House, M.D.-Season 1 (2004)
Featurette-Casting Sessions With Hugh Laurie
|Year Of Production||2004|
|Running Time||925:58 (Case: 972)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (6)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Universal Pictures Home Video
Robert Sean Leonard
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
TV seems to be having a bit of a love affair with medical related drama of late. It all seems to have started with the C.S.I. franchise and has since spread to a number of forensic and/or medical themed shows. House has been one of the more successful and entertaining of these.
Dr. Gregory House MD is the head of Diagnostic Medicine at a large US teaching hospital. The cases he receives are the unusual, obscure and difficult that other doctors have been unable to resolve. What sets House apart is the character of the man. To say he is surly, rude, arrogant, maverick and anti-social would be to understate his personality. House does not like people, and hates dealing with patients - "Treating illnesses is why we became doctors. Treating patients is what makes most doctors miserable" - and is addicted to pain killers; a legacy of an infarction in his right leg.
House works due mainly to Hugh Laurie's excellent performance in the role. It would be easy to make the House character totally unlikeable and, as such, hold no interest for the viewer. Laurie, however, is able to make the character walk a tightrope where, despite his glaring inadequacies as a human being, you are still able to feel some warmth and affection - even, dare I say, like - Greg House. The sarcasm, gruffness and directness to the point of being rude are part of a much more complicated man than first appears and you find yourself strangely drawn to a character who should be repulsive. This shows a consummate acting skill few can achieve and is a vast departure from Laurie's previous small screen portrayals such as the bumbling fools of the Black Adder series.
As good as Laurie is in this role, one actor alone cannot make a series worth watching - the script and cast must also be solid. Fortunately, House has a strong supporting cast in Omar Epps, Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer, who play his assisting doctors, Lisa Edelstein who plays Dr. Cuddy, the Dean of Medicine with whom House is constantly in conflict due to his outlandish methods and general attitude, and Robert Sean Leonard, who plays Dr James Wilson, the only person who is able to tolerate House socially. A point of interest is Jesse Spencer, who is not only an Australian actor, but whose character is also Australian. It is a shock to find an Australian character in an American series that actually sounds Australian.
The script is also first rate with plenty of wry humour, sarcasm and interesting medical mysteries. A further point of interest is that the cases portrayed are all based on real ailments and obscure diagnoses that have actually occurred, which is a clever source for truth is often stranger than fiction.
Episode 1 - Pilot (42:15)
As is common with a pilot the story is presented as a way for us to be introduced to the characters. An apparently healthy teacher collapses in class with seizures of unknown cause.
Episode 2 - Paternity (41:29)
A teenager suddenly develops double vision and night terrors. House believes it may be genetic and that the boy's father may not be his biological father.
Episode 3 - Occam's Razor (42:20)
A college student collapses while in bed with his girlfriend. House takes on the case when the symptoms do not appear to fit any ailment.
Episode 4 - Maternity (41:42)
A disease is spreading among babies in the hospital's maternity wing and House must make some controversial decisions as he races time to find a cure. He must then trace the source of the infection.
Episode 5 - Damned If You Do (42:12)
When a nun has a critical reaction to a standard treatment for an allergic rash, it becomes apparent that the allergy is more severe than first thought. The problem is - what is causing the allergy?
Episode 6 - The Socratic Method (41:54)
A schizophrenic woman, who is cared for by her young son, is admitted after collapsing at the social security office. House believes the woman may not really be schizophrenic.
Episode 7 - Fidelity (42:08)
A woman patient's symptoms point to a rare African disease, yet neither her nor her husband have been abroad. House decides that the only explanation is infidelity.
Episode 8 - Poison (42:03)
House treats a schoolboy who collapses during an examination. Poisoning is the likely diagnosis, but the type of poison cannot be identified.
Episode 9 - DNR (41:57)
House treats a musician's paralysis without his consent and faces criminal charges when he ignores a Do Not Resuscitate request when the treatment causes respiratory arrest.
Episode 10 - Histories (41:27)
Dr. Wilson urges House to treat a homeless woman who is brought into the hospital after she collapses. House is as interested in Wilson's insistence on helping the woman and Dr. Foreman's reluctance to help as he is in the patient's condition.
Episode 11 - Detox (42:17)
House is confronted by his addiction to pain killers and attempts to go a week without them. His team is concerned that his withdrawal is affecting his judgement and putting a patient's life at risk.
Episode 12 - Sports Medicine (41:23)
A baseball player on the come-back after giving up drugs is admitted with fragile bones and kidney problems. House suspects he is still using steroids.
Episode 13 - Cursed (41:57)
A young boy is struck down by a mystery illness after a séance in which he is told he will die. Is he cursed or is there a more temporal reason for his illness?
Episode 14 - Control (42:26)
A woman who is bulimic requires a heart transplant and House must deal with the ethical question of whether he should hide this fact from the transplant committee to ensure she is put on the transplant list. Meanwhile, House's unorthodox methods and department come under the scrutiny of a new Chairman of the Board.
Episode 15 - Mob Rules (42:27)
A mobster turned state's evidence falls into an unexplained coma and House is under a court order to treat him. House must appease the FBI, the mob and also the new Chairman of the Board who is intent on ridding the hospital of House and his department.
Episode 16 - Heavy (42:18)
A young girl suffering from obesity collapses with a heart attack, but soon develops symptoms that suggest the problem is more complicated than over-eating. The new Chairman is insisting House cut his staff by one and House must decide who to fire.
Episode 17 - Role Model (42:18)
A black Senator who is running for President is admitted following a collapse during a speech. He is reluctant to undergo treatment when he believes that the nature of his ailment will adversely affect his campaign. The Chairman offers House the chance to keep all his staff provided he makes a speech at a conference endorsing a new heart medication that his drug company produces.
Episode 18 - Babies and Bathwater (42:20)
A woman develops pregnancy complications and she and her husband must decide between the baby's life and hers. Following House's unorthodox speech at the conference, the Chairman moves to have the board dismiss House, but first he must dismiss those on the board who support House.
Episode 19 - Kids (42:14)
When a swimming coach collapses with meningitis at a swimming contest, the hospital has to deal with a possible epidemic as all those at the contest need to be checked for symptoms. Amid the chaos of the epidemic containment, House has to find time to treat one of the child swimmers who is suffering from an unknown condition that may be fatal.
Episode 20 - Love Hurts (42:17)
A man has a seizure in the clinic and the hospital is unable to find the cause. The situation gets complicated when they discover he is involved with a dominatrix and enjoys strangulation.
Episode 21 - Three Stories (42:14)
House is instructed to give a lecture to some medical students. In his own unique way he takes them through three cases using false patient names. The lecture draws more than just students when it becomes apparent that one of the cases is actually House.
Episode 22 - Honeymoon (42:20)
House is asked by his former de-facto wife to treat her new husband. House must deal with his own feelings and desires in order to remain objective.
Alas, Region 4 is once again treated as second rate. We are offered only a 1.33:1 transfer while Region 1 gets a 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced transfer.
The error of aspect ratio aside, the transfer is very good overall. Colour is well saturated, there is no low level noise, and in fact there is not much to criticise at all. There is some aliasing occasionally, but not to the point of being distracting. A very good transfer of a TV series.
The only thing to mention is the colour in episode one, which seems washed out. It is a very strange effect that leaves trees a grey colour and the backgrounds washy and almost black and white. I don't think it is a problem with the transfer, however, as establishing shots have good colour saturation. It is almost as if they were playing with desaturated colour for effect and atmosphere for the pilot. It didn't work and I found it annoying. The effect was dropped for all subsequent episodes.
A nicely mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 track is provided. As this is mainly a dialogue-driven drama, most of the work is done by the centre speaker with some positioning to the left and right as needed. The rears are used mainly for background noise and for music, which is mixed well and provides an enveloping ambience that does not draw attention to itself. An extremely good quality audio mix, particularly for a TV show.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static and without audio backing, yet is one of the nicest menus I have seen in some time. Discreet and well designed, it is pleasant to watch, and it doesn't become annoying by playing looped music constantly if you have to leave the TV for a while.
The Concept (4:46)
Executive Producers David Shore, Brian Synger and Katie Jacobs and Hugh Laurie discuss how the format of the series and the character of House were developed.
Casting Sessions with Hugh Laurie (1:23)
A couple of videotaped sessions of Hugh Laurie reading for his part.
Medical Cases (4:23)
David Foster MD, medical consultant and writer for the series, talks about the medicine behind the stories.
Set Tour (5:35)
Jennifer Morrison (Cameron) and Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy) take us on a tour of the House set.
A collection of some of the better lines in House along with comments by the cast on House's sarcasm.
Dr. House (6:33)
Various cast and crew members discuss the character of Dr. Gregory House.
As the extras are the same in both regions, the only difference is down to the aspect ratio, and since Region 1 gets a 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced transfer while we get a 1.33:1 transfer, this makes Region 1 the pick.
This is one of the best series to arrive from the US recently. Good drama with well-written scripts and fine performances, particularly from Hugh Laurie, make this series stand out from the mostly mediocre dramas and second rate reality TV we are all too often served up by the networks. If you haven't met Dr. Gregory House, get hold of these discs and be prepared to be entertained. If you do know House, you will want this series in your collection, although you may want to get hold of the Region 1 version so you can enjoy it in widescreen.
Video is excellent, although only a 1.33:1 transfer.
Audio is excellent.
Plot is excellent.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-1200Y, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-42PV500A 42" HD Plasma. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Richter Wizard fronts, Richter Lynx centre, Richter Hydra rears, Velodyne CT-100 sub-woofer|