House - Season One is one of those shows that my mother bugs me endlessly about. She just can’t stop talking about it and furthermore she keeps mentioning the show’s star Hugh Laurie who plays the title role of Dr. Gregory House. So when I was given this DVD set to review, I went into it with a bit of hesitation. After all the build up, how could I not, right?
Well, imagine knowing someone who is a complete and utter sarcastic, a-hole. Okay, simple enough, right? Now, imagine that they are your doctor. You wouldn’t want this person treating you but then add this into the mix. Despite all of his rudeness, innuendoes and complete ambivalence to the thought of a bedside manner, he also happens to be brilliant and one of the best doctors (if not the best) in the entire hospital. I found this show to be so interesting and well done, but it really is Hugh Laurie who is this shows beacon. He has completely embodied this character, so much to the point that when you hear him speak on the extras, you are going to be surprised to hear that he isn’t even American.
Laurie’s portrayal of this sarcastic M.D. is done in such way that we like him. He isn’t stuck-up so much as he just doesn’t care. He has things he wants to do, things he needs to do and he’s just trying to get through the day by minimizing the amount of stupidity he has to deal with. This is something that strikes a chord in all of us and I think that’s why this show has become so popular.
Dr. House, Medical Cases and The Concept
These three tiny featurettes basically scratch the surface of this show. “Dr. House” focuses quite heavily on the main character of the show. From how he was cast, to Laurie’s and the other actors take on this acerbic leading man. “Medical Cases” shows us a bit about the subject matter that goes into this show, and it’s really interesting to find out where they come up with the medical dilemma's that drive the narrative. “The Concept” looks at the show overall. This piece generically tells us why the show was created and how it came to be a living breathing entity.
Set Tour, HOUSE-isms and a Casting Session with Hugh Laurie
The “Set Tour” is given to us by Jennifer Morrison (who plays Dr. Cameron) and some other members of the cast. While nothing really groundbreaking, I was impressed that they really take us through the sets describing what happens. It wasn’t given some cursory look but rather went a little deeper which was cool. “HOUSE-isms” are basically clips from Dr. House’s funnier moments on the show. The “Casting Session” piece is Hugh Laurie giving a less refined performance of the Doctor he plays so well on TV. You can’t really fault him as I don’t think he had been cast yet, so he really hadn’t developed the character fully.
Widescreen - 1.78:1. I love that this is not a show (even though it is in widescreen and has “that” look), that moves slowly. I also love that the show is dialogue driven and that in a lot of instances this is the action. Sure, there are the medical problems that keep things moving (this is a medical drama after all), but the dialogue is something that is so refreshing. Usually, it takes a show the first season to sort of find it’s groove and work out the bumps. If my screening of House - Season One is any indication, this show seems to be charmed in all the right ways. It’s look, while solidly composed, still retains a freewheeling nature that infuses it with drama even if it’s just two people sitting in a room talking.
English Dolby Digital 5.1. Captioned in English and Subtitled in Spanish. As I mentioned above, this show is heavily dependent on dialogue. A lot of that is the show’s action, and as a result the audio has got to be pretty darn good. Thankfully it is. Yeah, this show looks and sounds like pretty much every drama on TV, but the subject matter, and the things that Dr. House typical. At the end of the day, I don’t think the audio will be anything that people haven’t experienced before, but I had no problem hearing anything that went on and when you consider that I am deaf in one ear, and this show does have a lot of shotgun dialogue, that is saying something.
Dr. House sits in what looks like purplish/blue hospital waiting room holding a cane. There are some pictures of other cast members but it is pretty apparent that Hugh Laurie is this shows main focus. The back features some more shots from different episodes, a description of the show, an extras listing (which is printed on a medical ID tag) and a minimal listing of technical specs. Inside, all 3 discs are housed in separate trays and there are more pictures of the cast inside as well. There are listings of the episodes but sadly no descriptions. Overall, a pretty economical and well done bit of packaging.
This is one of those shows that seems big, yet is still slightly under the radar. Sort of like “Arrested Development” yet House doesn’t have the “cult of cool” around it that the latter show seems to. I am actually quite surprised that this show has lived up to all the hype. I guess the fact that it was produced by Bryan Singer made me not want to like it as much. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Singer’s, but this guy seems to have the midas touch, and I suppose that that kind of gets old after awhile.
House - Season One has really hedged it bets by giving it’s viewers a very intriguing central character, with a cast rounded out by solid actors such as Omar Epps and Robert Sean Leonard. It will be interesting to see what happens in future seasons, and I hope that they delve a bit more into Gregory House’s life outside the hospital.
Lord only knows, what that is going to be like.