Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Seventh Season is now available on DVD. This season begins by focusing on how people deal with trauma, since season six ends with a two-hour hospital shootout, resulting in several dead bodies. Each of the main characters goes about their recovery in a different way. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) feels invulnerable. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) must find a way to tell Derek that she loses their baby. And Cristina (Sandra Oh) escapes into marriage with Owen (Kevin McKidd), even though she can’t even bear to be in the operating room anymore.
It’s a season of evaluations of what the main characters want out of life. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) dumps her beau, only to soon be romanced by Nurse Eli (Daniel Sunjata). Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) and Callie (Sara Ramirez) have lots to discuss if they want a future together, as Callie soon becomes pregnant with Mark’s (Eric Dane) baby. Meredith and Derek also consider parenthood. Mark would like Lexie (Chyler Leigh) back, but the younger Grey’s eye is soon caught by Avery (Jesse Williams). Alex (Justin Chambers) also falls for someone new in Lucy (Rachael Taylor), but his personality presents a barrier to the new relationship. Teddy (Kim Raver) impulsively marries a man named Henry (Scott Foley, Scrubs, Felicity) just to provide him with health insurance. But Henry likes Teddy quite a bit more than just as his doctor. April (Sarah Drew) would like to lose her virginity, if the right man comes along.
Then things get really serious. A beloved patient (singer Mandy Moore) returns, having survived serious drama, only to die now. It’s a devastating turn of events for her husband (Ryan Devlin, Cougar Town, Brothers & Sisters) and Dr. Bailey. Meredith must make a decision that could kill her entire career, or ruin someone close to her’s life. Callie is in a very, very bad car accident. Richard (James Pickens Jr.) must face the fact that his wife, Adele (Loretta Devine), likely has early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. These events are just skimming the surface of the stories packed into the twenty-two episodes in the set.
Grey’s Anatomy mixes humor and gripping drama together into a fine batch of wonderful episodes, never more adeptly than in last season. Seven seasons in, one of television’s most popular dramas is stronger than ever, and not just because of the reset the shooting gives them. The characters are incredibly well defined by this point, and the writers rise to the challenge of writing them material that really explores the boundaries of their personalities, sometimes testing their character to its limit. It is impossible to name an all-star cast member for the year, as each soars in season seven. It’s really a tour de force, and may arguably be the best season of the show yet.
A definite highlight of season seven is “Song Beneath the Song,” a musical episode concerning Callie’s vehicular accident. The cast perform many of the songs made famous by Grey’s over the years. It’s a smart move, sticking with tunes already associated with the medical drama, rather than searching for new ones that may or may not work. The episode is presented in two formats on the DVD: the original, broadcast version, and an extended copy that adds four minutes to the length. The additions aren’t obvious upon a brief skimming.
There is a slight inconsistency between the DVD menus and the box set packaging regarding “Song Beneath the Song.” For some reason, on the DVD, the two versions are counted as separate episodes, totaling twenty-three numbered installments instead of twenty-two. This means for every episode after “Song Beneath the Song,” the episode numbers do not match what it says on the box, which does not have the extended version on its list. It’s a minor error, that effects the playing of the videos not at all. I’m inclined to think the packaging is the better version.
The best special feature on Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Seventh Season is “The Music Event: Behind the Scenes.” It’s a comprehensive fifteen minute featurette, following the pitching process of the event episode, straight through the table read and production. The actors and producers weigh in with their opinions, and special effects are even briefly touched on, regarding having two Callies appear at the same time. It is a must watch for any fan of the series.
Unfortunately, it appears most of the bonus feature efforts are put into that excellent bit, as the other fillers are disappointing. There are sixteen deleted scenes from eleven episodes, totaling less than fourteen minutes in length. A few are halfway decent moments, but most deserve their cutting room floor fate. The two minute, forty-five second blooper reel, filled with flukes and giggles, is no better. Neither really add anything to the Grey’s experience.
Finally, all six webisodes from Seattle Grace: Message of Hope are included, as well as a four minute making of special on the shorts. They follow Richard as he attempts to boost the hospital’s public image with the help of a consultant (René Ashton). Directed by Kevin McKidd and David Greenspan, this second batch of online extras are far better than last year’s weak effort. For one, it’s a more compelling story that actually enriches the world of the central hospital. For another, this year’s saga has main characters Richard, Owen, Avery, and April, instead of just relying on the guest stars. While not particularly fantastic, it is worth a watch, and should only take you about twenty minutes.