HOUSE: SEASON THREE - DVD review

House is one of the best shows on television and this DVD set is a recommendation of the highest order.

William D. Lee's picture
William
Lee

British actor Hugh Laurie is probably more known for his work on the British comedy series "Blackadder" and family friendly films such as, "Stuart Little" and "101 Dalmatians." As Dr. Gregory House, Laurie does a complete about face. He is gruff, sarcastic, and sometimes downright nasty. He's got a sense of gallows humor and isn't above making racist or sexist comments. I'm sure House would love being a doctor even more, if all those sick people didn't keep getting in the way. Actually having to deal with patients is the bane of House's existence. Inspired by Sherlock Holmes, House shares the incredible deductive skills of his counterpart, along with his low tolerance for those of less intelligence. Holmes and House also share an addiction to drugs. Holmes had a cocaine habit, while House frequently pops painkillers to cope with the pain of leg.

As head of the diagnostics department, House surrounds himself with a team of specialists that include; Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps), whose by-the-books approach almost always clashes with House's unorthodox techniques; Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer), the son of a well-known doctor and has the most in common with House, even if he doesn't want to admit it; and Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), who is the most optimistic of the group and, perhaps, overly caring to a fault. Rounding out the cast are the hospital's administrator and Dean of Medicine, Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), who has to put up with House's attitude and clean up his messes, and Dr. James Wilson, the Watson to House's Holmes. Wilson is his best friend and one of the only people who can stand being around him.

"House" is much less a medical drama and more a mystery, playing up to the Holmes comparison. Each episode starts with the patient of the week being struck down. The doctors break down the symptoms, investigate their medical history, and begin treatment. Sometimes other seemingly unrelated symptoms pop up, sometimes they're wrong and they make things worse. Like a bolt of lightning, House or one of his team members will have a revelation and they'll figure out exactly what's making the patient sick. While the show sticks to a familiar formula, the show is so smartly written and the characters are so compelling that it never bothers you.

In my review for Season 2, I stated that "House" was, "…damn good television." After viewing Season 3, my opinion hasn't changed in the slightest. It still is damn good television. When last we left House, he was shot by the crazed husband of a former patient. While hallucinating during a coma, House comes across the solution of a Ketamine treatment to restore his leg. As we begin Season 3, House enjoys jogging to work and life without constant pain. His newfound fully active life is fleeting as the pain returns and House finds himself back on Vicodin.

House also meets a new arch-enemy. David Morse plays Detective Tritter, a near mirror version of House himself. Tritter has the same curt, blunt attitude and the same impeccable deductive skills. Unfazed by House's abrasive behavior, Tritter kicks his cane out from under him. In retaliation, House leaves a rectal thermometer in him for several hours. Tritter strikes back in a big way by arresting House for possession of drugs and intent to traffic. Next, he investigates the rest of hospital and freezes their accounts. The storyline is less about the rival between House and Tritter and more about the strain on the relationships between the characters. Tritter is certainly a stronger and more interesting foil for House than Season 1's Edward Vogler. However, the storyline only lasts for the first quarter of the season and resolves far too easily, taking the show back to the status quo. Much more interesting is the introduction of a little inter-office romance between Chase and Cameron. This is in addition to the cheeky flirting by House and Cuddy.

The episodes included are:

-Disc 1-
"Meaning" – House returns better than ever and finds two patients with unique cases waiting for him. First, a yoga student (Clare Kramer) suffers paralysis, but shows no spinal damage, and a nearly comatose invalid who attempted suicide. Kathleen Quinlan plays the man's wife.

"Cane & Able" – House & team treat a boy who believes he's been abducted by aliens and seem to find unlikely evidence that he may have been.

"Informed Consent" – A world-renowned cancer researcher is brought in and refuses all treatments, instead asking the doctors to help end his life.

"Lines in the Sand" – House must treat a severely autistic boy whose lungs have filled with blood.

"Fools for Love" – A young married couple are brought in with similar symptoms as House discovers a shocking secret about them. Meanwhile, House may have met his match in Detective Tritter.

-Disc 2-
"Que Sera Sera" – A morbidly obese man is brought in after falling into a coma and none of his symptoms are tied into his weight.

"Son of a Coma Guy" – In order to cure a patient of his seizures, House must look for answers by resuscitating the man's father (John Larroquette) who has been in a coma for over a decade.

"Whac-a-Mole" – Patrick Fugit guest-stars as an orphan suffering from immune system failure and might refuse life-saving treatment if it means he would lose custody of his two siblings.

"Finding Judas" – Suffering from withdrawal, House must deal with a dying 5-year old girl as her divorced parents constant bickering interferes with treatment.

"Merry Little Christmas" – The holidays are bad for everyone as Tritter puts the squeeze on everyone at the hospital while House goes through the throes of detox.

-Disc 3-
"Words and Deeds" – A firefighter is admitted after cardiac arrest, while House's case finally goes to court.

"One Day, One Room" – No weird cases or mind-wracking diagnoses as Cameron watches over a dying man and a rape victim chooses to confide in House.

"Needle in a Haystack" – Helping a young man with internal bleeding is made all the more difficult by his Romani parents' distrust of outsiders.

"Insensitive" – A teenaged girl is brought in after a car accident, but diagnosis and treatment are complicated when they discover she can feel no pain.

"Half-Wit" – Dave Matthews guest-stars as a musical savant who gained his amazing abilities after a childhood accident. Kurtwood Smith also appears as his father.

-Disc 4-
"Top Secret" – The doctors are skeptical of an ex-marine complaining of Gulf War Syndrome, a non-existent disease.

"Fetal Position" – Cuddy takes a medical case personally when a celebrity photographer's life is risked by her pregnancy.

"Airborne" – House makes like Leslie Nielsen in "Airplane" when an outbreak occurs during a plane ride with Cuddy. Meanwhile, Wilson stands in for House to treat an elderly woman who inexplicably collapsed.

"Act Your Age" – A 6-year old girl suffers a heart attack, stroke, and other ailments of somebody far older than she.

"House Training" - Foreman takes a spotlight when he faces his own crisis while treating a disadvantaged youth.

-Disc 5-
"Family" – House and company must work double time to save a boy and his older brother who is depending upon the other's healthy bone marrow.

"Resignation" – Foreman gets ready to leave the hospital while House is insistent that a woman has an infection despite showing no signs.

"The Jerk" – A chess prodigy, who's a bigger jerk than House, comes in with multiple organ failure, but it doesn't stop him from rubbing everyone the wrong way.

"Human Error" – A Cuban couple risk their lives crossing the ocean to see House.

VIDEO:
The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The picture quality is absolutely superb. The transfer is incredibly clean while the colors are bright and sharp.

AUDIO:
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The high picture quality is matched by the high quality in sound. The dialogue comes in crystal clear and the score & effects are just as good.

EXTRAS:
Disc 1 contains an alternate Angry Valley Girl take with Cameron and Cuddy like, totally cursing and stuff.

Disc 3 contains an audio commentary on "Half-Wit" with show creator & producer David Shore and director Katie Jacobs. It's a fairly standard commentary with the participants discussing the show and telling anecdotes though there are plenty of silent moments.

Disc 5 holds the majority of the extras. Anatomy of an Episode: The Jerk is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the episodes that runs over 20 minutes. We're taking through production meetings and filming as the crew discusses the cinematic qualities of the series.

Soundtrack Session with Band From TV is a brief look at the band formed by Hugh Laurie, Greg Grunberg ("Alias", "Heroes") and other actors. It runs about 7 minutes and features them recording songs for the series soundtrack.

Open House: The Production Office runs just under 4 minutes and features Katie Jacobs giving us a tour of the show's offices and an introduction to the players behind the scenes.

Blood, Needles, and Body Parts: The House Prop Department is another brief featurette that focuses on the props and medical equipment used on the show.

FILM VALUE:
"House" is an amazingly compelling and addictive show. As House joneses for his pain pills, I find myself needing my fix of "House." The beauty of DVD is I can sit down and watch every episode without having to wait a week or sit through commercials. "House" is one of the best shows on television and this DVD set is a recommendation of the highest order.

Ratings

Video
9
Audio
8
Extras
6
Film Value
9