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My favorite seasons were seasons 2 and 4 because of MerDer drama. I find their history the most propelling and interesting. Honestly, season 1 was fine but I felt like the first couple episodes of season 1 was like the first day at school (dreadful memories). And season 6 is O.K. but with Meredith taking the break (RL baby, episode - giving liver transplant to father) kind of ruined this season for me. That MerDer drama is what I find to be in the top 3 appeals of the series for me. Although season 2 and 4 were excellent because Meredith and Derek are constantly fighting.
As for Izzie and Alex, I always hated Alex's character. I just don't like his "vibe" I guess. Katherine Heigl is amazing though. And I dislike the whole Iraq PTSD ideology behind Owen's character. I feel like it's overrated because of the negativity brought by the war this past decade.
I hope that April chick goes crazy and puts Derek or Meredith in a life or death situation. I would rather have Meredith the one close to death because Patrick Dempsey did an amazing job performing grief renactment during the "Drowning on Dry Land" 3-part episodes.
Ellen Pompeo better not take another break though or I'm going to be pissed! Swear that ruined a lot of season 6 for me.