Scrubs: Season Eight
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Scrubs: Season Eight

Blu-ray

DVD

There is a popular advertisement for a type of candy crested through the merging of ‘two great tastes’; chocolate and peanut butter. This fundamental concept has been applied a lot in television mixing different genres in hopes of archiving something fresh for the jaded audience. While many such experiments fall flat at least one was a rousing success; ‘Scrubs’. The imaginative minds behind this series took two of the most venerable formats in television history, the sit-com and the medical series, and blended them with the skill of a master chief. On paper this might seem like too bizarre an idea to ever work. After all the sit-com is for light hearted zany comedy while shows set in hospitals typical depicts the life or death struggle of dedicated doctors and nurses as they fight to save their patients. Not only did ‘Scrubs’ prove any and naysayers wrong it went on to become a cult classic and beyond to a widely popular series. In fact this series was so beloved by its loyal fan base it received a medical miracle being resuscitated after being pronounced clinically dead. After seven seasons NBC cancelled the show. It was quickly picked up by rival network ABC. While jumping from one network is not unprecedented it is exceptionally rare. Making this even more unusual is the fact the series survived the dread Writer’s strike that was doom for so many series. Like a tough, determined patient this series refused to die. All of the NBC episodes are out on DVD which is now joined by the season eight. This represent a new life in another way; this was the first season to be broadcast in high definition which means it is also the first to receive a Blu-ray release. They are some indications that there will be a ninth season but if that does happen it looks like most of the original cast will not be involved except for a limited number of transitional episodes. This means it is now possible to use this season as the capstone for your collection.

Since the cast and crew were, for the most part, under the impression that the eight seasons would be it many of the ongoing plot lines were in the process on being wrapped up. As it turned out the ninth season will have to be a fairly extensive re-tooling with the focus and characters undergoing major changes. The central character who also serves as the narrator is "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff). The series started seven years ago as he and his best friend Christopher Turk (Donald Faison) as they began their residency at Sacred Heart Hospital. Although they are both in the same general training program their overall paths have diverged over the years with J.D. going into medicine and Turk becoming a highly proficient surgeon. By the time of this season Turk is married to the head nurse Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes) and together they have a young daughter Isabella. Rounding out the core group is Dr. Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke). She is extremely good in medicine although she is extremely neurotic with an unnaturally low self-esteem. Through the series both she and J.D, have retained an on again-off-again relationship with several serious significant others over the years but many of their difference fall to the wayside in this final season. Acting as a sort of Greek chorus and constant adversary to J.D, is only known as the Janitor (Neil Flynn)

In this season the hospital gets a new chief of Medicine, Dr. Taylor Maddox (Courteney Cox-Arquette). There is an immediate adversarial dynamic between her and Dr. Perry Cox (John C. McGinley) because as the former chief the staff expects him to keep the new chief in line. He has been around long enough to notice the similarities between the new interns under the charge of Elliot and J.D. and how they acted when they started their training. This also opens the way up for a ‘next generation’ story direction. Also pulled into the fray is another former chief Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins) who has become a lot more accessible since being forced out of his administrative functions due to age. He still practices medicine and acts as a mentor. Much of the remainder of the season is concerned with pulling the numerous loose threads together. At least demonstrates a respect for loyal fans that have stayed with the show all these years. It also gives the next season to do something almost unheard of in television; a series that becomes its own spin-off. The series was original, clever and afforded much more in terms of character development than just about any sit-com that has aired, even in the regular DVD edition the move to high definition is quite evident. The textures are richer, the colors far brighter and the contrast near perfect. If your Blu-ray player can ‘up convert’ to 1080p theses differences will pop out at you. The series may go on but this season will become known as the real conclusion to the story,

Posted 08/21/09

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