September 15, 2006

DVD Review: House - Season Two

Is House the best medical drama ever? I believe it is too early to tell. However, the strength of the first two seasons go a long to potentially make that possibility a reality. Building off of a strong debut season, Hugh Laurie leads the cast into season two and beyond.

Season two is even better than the first. House is one of the most intriguing characters on television today. Actor Hugh Laurie brings so much to the role. House is a guy that you don't want to like but he is the doctor that you want working on your case if you have something weird going on. He is sarcastic, crass, and completely without subtlety, his bedside manner is non-existent. House removes the human element from the equation, he strips away anything that can get in the way of his diagnosis.

This season confronts Gregory House with a variety of bizarre maladies and medical mysteries, but they are folded into a show that is becoming deeper and broader than just a mystery of the week. His interactions with his team, the patients and families, and those who have him as a friend give this show so much more than you would suspect at first. There were points during the first season where the series threatened to become a mystery of the week, much like Smallville's tendency for super-powered bad guy of the week. Fortunately, the latter half of the season, and straight on through the second, that never happens. Sure there are crazy sicknesses, the show needs them, but there are elements that dig into House and expose him to the world, nerve endings and all. His team each have developed their own personalities and they all clash, with House and each other.

There are a few standout episodes throughtout the season. They got off to a fast start with "Acceptance," which features guest star LL Cool J as a death row inmate who intrigues House more than a a woman who may have cancer and doesn't already have a death sentence. Then there is the two parter, "Euphoria." This deals with a police officer who gets laughing fits caused by some unknown illness, whivh quickly kills him, but not before infecting Eric Foreman. This is a strong pair of episodes that bring out conflicts between House and Cuddy, and between Foreman and Cameron. The season ends with what may be its strongest episode yet, "No Reason." The finale kicks off with House being shot by a former patient, and ends with him questioning his medical ability against his long term happiness.

Audio/Video. They are very good. The colors are strong, dialogue well represented. Nothing to complain about. The video is in anamorphic widescreen in a ratio of 1.78:1.

Extras. Much like season one, I would have liked some more. We get two commentaries, on the episodes "Autopsy" and "No Reason," both of which are good tracks, just would have liked more of them. There is a brief gag real, and alternate takes, featuring the dialogue in Valley Speak. Plus a reference to just how often Lupus is mentioned. Finally, there is a Q&A panel discussion which is actually pretty good.

Bottomline. House is a good reason to turn on your television each week. Crazy cases, sardonic wit, and even a pun or two pepper each episode. There is a wonderful blend of high drama and dry humor to carry the series through. I look forward to what they will give us next.

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