comes predominantly from the center and doesn't encompass the way a big screen spectacle might", that's not very true. Subtle but effective ambient noises are very well-realized, putting you in the middle of a bustling hospital without ever remotely feeling showy or gimmicky. Sure, this isn't the type of DVD you pop in to say, "Dude, listen to this!" But personally, I'm more impressed by the thoughtful design present here than some peaks-and-valleys, explosion-laden flick. The busy musical soundtrack does often raise the dynamics a bit above spans of dialogue, but there was little need for volume adjusting. All audio elements tend to complement each other and serve a common goal. In short, this was an entirely pleasing presentation and one that can't be faulted at all for having different needs than a big screen movie. It performs commendably at enhancing the drama by hitting notes faithfully and realistically.

Creator, executive producer, and writer Shonda Rhimes provides audio commentary on the pilot and interview remarks in the featurette "Under the Knife." Meredith meets the hospital's Chief of Medicine (James Pickens, Jr.) in this deleted scene found in "Anatomy of a Pilot." The interns regularly gather in this dark, quiet corner of the hospital, but this particular sequence was deleted from the pilot.

BONUS FEATURES

While not overflowing with bonus features, this 2-disc set does supply a nice amount of supplements, and far more than what can be expected from Touchstone Television series that have long ended their runs.
Two audio commentaries adorn Disc 1's pilot "A Hard Day's Night." The first, the insightful one, features creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes and director/co-executive producer Peter Horton. Their remarks paint a full picture of the series' origins and the pilot's production, ranging from technical and dramatic intentions to casting and character development. The unorthodox soundtrack, guidelines from the network, filming locations, and tough deletions are covered sufficiently.

The second track, the entertaining one, brings in cast members T.R. Knight (George), Katherine Heigl (Izzie), and starting at 23 minutes in, Sandra Oh (Cristina). The first half is giggly, as the admitted commentary newcomers (who sound quite like their characters) point out continuity errors, recurring background actors and the like. Amidst the laughter, there is discussion over how long ago the pilot was made (shot in March 2004, it didn't air until a year later), how actors deal with medical jargon (blindly), and the animals used for surgery. Most of their most interesting observations -- such as how the character of Alex was a last-minute addition to the pilot and how a few days were spent filming the pilot in Seattle itself (rather than California standing in for it) -- were already brought up in the first track, so those who aren't diehard commentary fans may be adequately served by choosing what approach they'd prefer (the celebrity or the serious) and only listening to one. While two commentaries seems like a reasonable offering for a 9-episode set, one wishes that to avoid redundancy and make the most out of reflections, one of the groups was assigned to another episode such as the finale. Still, these are rewarding to those with interest in candid conversation on the series even in the absence of two of the most central cast members (Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey).

"Under the Knife: Behind the Scenes of Grey's Anatomy" (11:20) enables just about everyone involved with the show to contribute a comment via a staged interview. It covers a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time; consider that an episode is about four times as long. Topics discussed (and sometimes depicted, where relevant) include the ethnic diversity of the cast, the unusually female-dominated writing staff, medical jargon and props that lend an air of realism, and the process of producing an episode (from table read to script revisions). While it's closer to a electronic press kit featurette than a definitive, warts-and-all look at how a drama series is made, it's interesting in addition to being promotional and worth at least a viewing.

Kate Burton shows up in a number of episodes to play Meredith's Alzheimer's-addled mother Ellis Grey. This scene is one of five deleted ones found in a section titled "Dissecting 'Grey's Anatomy'." This could have been how "Grey's Anatomy" opened. This is how "Grey's Anatomy" was apparently promoted in France.

A sticker on the slipcover loudly touts "19 Exclusive Unaired Scenes." A large majority of these come from the pilot and play as an undivided montage titled "Anatomy of a Pilot." If you haven't read the back of the case, you might not know just what this 11¾ feature is. Presented in fullscreen, with oddly bright colors, and heavy grain, this clean but unfinished footage hardly resembles the look of the show on the rest of the set. The scenes themselves aren't bad or in contrast to what did make it into the pilot episode; some are merely extensions of surviving sequences or existing scenes filmed elsewhere. As the optional commentary from Rhimes and Horton explains, just about all of them were cut for time (with reluctancy).

The remaining five deleted scenes (and I'm taking the package's word that there are 14 excised from the pilot) were filmed for the second, third, and fourth episodes. I'm guessing that either the makers either got better at filming precisely what was needed for an episode or the DVD producers got tired of trying to compile cut scenes for DVD and gave up halfway in. The five included here are only playable individually. These are also presented in fullscreen, but the colors aren't too off next to the final scenes. While only one of the scenes runs over a minute (the rest range from 45 to 57 seconds each), a couple of them did make it into the show in other forms, and none provides something which was much truly needed, the deletions at least do provide moments which stand on their own, without demanding context or that the relevant episode be watched directly before.

Rounding out the second disc are a brief pair of video extras. An Alternate Main Title sequence (0:30) is more "E.R." than "Desperate Housewives" as each cast member appears quickly against a medical green background. Less striking though it may be, it more accurately conveys the show's themes and tones. Finally, running just over two minutes, an "Avant-Garde Trailer" promotes the series with French text and a montage of black-and-white imagery from the first season. Both are interesting and brief enough to view with even a busy schedule.

Meredith appears among the montage of the animated Main Menu. Different characters adorn each page of the Episode Selection screens.

MENUS, PACKAGING, and DESIGN

The 16x9-enhanced menu screens mostly just utilize the 4x3 center. Both discs employ the same Main Menu, which opens with an introduction that cycles through the cast in filmy x-ray type images before moving onto a montage of normally-colored images set to the theme song. Submenus are not animated, but they are accompanied by music, which of course will drive you mad if you don't make a selection. Various characters adorn the different sections.

That "Grey's Anatomy" had an initial order of just thirteen episodes probably explains why the DVD is called "Season One" rather than "The Complete First Season" (which, by airing, it really is, as the remaining four first season episodes were bumped to Season 2). It also explains why the show doesn't get the traditionally elaborate packaging bestowed upon bulkier season collections like "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost." Like many a Disney film treated to a double-disc set (and although holding over six hours of contents, this is priced the same way), "Grey's" arrives in a standard-width black keepcase with Disc One in a mobile flap and Disc 2 in the traditional back side spot. The keepcase is covered with a cardboard slipcover which provides a second spine but almost exactly replicates the keepcase's front and back cover artwork. (You'd be hard-pressed to spot the differences.)

Inside the case are Buena Vista's long-outdated 2005 TV on DVD catalogue and "Win a TV-on-DVD Library" sweepstakes form (that contest is finally ending soon). A double-sided insert provides synopses of the nine episodes, while another advertises the show's soundtrack (can't miss out on synergy!).

A lighter than usual slate of sneak peeks launches Disc 1. The promos advertise Touchstone Television's six most popular series released to DVD in 2005 ("Lost", "Desperate Housewives", "Scrubs", "Alias", "The Golden Girls", and "Home Improvement"), and "Lost" on ABC.

Each episode is divided into between seven and ten chapters, but as usual, these are only accessible with the "Skip" button and not any dedicated menu. A few episodes open with "Previously on 'Grey's Anatomy'" recaps, suggesting that nothing from the original broadcasts has been cut. The hefty use of pre-recorded music in the soundtrack may have necessitated some changes, but as already indicated, I have no idea if that is the case. Typically, DVD rights are secured along with broadcast rights for music used in present-day series and the fact that there is a "Grey's Anatomy" soundtrack CD leads one to think efforts have kept the aired music intact.

Izzie, George, and Cristina wait outside as Meredith gets subjected to possible legal trouble. Forty-eight consecutive hours of working in a hospital will leave you looking something like this.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

On the heels of two other freshman successes, late-season arrival "Grey's Anatomy" helped underscore that the reversal of Disney/ABC's primetime slump was no fluke. It's fairly easy to see why this medical series quickly developed a fanbase; while far from groundbreaking, the stories are involving, the characters are compelling, and viewers can't help but care where both are headed.

"Grey's" now follows those hour-long hits to DVD in similar fashion, boasting a 16x9 widescreen, 5.1-channel sound presentation that outdoes many feature films. Though its first season episode count totals a modest nine, that puts this two-disc set in the price range of most studios' new films despite holding about four times as much content. Season One's bonus material may seem a little paltry next to the vast offerings of "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives", but that makes it easy to take everything in, a task most should find worthwhile and rewarding. The most ardent fans may lament that there aren't more deleted scenes, commentaries, and the like. They are encouraged, however, to look at the bright side and compare this to far lesser season set treatment bestowed to more popular and longer running series.

This well-produced Season One DVD of "Grey's Anatomy" merits a recommendation for anyone interested. The unacquainted who have a penchant for hour-long television dramas or hold a medical series among their favorites shouldn't be disappointed by this one. The DVD is cheap enough to not require a large financial gamble and part of the beauty of TV on DVD is that the time commitment is far less demanding with commercials extracted. Still, if you like to play it safe, tune in to ABC on Sunday nights to decide for yourself if "Grey's" suits your fancies.

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Grey's Anatomy on DVD: Season 1Season 2Season 3 NEW!

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Reviewed February 10, 2006.

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