05/30/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT
NBC (Wed., May 25, 10 p.m. ET)
TV series—the best ones—almost take on a life of their own. But that also means, sadly, that they have to die. So here lies St. Elsewhere, dead at the age of 137 hours. It is an honorable and entertaining end. The only complaint I ever had with this darling of the high-demographic set was that it developed a disease common in the creative community: taking-itself-too-damned-seriouslyitis. A season or so ago I did get tired of the preaching and the whining. But hallelujah, there's none of that here. At the start of this final episode, we see Howie Mandel treating a fat female opera singer so, at the end, when it's all over, he can say...Well, I won't ruin even that punch line. But that silly gag proves that St. Elsewhere will go out as it came in: with tongue either in cheek or sticking straight out. This last show has an amputee running around loose; gags about specimen bottles; just enough (but not too much) poignant life-and-death drama; and one more tribute to TV—an autopsy on "patient 4077, Blake, Henry," who died in a chopper crash. St. Elsewhere throws itself a nice wake. May it R.I.R. (Rest In Reruns).