Greys Anatomy: The Complete 8th Season
Cast: Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson, Kate Walsh, Eric Dane, James Pickens Jr., Chyler Leigh, Kevin McKidd, Jessica Capshaw
Creator: Shonda Rhimes
New York University '00
"I don't think you're dumb... I just think at times you're under-exposed to information." -Murphy Brown
Greys Anatomy: The Complete 8th Season
Review By: Dan Deevy
The Eighth Season of Grey’s Anatomy is decidedly my least favorite of the series run. It’s left me thinking that their opportunity to exit primetime gracefully while still on top has now passed them by. We’ve reached the point where eventually someone is going to have to pull the plug and put it out of its misery.
When you have a show as emotionally charged as Grey’s has been both in front of and behind the camera, there is only so much that audiences can sit through before they start quoting their favorite characters asking the obvious question, “Seriously? Seriously?”
The term ‘Jumping the Shark,’ was coined when the Fonz dared to literally jump over a shark on an episode of the long running series, Happy Days. Since then it’s been used to describe what happens when a once beloved, respected show has run out of ideas and has become blatantly desperate to entertain their audience. After this season finale in honor of this previously amazing series, I think that term can be changed to ‘Crashing the Plane.’
I usually don’t jump right to the end and I never give stuff away in my reviews but I think it’s safe to say that if you’re reading this then you’ve seen this season; and even if you haven’t by now you’ve certainly heard about what happens. Put half of your cast on a plane, leave the other half at home and have everyone dealing with the possibility of relocating for work or other reasons, then crash that plane and you’re guaranteed to have your fans buzzing over ‘who will stay and who will go,’ for months.
This is where I run into problems with criticizing the show and its tactics because they work. I didn’t enjoy watching this season but I still watched it. And I’m still curious about who lives, who dies, who gets together, who stays together, but that curiosity is coming more from a place of frustration and annoyance than from joy and excitement. I think because this show has been such a mainstay in my television diet for so long they have earned a certain amount of Leigh way with me to forgive them for bad plot lines, or even moves like ‘Crashing the Plane.’ Because of that I’ll still be watching in season nine.
If, however, the ninth year plays out the way the eighth did, dull, flat, boring and only moderately engaging when they are ripping your heart out emotionally, then I may not care to return for a tenth year.
Getting back to the stories that play out on this 6 disc DVD set, the best part of watching the eighth year of Grey’s Anatomy is seeing the growth and development of its lead character Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). In past years I have always been far more interested in the trials
She still has her issues to deal with but they are no longer selfish, self-absorbed petty issues. She’s dealing with wanting to be a mom but not being allowed to; both by nature and by the courts taking away her adopted child. She deals with the consequences of making a decision that while against the rules was for the significant benefit of her mentor and friend and ultimately didn’t do any actual harm to anyone.
There are complexities to her issues this year that really humanize her and finally make her someone that I would want as a friend, or at least a doctor.
The only other compelling story line this year is the marriage between Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) and my hunky doppelganger, Henry (Scott Foley). And while this starts out very strong it takes a bad turn and the effects of that turn ultimately becomes too drawn out to remain interesting.
A close third this year is watching the relationship between Callie (Sara Ramirez and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) further develop as a finally married, happy couple raising a daughter with the help of best friend and sperm donor Mark Sloane (Eric Dane) who conveniently lives across the hall.
Sometimes it’s nice to see what can happen when blatant insane tragedy is kept away from a couple of characters and they just live their lives. Ramirez and Capshaw have such wonderful chemistry and are so much fun to watch on screen that they don’t need to be struggling to overcome ridiculous adversity to make them interesting. For them the basic difficulties of balancing career and home life, especially a non-typical one like theirs, is more than enough to keep my eyes glued to the screen.
As far as the multitude of other characters are concerned there are lots of other things happening, but very little that you will either care about or remember. It’s their final year as residents so they have to prepare for their board exams and then ultimately decide where they want to work the following year to continue their careers as actual surgeons. There’s also a lion, a sinkhole, some premature babies, a weird sci-fi like episode called If / Then where they examine a parallel universe where everyone is the same but different, and oh yeah, Miranda Bailey continues to sleep with men who are far too attractive for her. And that’s it.
My reviews for season long shows are generally much more in depth than this one but sadly I don’t have much to say. There weren’t any amazing, stand out episodes
Other than that everything else was either par or subpar for this show.
The special features include a featurette entitled, A Journey Home with Kevin McKidd where the creators of the show talk about how different the actor and his character Owen Hunt actually are. And to further illustrate that the actor himself takes us on a tour of his hometown in Scotland and then explains his Scottish folk singing career and aspirations. I have no idea why this exists. It’s nice, if you are a major Kevin McKidd fan, but what’s it doing here?
And lastly there are some deleted scenes and a horribly un-funny blooper reel.
This is just a major disappointment on all levels. If you guys don’t mind I’m going to post this review and then try to forget that any of this ever happened. I’ll still be tuning in for season nine hoping that it gets better, but I don’t have much faith in that actually being the case.