Aired at the same time as ER, unlike the latter, the situations are funnier and seem less realistic (although based on actual cases). It is a bit hard for me to remain objective as this is the series that made me discover David E.Kelley and remain a fan to these days.
Here, the sense of humor is second degree, a bit cynical sometimes but always in line with human feelings. All I can recommend is that you watch and see...
I can't believe CHICAGO HOPE has a ratings of 6.7. This was one of the very best dramas of the 90's. The cast headed by Mandy Patinkin(at first) and then by Adam Arkin was excellent. Listening to Mandy Patinkin's unique singing style was always a strange joy. It also had a great quirky element to it one episode being when Jeremy Piven had a permanent erection (why do I remember this)was hilarious. was also an episode in which a patient had a spear through his head and what seemed like a ridiculous television story was not so as there have been numerous incidents of this kind since. Like most fans I was saddened when Mandy left the show but when he returned I realized how the standard had not dropped without him,it was just different. I haven't seen the show for many years and wish it would return to free to air television. It would be great daytime or late night viewing now. Like most great shows it had great writing and the name In talking about actors there was none better than Christine Lahti but all the female leads were excellent. David E Kelley is the classiest name in television writing. Great cameos in the show by names like Rip Torn and Alan Arkin as well. So for me a 9/10
ER was satisfactory but Chicago Hope was superior with mature cast of characters played by a stellar cast of actors and actresses. I loved the relationship between Mandy Patinkin and Adam Arkin. It appeared to be doing fine until Peter MacNichol who played the lawyer Alan Birch left the show and joined Ally MacBeal. Roxanne Hart played a nurse who was married to Arkin's character. Hector Elizondo appeared to be the heart and soul of the show. Christine Lahti later joined the show but the show lost it when cast members like McNichol and Patinkin who chose to leave for other opportunities and spend more time with his family. When ER and Chicago Hope first came on, I have to say that Chicago Hope had a greater edge than it's sister show also set in Chicago but ER seemed more elementary and spent more time dealing with personal relationships. I think Chicago Hope tried to do both very well and it would have had the original cast stayed on board.
I do not regularly enjoy doctor shows, especially since I am the one who will outright refuse to see doctors for anything (and I'm only 19). However, my mother watching this show during my sophomore year of high school prompted me to watch it too, and ask lots of questions.The show takes place at Chicago Hope hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and focuses on the lives of several doctors working there, under the guidance and helm of Dr. Philip Watters (Hector Elizondo). In the season I saw in entirety, the 1998-99 season, there was Dr. Bobby Yeates (Eric Stoltz), a free spirit, who consistently clashed with Dr. Kate Austen (Christine Lahti), Dr. Jack MacNeil (the very handsome Mark Harmon), and orthoscopic doctor, Dr. Aaron Shott (Adam Arkin), who is now a psychiatrist after suffering an anyerism (sp?), Dr. Caccachi, who ends up taking his own life by jumping off the roof (I NEVER liked him, and I was with Jack--pull the plug, he's done for), and Billy and Diane, who are juggling their careers with new parenthood.This show is interesting, because I've learned so many different kinds of hospital terms that I probably wouldn't otherwise know. This show combines the drama of saving lives with some essential humor (especially from Jack MacNeill--you couldn't have found a better person to play this role!). My favorite episode is the first episode I ever saw, the 100th episode, in which Philip becomes ill and halucinates that Allan Birch (Peter MacNichol) has come back. That episode was freaky, but it ended well, with Philip recovering. My one question: Did Jack date EVERY woman in the hospital?In all, this is a great show, with a great cast. I try to catch the reruns as often as they air on Lifetime. If you get the chance, watch it too. You seriously won't regret it.