Created by Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy became a television phenomenon after its premiere on ABC in 2005. As the 19th season of the show recently wrapped up and arrived on Netflix, it reminded me how glorious the first four seasons were, closely followed by the fifth and sixth seasons.
The original cast was inclusive (a remarkable feat for TV in the early noughties) thanks to Rhimes. And featured Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, T. R. Knight, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr., Patrick Dempsey, and Isaiah Washington.
The first six seasons revolved around the OG, Meredith Grey, Alex Karev, George O’Malley, Izzie Stevens, and the iconic Cristina Yang—nicknamed by fans as the MAGIC team. The key reasons why the first six seasons of Grey’s Anatomy were the best lies in the ensemble cast and their exceptional character development. Each character brought a unique personality and perspective to the show, making them relatable and endearing. Not to mention that these seasons were the most fun and had the wittiest dialogues.
“Pick me. Choose me. Love me,” may have been the most cringe way a titular character proposed to the love of their lives, but it was 2005, and even then, Meredith was aware of how woefully needy she sounded after her adrenaline had drained away.
When Cristina said, “You’re my person,” to Meredith, it redefined IRL friendships around the world. Having a best friend, a boyfriend, or even a husband/wife suddenly sounded dim in front of having someone you could rely on as your ultimate person, your North Star, a twisted sister for life.
But the MAGIC gang wasn’t all that was good about the show. Bailey, portrayed by Chandra Wilson, was the epitome of cool. Her no-nonsense attitude and unwavering dedication to her job made her an instant hit. Bailey’s tough love approach combined with her undeniable compassion created a multidimensional character that was both feared and respected. While Wilson remains on the show, Bailey was in her truest element through the first few seasons of the show.
The first six seasons of Grey’s Anatomy had some of the most mind-blowing plot twists and storylines. From bomb threats to ferry accidents, the show kept viewers on the edge of their seats with its intensely dramatic and unpredictable narratives. These seasons struck a perfect balance between medical cases and the characters’ personal lives, creating a seamless blend of drama and emotion.
Season five introduced several new characters to the Grey’s universe. Some notable additions included Owen Hunt, portrayed by Kevin McKidd, and Arizona Robbins, played by Jessica Capshaw. These characters brought fresh dynamics and storylines to the show, adding new layers to the existing relationships. And they worked wonderfully for a while. Season six had one of the most chilling stories on an active shooter in the two-part finale ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Death and All His Friends’, becoming one of the first shows on TV to highlight the terror caused by gun violence in America.
Several characters died in this finale. But then, even more characters got added in the next season, which continued until it became too convoluted for me to follow.
The twists and turns began to veer into more outrageous territory as the show progressed beyond the first four (OK, at the stretch first six) seasons. While some fans appreciated the heightened shenanigans, the show had lost its charm for me. Of course, I still stuck around till Sandra Oh made her exit in season ten.
On a show where some of the worst tragedies have hit characters, Oh’s Cristina got to make one of the most dignified departures. She even hit Meredith (and all of us) with one last epic line before bowing out, “Don’t let what he (Derek) wants eclipse what you need. He’s very dreamy, but he’s not the sun. You are.” Goosebumps!