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HOUSE, M.D. is most assuredly one of the most compelling new television series of the 2004-2005 television season. Part medical drama, part mystery, the weekly series has a team of doctors piecing together the symptomatic clues to uncover and diagnose the unknown ailment threatening the lives of patients on a weekly basis. One can almost think of HOUSE, M.D. of a CSI styled medical procedural for the living.

HOUSE, M.D. stars Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, a brilliant diagnostician, with a complete lack of social skills, not to mention an absent bedside manner, who has little or no use for patients, other than the intellectual challenge that curing their illnesses brings. The cast of HOUSE, M.D. also features Lisa Edelstein as hospital administrator Dr. Lisa Cuddy, Robert Sean Leonard as our title character’s colleague and friend Dr. James Wilson. Additionally, one will find Omar Epps as Dr. Eric Foreman, Jennifer Morrison as Dr. Allison Cameron and Jesse Spencer as Dr. Robert Chase- the three members of Dr. House’s diagnostic team.

HOUSE, M.D.: SEASON ONE ($60) comes to DVD in a double-sided three-disc set that features all twenty-two episodes that were aired in the series first year. The twenty-two featured episodes are as follows: Pilot, Paternity, Occam's Razor, Maternity, Damned If You Do, The Socratic Method, Fidelity, Poison, DNR, Histories, Detox, Sports Medicine, Cursed, Control, Mob Rules, Heavy, Role Model, Babies & Bathwater, Kids, Love Hurts, Three Stories, The Honeymoon.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made all twenty-two episodes that comprise HOUSE, M.D.: SEASON ONE available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation, which sadly lacks the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. This is a fairly major mistake on the part of Universal, whether intentional or unintentional and will make many question whether or not they should purchase this DVD collection. In this day and age, every new television series designed for broadcast in widescreen hi def should be released on standard DVD with the 16:9 display enhancement. Because the presentations are unenhanced the picture quality is something of a disappointment, especially when viewed on a large widescreen monitor, as one is forced to zoom the image to get the picture in acceptable proportions. Zooming the image makes the image appear softer, as well as making digital artifacts far more noticeable, particularly on displays above 50 inches. However, on a typical 4:3 displays, the Letterbox picture quality is certainly fine. Colors are accurate and have a natural appearance. Blacks are pure, the whites stable and contrast remains pretty much at the television level.

All the episodes that encompass HOUSE, M.D.: SEASON ONE come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. Sound quality for a talky medical drama is very good, with nice channel separations and well-integrated ambient sounds. Fidelity is solid, and the music maintains a good sense of presence. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. No other language tracks are provided, but English and Spanish subtitles have been included.

The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode/scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras, which are contained on the "B" side of disc three. The Concept is a four-minute program that looks at the series inception. Casting Sessions With Hugh Laurie offers a glimpse of the actor’s audition. Medical Cases clocks in at nearly five minutes and examines where the writers come up with the disease of the week. Set Tour is a rather self-explanatory five minutes. House-isms is a four minute retrospective on the central character’s sarcastic sense of humor an how it works within the context of the show. Finally, the six minute Dr. House looks at both the character and the actor who portrays him.

I really think HOUSE, M.D. is one of the best new series of the 2004-2005 television season. Unfortunately, the DVD release sells the series somewhat short, as the episodes are widescreen, yet not enhanced for 16:9 displays. HOUSE, M.D.- the television series certainly gets a high recommendation. As for the DVDs… Well, I’ll just leave that to the judgment of the individual, as they will have to determine, upon what type of display they’ll ultimately be watching HOUSE, M.D.: SEASON ONE.



House, M.D. - Season One



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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