The season's reviews and critiques were generally positive, and the series received several awards and nominations for the cast and crew. The first five episodes of the second season were conceived, written and shot to air as the final five episodes of the first season, but aired during the 2005-2006 season due to the high number of viewers that watched "Who's Zoomin' Who?", the season's highest-rated episode with 22.22 million viewers tuning in.
The series was created by Shonda Rhimes and was aired on the ABC Network in the U.S. The season was produced by Touchstone Television, currently ABC Studios, The Mark Gordon Company, Shondaland and was distributed by Buena Vista International, Inc. The season's executive producers were Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Mark Gordon, James D. Parriott, Krista Vernoff, Rob Corn and Mark Wilding. The staff writers were Rhimes, Parriott, Ann Hamilton, Vernoff, Kip Koenig, Mimi Schmir, Gabrielle Stanton and Harry Werksman, Jr. The directors throughout the season were Peter Horton, Tony Goldwyn, Adam Davidson, John David Coles, Scott Brazil, Darnell Martin, Sarah Pia Anderson and Wendey Stanzler. Rhimes served as the season's show runner. She and Horton, who wrote and directed the first two episodes respectively, would also have written and directed the season's final two episodes, had they not been transferred into the second season.
The show was announced in late 2004 as a mid-season replacement for Boston Legal. It was originally scheduled to run in the Boston Legal slot for just four weeks, but after reveiving high ratings remained in the time slot for the remainder of the season. ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson commented on the scheduling decision: "Ultimately we decided that, without having adequate lead time or marketing dollars to devote to moving either showso late in the season, we'd continue to let Grey's build on its tremendous momentum through May." Prior to broadcast, it was announced that the show's title would change from Grey's Anatomy to Complications, although ultimately this did not come to pass. Francie Calfo, executive vice president for development at ABC Entertainment, commented on the show's conception: "I think there was a need for this kind of show on our air, specifically a medical show. And Shonda found a twist on it that made it perfect for where we're at right now. Medical shows are hard, and it was hard trying to figure out where ours could be different. But where everybody else is speeding up their medical shows, she found a way to slow it down, so you get to know the characters. There's definitely a strong female appeal to it." Rhimes explained that she had found the idea of a show about smart women competing against one another an interesting one.
Nine actors had star billing in the show's first season. Series creator Shonda Rhimes wanted a diverse cast, and so created characters without pre-specified races. Determined not to have a show in which "all the extras are white, except the lone janitor", she has created what the New York Times have called "one of the most colourful backgrounds in television". Rhimes used a "blind-casting" technique, which resulted in several roles going to actors of different racial backgrounds that first envisioned. Isaiah Washington, eventually cast as Preston Burke, was originally considered for the role of Derek Shepherd, while Burke was initially to be played by a white actor who dropped out at the last moment. Chandra Wilson was cast in the role of Miranda Bailey, who Rhimes had imiagined as a blonde until auditioning Wilson. The Campus have observed that the Grey's Anatomy cast is actually more diverse than the city it emulates, noting that Seattle is actually 70% Caucasian.
The nine characters who appear as series regulars in the first season all work in the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. Five of the characters are interns: Meredith Grey portrayed by Ellen Pompeo, who is in a romantic relationship with her attending Derek Shepherd, and is the daughter of the renowned surgeon Ellis Grey, who now suffers from Alzheimer's; Cristina Yang portrayed by Sandra Oh, an extremely competitive intern who befriends Meredith and begins a sexual relationship with Preston Burke; Izzie Stevens portrayed by Katherine Heigl, an ex model who struggles to be recognised as a doctor; Alex Karev portrayed by Justin Chambers, an arrogant intern who initially irritates his colleagues, and George O'Malley portrayed by T.R. Knight, an insecure intern with a lack of confidence, who develops a crush on Meredith. The interns are mentored by their resident Miranda Bailey portrayed by Chandra Wilson, a disciplined woman who is nicknamed "The Nazi". The surgical program is led by the Chief of Surgery Dr. Richard Webber portrayed by James Pickens, Jr. In his employ are Preston Burke and Derek Shepherd from New York portrayed by Isaiah Washington and Patrick Dempsey respectively. Guest stars include Meredith's mother Ellis, portrayed by Kate Burton, nurse Olivia Harper, portrayed by Sarah Utterback, who serves as a love interest for George and Alex, and Derek's estranged wife Addison Montgomery, played by Kate Walsh.
The first season's ratings were consistently high, ranking first in its timeslot and leading its closest competition by 7.2 million viewers. It delivered ABC's best audience retention following Desperate Housewives, was the highest rated show amongst 18-49 year olds in 13 years since The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and produced ABC's strongest series performance in the hour in more than four years. Commenting on the first season's high ratings, Magna Global USA media analyst Steve Sternberg stated: "Roughly 80 per cent of households during primetime only have one TV set on. People are looking for shows they can watch with other household members. And just as Desperate Housewives reaches a broad audience, younger, older, male, female, so does Grey's Anatomy." The season finale was watched by 22.22 million viewers, and was ranked the ninth in viewership.
In regard to the first season, Walter Chaw from Film Freak Central said the show was "so odious, so repugnant, that it's impossible not to have predicted its newly-minted role as the most popular program in the land." The Washington Post's Tom shales was critical of the early series, finding it reminiscent of ER and commenting that: "The show is much more a matter of commercial calculation than an honest attempt to try something fresh and different". He called Rhimes' script for the pilot episode "nothing but a casserole made of equal parts ham and corn", writing that overall: "It's a new show only in the sense that Dr. Frankenstein's mother was a new man." Kate Aurthor for The New York Times deemed the show a hybrid of Ally McBeal, Sex and the City and ER, writing of the news that it had become the highest-rated midseason drama in 12 years that: "When you parse its ratings, Grey's Anatomy underscores one of the real lessons of the current season, men will watch shows with a female lead. That goes against conventional wisdom, which dictates that it's easier to get women to watch shows aimed at men." Review Stream gave positive reviews regarding the pilot episode, "A Hard Day's Night", due to the undeniable chemistry between Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey from the series' first scene. Regarding Miranda Bailey's appearance in the pilot, ReviewStream.com states "She's such a small woman but wait until she speaks." HomeTheaterInfo.com, however, had a mixed perspectives on the pilot, noting that the storylines were similar to fellow ABC series Desperate Housewives, but also "brilliantly written, extremely well acted and directed to near perfection". New York Daily News named Grey's Anatomy a "winner" in response to its first season, whereas Newsday expressed a positive opinion by stating "You simply can't stop watching."
Sandra Oh won Best Supporting Actress- Series, Miniseries or Television Film at the 63rd Golden Globe Awards and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series at the 12th Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2005, for her portrayal of Cristina Yang during Grey's Anatomy's first season. The season also resulted in a number of awards nominations: At the 2005 Directors Guild of America Awards, Peter Horton received a nomination for the Best Directing in a Drama Series, for his work on "A Hard Day's Night". He was nominated for the same award and episode at the 57th Primetime Emmy Awards, which also saw Grey's Anatomy nominated for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, and Oh was nominated Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Patrick Dempsey was nominated for Best Actor- Television Series Drama at the 63rd Golden Globe Awards, where the show was also nominated Best Television Series- Drama. The Producers Guild of America Awards in 2005 saw the season again nominated for Best Producer in a Drama Series, while that year's Satellite Awards saw the show nominated for Best Television Series- Drama, and Oh nominated for Best Supporting Actress- Series, Miniseries or Television Film. Dempsey was nominated for the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series at the 12th Screen Actors Guild Awards, where the whole cast were also nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Meredith Grey, the daughter of the once-renowned surgeon Ellis Grey, becomes an intern at the Seattle Grace Hospital. She meets fellow interns Cristina Yang, Isobel "Izzie" Stevens, George O'Malley and Alex Karev who become her closest friends during the intern program. She finds herself working with renowned surgeons such as the heart surgeon Preston Burke and Richard Webber the Chief of Surgery and old friend of her mother. She finds herself working under her one night stand and famous neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd and working with her resident Dr. Miranda Bailey also known as The Nazi.
The season chronicles the first few months of the internship program and the day-to-day life of a surgical intern.
- Meredith's battle to keep her mother's Alzheimer's disease a secret.
- The attraction of Meredith to Derek Shepherd.
- George's infactuation with Meredith.
- Izzie dealing with the criticism of being a former model.
- Cristina's relationship with Burke and her miscarriage.
- A power struggle between Dr. Burke and Dr. Shepherd in the hospital.
The season's end introduces Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd, Derek's estranged wife, although for other areas where the season was aired, Meredith waiting (Season 2, Episode 5) was the season finale instead.
- Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey
- Sandra Oh as Dr. Cristina Yang
- Katherine Heigl as Dr. Izzie Stevens
- Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex Karev
- T.R. Knight as Dr. George O'Malley
- Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey
- James Pickens, Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber
- Isaiah Washington as Preston Burke
- Patrick Dempsey as Dr. Derek Shepherd
|No.||Title||Directed By||Written By||Original Air Date||U.S. Viewers (Millions)|
|1||"A Hard Day's Night"||Peter Horton||Shonda Rhimes||March 27, 2005||16.25|
|Meredith Grey enrolls in the surgical residency program at Seattle Grace Hospital, where she will spend the next 7 years. Hours into the program, Meredith discovers that a stranger she had a one-night stand with is her new boss, Derek Shepherd. Preston Burke, a cardiothoracic surgeon in the hospital begins to question his abilities, and decides to choose George O'Malley to perform the first operation, which earns him the nickname 007.|
|2||"The First Cut Is the Deepest"||Peter Horton||Shonda Rhimes||April 3, 2005||17.71|
|Meredith looks for roommates to share her mother's house with, while tending to a rape victim and discovering an ailment with a newborn baby. Izzie Stevens helps out a Chinese woman whose daughter is in need, and Shepherd and Burke quarrel over the Chief of Surgery position.|
|3||"Winning a Battle, Losing the War"||Tony Goldwyn||Shonda Rhimes||April 10,2005|
|Competition between the interns ensues after an annual unauthorised bike race causes many injuries. Izzie has trouble locating the family of a near brain-dead man, and Cristina Yang is excited when the patient's family agrees to harvest his organs if he dies, leading Miranda Bailey to lecture her on bedside manner. A patient who is a friend of Dr. Richard Webber flirts with George.|
|4||"No Man's Land"||Adam Davidson||James D. Parriott||April 17, 2005||19.18|
|When a retired nurse at Seattle Grace is admitted, Cristina takes on her case and befriends her. A patient who recognises Izzie from a modelling photo does not want her to treat him. Meredith and Shepherd treat a constuction worker who surprisingly survived his injuries, but have bad news for his wife about his future. Alex Karev humiliates Izzie infront of everyone.|
|5||"Shake Your Groove Thing"||John David Coles||Ann Hamilton||April 24, 2005||17.90|
|Izzie plans a party for her old boyfriend, while Meredith believes she may be in trouble when something goes wrong during a procedure. At the party, Bailey spots Shepherd and Meredith together. Cristina and Burke have sex in an on-call room.|
|6||"If Tomorrow Never Comes"||Scott Brazil||Krista Vernoff||May 1, 2005||17.88|
|When Shepherd picks Meredith to assist in surgery on a patient with Parkinson's disease, Bailey thinks he is showing favouritism and is tough on Meredith. Alex befriends a patient who has a very large tumour, but when he talks about her behind her back, she requests he be removed from her case.|
|7||"The Self-Destruct Button"||Darnell Martin||Kip Koenig||May 8, 2005||18.86|
|Derek spends the night at Meredith's, which they try to keep secret from her other roommates. George suspects an anaesthesiologist of drinking before majoy surgeries but is scolded when he does speak up. Alex treats a man who enjoys being in pain, and Cristina catches the flu.|
|8||"Save Me"||Sarah Pia Anderson||Mimi Schmir||May 15, 2005||18.33|
|Alex treats a teenage Orthodox Jew who refuses surgery when she learns the treatment goes against her beliefs. Cristina has trouble relating to a pregnant woman who has terminal cancer and refuses to abort the baby, turning to Meredith for advice. Izzie is mesmerised by a patient who has psychic abilities, and is diagnosed with AVM.|
|9||"Who's Zoomin' Who?"||Wendey Stanzler||Gabrielle Stanton and Harry Werksman, Jr.||May 22, 2005||22.22|
|When a number of interns, including George, are diagnosed with STDs, Dr. Webber calls an emergency meeting. Izzie and Cristina want to perform an unauthorised autopsy against the family's wishes. Meredith is shocked when someone from Derek's past arrives at Seattle Grace.|
Home Video ReleaseEdit
Grey's Anatomy: Season One was released as a widescreen two-disc Region 1 DVD box set in the USA on February 14, 2006. It was distributed by Buena Vista. In addition to all the episodes that had aired, it included an alternate title sequence, audio commentaries, an extended pilot episode and a making-of featurette. The same set was released on October 11, 2006 in Region 2, featuring the planned fourteen episodes over three discs.
The first season was officially released on DVD in Region 1 on February 14, 2006, during the show's second season. Under the title Grey's Anatomy: Season One, the box set consists of episodes with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundand widescreen format. It also contained extras available only on DVD, including extended episodes, footage from behind the scenes, audio commentaries and unaired scenes cut from the aired episodes. The same set was released in Region 4 on April 26, 2006, almost three months after its original release in the United states, whereas its release date in Region 4 was October 11, 2006. The UK set contained the original fourteen episodes, being released as a three-disc box set. The season has not been released on Blu-ray disc in any region. The DVD box set is currently no. 899 in Movies and TV on Amazon.com and no.3452 in Film and TV on Amazon.co.uk.
|Grey's Anatomy: Season One|
|Set Details||Special Features|
|United States||Canada||United Kingdom||Australia|
|February 14, 2006||October 11, 2006||April 26, 2006|