House of D [2004]

Genre: Comedy, Drama
House, M.D. - Season One He pops pills, watches soaps, and always, always says what's on his mind. He's Dr. Gregory House (Emmy nominee Hugh Laurie, Blackadder). Producers David Shore, Bryan Singer, Katie Jacobs, and Paul Attanasio haven't rewritten the hospital drama--at heart, it's a cross between St. Elsewhere, ER, and C.S.I.--but they've infused a moribund genre with new life and created one of TV's most compelling characters. More than any previous medical procedural, it resembles Attanasio's underrated Gideon's Crossing, but House is lighter on its feet. As fascinating as he is, the show wouldn't work as well if it were all House all the time (that would be like Sherlock Holmes without Watson or Moriarty). Fortunately, he's joined by an intriguing cast of characters, portrayed by a combination of experienced vets (Omar Epps, Lisa Edelstein, Tony winner Robert Sean Leonard) and new faces (Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer). Aside from the complicated cases they tackle each week, the sparks really fly when House's brilliant, if naïve charges are put to the test--and as the head of a teaching hospital, it's his job to test them (although his tough love approach is constantly landing him in hot water with Edelstein's administrator). From the first episode, House attracted a talented array of guests, including Robin Tunney ("Pilot"), Joe Morton ("Role Model"), and Patrick Bauchau ("Cursed") as Spencer's father. In addition, Chi McBride and Sela Ward appear frequently (with Ward returning for the second season). Viewers who first watched these 22 episodes on Fox will be gratified to note that the music has survived the transition to disc, such as the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," as featured in both the pilot and season finale ("Honeymoon"). The only apparent omission is the credit theme (Massive Attack's "Teardrop") from the pilot. --Kathleen C. Fennessy House, M.D. - Season Two The overall strength of the second season of House, M.D. proves that its first-year success wasn't a fluke. This season starts with Dr. House (Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie) pursuing his ex-wife Stacy (Sela Ward) and ending with a tragedy that could potentially be deadly for himself and two colleagues. The premise of each show follows a set routine--a patient is brought in with unusual symptoms; House challenges his trio of underlings to diagnose the problem; they treat the patient, usually incorrectly the first few tries; and then at the very last minute--through a revelation that often has little to do with the patient--House figures out what's wrong and saves the day. It would be easy for this set up to grow old fast. But because of the smart writing, nuanced acting, and believability of the characters (who're often dealing with unbelievable scenarios), the formula works on each of the 24 episodes that aired on Fox during the 2005-2006 season. Viewers have been conditioned by the Marcus Welbys of the TV world to think of doctors as saviors. Even on ER, the most narcissistic physician was selfless at heart. But House is a different breed. When he's at an off-track betting parlor and a woman collapses, he doesn't miss a beat. Still eying his race on television, he asks, "Is anybody here a doctor?" He'll mock a sick patient's complaints with a sarcastic, "Boo hoo!" And, if there happens to be a dead body around, he has no qualms about shooting it if he believes that could help diagnose another gun-shot victim. Not that he's any more reasonable or compassionate to his boss Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), his oncologist best friend Wilson (Tony winner Robert Sean Leonard), or his young charges Foreman (Omar Epps), Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), and Chase (Jesse Spencer). He instructs his doctors to break into patients' homes as if they're cat burglars. He does not know the meaning of the phrase "politically correct." But because he spits out insults (as if he has a mild case of Tourette's) equally to both his patients and colleagues, the latter never flinch at his constant stream of inappropriateness. When his three young doctors storm into his office to report the declining condition of a patient by blurting out, "We have rectal bleeding," House says, "What? All three of you?" To sensitive Wilson, who is trying to get some work done without being interrupted, House says, "I know you're in there. I can hear you caring." And when Foreman's father says, "My son says you're a manipulative bastard," House replies, "It's a pet name. I call him Dr. Bling." Of course House actually does care about his patients, but he views a good bedside manner as the luxury of a doctor who has a healthy patient. But dying patients with seemingly incurable diseases need something more. They need House. --Jae-Ha Kim House, M.D. - Season Three The cantankerous and brilliant Dr. House (Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie) is back for a third season of the hit drama House, which picks up with his being shot at the end of season two and ends with his staff dramatically refusing to put up with his oddball (and borderline abusive) demands. Each of the 24 episodes, which aired on FOX from 2006 to 2007, is included in this 5-disc set. Fans of the drama will be happy to hear that the formula remains the same: Each show begins with a medical dilemma that's so severe and life-threatening that only Dr. House can diagnose and fix the problem, even if it goes against conventional medical rules. His put-upon boss Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) is back, as are his young charges Foreman (Omar Epps), Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), and Chase (Jesse Spencer). Oncologist Wilson (Tony winner Robert Sean Leonard), who is House's best friend by default, also returns to support (and infuriate) the cranky doctor. Speaking of cranky, House's difficult nature proves to bite him in the rear. In a six-episode arc, the Vicodin-popping House meets his match after he antagonizes the wrong patient, police officer Michael Twitter (David Morse, who played a compassionate physician on St. Elsewhere). Hell hath no fury like a patient poked and prodded like a guinea pig, and Twitter makes it his business to make House's life miserable. But since the show is called House, viewers are safe in assuming that House will not be rotting his life away in a jail cell. After all, the excitement of the show is driven by his unorthodox treatment of patients. As Cuddy succinctly points out, "You just keep on going until you come up with something so insane it's usually right." Look for a slew of excellent guest stars (rocker Dave Matthews, Charles S. Dutton, Piper Perabo, John Larroquette) to help stir things up. The episodes are as compelling as ever, focusing on a morbidly obese patient in denial, an autistic child, and a comatose man that House insists on "waking" up. The bonus materials include Morrison and Edelstein doing scenes in Valley Girl-speak and a featurette on Laurie's all-star charity group called Band from TV (Laurie plays piano). --Jae-Ha Kim

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