Never has the phrase you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone been more appropriate.

For years I’ve bemoaned the storylines on "ER" and threatened to break up with the show (always unsuccessfully). I was livid at times (see how Ray exited the show), perplexed at times (exactly how many of Sam’s storylines did they drop sans explanation) and bored at others (I just couldn’t care about Simon). And then what did the show do in its final hours? Lure me right back in.

They did this, of course, by going out in the classiest way possible. The brought back familiar faces and letting us know they’ve been doing fine since we last saw them. But the trip down memory lane did not overshadow the current characters and the end of the series didn’t become all about characters of the past. Also the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to allow the writers to accelerate story lines that had been languishing. How wonderful to see Archie in love! How much sense does it make that Neela would need to go to a new hospital? How great to see Sam getting her life together. They are writing the playbook for how a long running series should say goodbye.

The farewell begins tomorrow night (April 2) at 8 p.m. with a one hour retrospective followed by a two hour episode. We know that Dr. Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield), Dr. Dr. Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes), Dr. Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston), Dr. Peter Benton (Eriq LaSalle) and Mark’s daughter Rachel Greene will be back to celebrate the opening of Carter’s (Noah Wyle) new medical center. Alexis Bledel guest stars and Ernest Borgnine returns. And since you know I love fearless predictions, I’m going to go ahead and say I think we’ll see Doug (George Clooney) and Carol (Julianna Margulies) again. You can get a look at tomorrow’s episode here and here.

Mostly I think the series will end as it began — with the doctors of County General seeing patients. I’ve got my Kleenex ready. Are you prepared for tomorrow night?

Other Goodbyes

"Damages" ends its second season tonight at 10 p.m. on FX. I don’t think Ellen really shot Patty, do you? I kind of think there’s been someone sitting next to Patty this whole time and that's who shot Patty. Remember the FBI agent watching her is corrupt. The thing I’ve really learned is to be patient with the series. I thought it was silly that the FBI agent was talking to his estranged wife all the time and it turns out he wasn’t. I thought William Hurt’s Daniel Purcell wasn’t as complex a villain as the show needed but then it’s revealed that he has a conscious and that he didn’t, in fact, kill his wife. I’m so happy this show has already been picked up for season three. How about you?

"Life on Mars" also comes to an end tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC. While I’m happy we will get some closure, I’m still so sad to see the series go. Especially when it was getting better and better with each passing episode. I’ll miss the funky 70’s soundtrack that was totally reminiscent of actual 70’s TV shows. I’ll miss the burgeoning romance between Sam and Annie. I’ll miss Jason O’Mara’s riveting performance — let’s hope another show snatches him up soon. I’ll miss seeing Michael Imperoli in such a different and distinct role. And I’ll definitely miss Harvey Keitel chewing the scenery with his bravado style. The producers have said we’ll learn what happened to Sam and why he’s in 1973. They’ve also said it won’t be because he’s been in a coma. I think I’m good with any explanation as long as it’s not that he’s delusional. What’s your theory? Talk about it below.

Best News of the Week

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now "Friday Night Lights" was picked up for two additional 13 episode seasons. It’s a great week to get such wonderful news so let’s all pause now for a dance of joy.

A Fun Link

Well I’m thrilled to tell you that I really liked "Southland," the new drama that is going into the "ER" time slot next week. It kind of reminded me of "Boomtown," which is a very good thing. You can get a look at how Ben McKenzie is doing in the new series by clicking here

Where Have I Seen Them Before?

Michelle, Mary and Joe were the first to recognize William Sanderson was Oldham, the man who tortured Sayid on "Lost." I’ll always remember him as Larry on "Newhart." He was also E.B. Farnum on "Deadwood" and Sheriff Bud Dearborne on "True Blood."

Joshua and Elizabeth were the first to be very disappointed that I didn’t recognize Megan Follows, Anne of Green Gables herself, as the woman running Nora’s center on "Brothers & Sisters."

Ginni recognized Bernie Kopell as the owner of the camp ground on "My Name is Earl." He was, of course, Doc on "The Love Boat."

Chelle recognized C. Thomas Howell as the killer on "Criminal Minds" a few weeks ago. I believe you know that Howell, Ponyboy on "The Outsiders," was my first celebrity crush. Howell was also Kimberly’s therapist Barry on "24." I bring all of this up because we’ll see Howell on the premiere of "Southland" next Thursday. Some things that are gold can stay.

Kimberly Elise is Izzie’s oncologist Dr. Swender on "Grey’s Anatomy." She was Maureen on "Close to Home" and Helen in the movie "Diary of a Mad Black Woman."

As many of you figured out, Taye Diggs’ wife Indina Menzel was Lisa, the mom of the boy with allergies that Pete wanted to date on "Private Practice." She’s best known for her work on Broadway in the original productions of "Rent" and "Wicked."

Oliver, Mal and Dennis recognized Mechad Brooks as the man who offered to become a doll at the end of "Dollhouse." Brooks was Matthew Applewhite on "Desperate Housewives" and Jerome on "The Game." He’s also Eggs on "True Blood" and he will be back on that show next season as he was just made a series regular.

Dennis also recognized Josh Cooke as Caroline’s boyfriend on "Dollhouse." Cooke was Danny on "Big Day" and Ben on "Four Kings."

Carrie Preston was the mom who let her 12-year-old daughter have sex on "Private Practice." She’s Arlene Fowler on "True Blood" and played Ben’s mom on "Lost." And, fun fact, she’s married to Michael Emerson, who plays Ben on "Lost." Juliette Googlia was her daughter. She was the murderous child Hannah on "CSI" — the reason Sara finally left the job – and little girl God on "Joan of Arcadia."

D.B. Woodside was the lawyer who went out with Naomi on "Private Practice." He was Wayne Palmer on "24," Principal Wood on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and Henry Higgins on "Once & Again."

Lee Thompson Young was the new surgical intern on "Scrubs." He was Jett Jackson on "The Famous Jett Jackson" and Victor Stone, the superhero Cyborg, on "Smallville."

That’s all for today. I’m back on Friday with quotes of the week and to get a jump start on all that’s happening next week with a review of the new season of "Rescue Me." Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at Talk to you on Friday.

Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal

Posted by:Amy Amatangelo