..

HOUSE
Season One

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer
Creator: David Shore
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen 1.78:1
Studio: Universal
Features: See Review
Length: 972 Minutes
Release Date: August 30, 2005

“Your reputation won’t last if you don’t do your job. The clinic is part of your job. I want you to do your job.”

“But, as the philosopher Jagger once said, 'You can’t always get what you want.'

Shows ***1/2

Network TV seems to get a new medical drama once every decade. First, there was the 80s series, St. Elsewhere, then the 90s garnered the most successful series of its kind, ER. Now arrives the most superb and fascinating medical drama to, I think, ever grace the small screen. House is something of an original.

The center appeal of the show is the outstanding lead character, Dr. Gregory House, played with sheer brilliance by British actor Hugh Laurie, which I point out only because one would never take hint of it from the character’s dead on American dialect. Dr. House is probably one of the best and most original characters I’ve ever seen, not just for a television series but in any art form. In addition, the episode plots and supporting characters of House make it one of the best new shows to come around in some time.

How do I begin to describe Dr. House? I have to commend series creator and executive producer David Shore for creating the kind of character you’d never come to expect in the medical field. As where George Clooney’s Dr. Ross on E.R. was very much a heroic, save-as-many-lives-as-possible doctor, Dr. House falls under a different label.

Dr. House is, perhaps, the most brilliant diagnostician that the field of infections diseases has to offer. He heads up a staff of bright and young doctors at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. His young diagnostic team includes neurologist Eric Forman (Omar Epps), immunologist Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) and intensivist Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer). Another key character is Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), who seems to be the only one willing to tolerate House’s erratic behavior.

The twist with House himself is that he also happens to be the most anti-social doctor in the history of medicine. He despises talking to patients, would rather read a comic book than tend to the complaints of both his staff and patients. He strongly feels that he is being employed against his will by his boss, Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein).

The series itself blends intense medical drama with a touch of C.S.I. Each episode presents a different and quite nasty infectious disease plaguing an unlucky victim. House and his team race against the clock to diagnose the mysterious illness and save the victim before death arrives. And let me tell you that there are some intense close calls throughout Season One.

Another invigorating element in this series are the mysteries unraveled as Dr. House and his team discover the reasons for each infectious illness. House never hesitates to question a patient’s suspicious history or even if a loved one was unfaithful, etc. If any type of information will help in fighting a disease, House will see to it that all questions will get the right answers.

It’s a good thing that the Fox show, co-produced by X-Men director Bryan Singer, quickly became one of the highest rated shows of last year’s fall TV season. I got a tremendous kick out of this bold new take on the medical drama, and I look forward to many future seasons to come.

Video ***

Universal offers a rare, non-anamorphic touch to this widescreen presentation of the series. The image itself is actually decent, in spite of the lack of enhancement. Each disc are flippers, containing about six episodes per disc, and the picture quality on each disc renders terrifically clearness and excels in image detail and colors. A most exceptional presentation of a TV series.

Audio ****

The 5.1 mix is, without question, one of the all time best audio formats I’ve experienced for a single television series. Each episode carries many different elements for the sound format to take advantage of. Music playback, most notably the show’s theme song, Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”, is marvelously delivered through the channels. In addition, dialogue delivery is as clean and clear as can be, and the hospital setting itself allows for some nice all around dynamic sound. A wonderful presentation!

Features ***

Included on this three disc set, which is a very nicely packaged set, are a number of featurettes, including “Dr. House”, “Medical Cases”, “The Concept”, “Set Tour”, “HOUSE-isms”, and a very intriguing casting session with Hugh Laurie.

Summary:

House is a medical drama miracle. A terrific ensemble cast, led by the outstanding Hugh Laurie, and the explosive medical mysteries help make this not only one of the best shows on television, but very much the best medical drama to date. Make an appointment with this show right now.

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com