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There aren’t many television series that I actually like to keep up with on a weekly basis. Never quite got into Lost. Dexter seems like my type of show, but just never got around to watching it. Could have cared less about ever seeing a single episode of Sex And The City. But there was a television series that I caught an episode of it in the middle of its second season. The entire first series had passed me by and not a single character was known to me. None of them even looked familiar as actors except for Omar Epps and that was only because of my love for The Program. Still it caught my attention and here I am three years later and very impatiently awaiting the fifth season of House and biding my time by reviewing season four.
Gregory House is an uncontrollable, cocky, immature, and extremely hard to get along with person. He also happens to be sitting on the edge of being a genius and is a doctor that can just about diagnose and heal any ailment that is known to man. And also a lot of conditions that have never been seen before either. He used to work together with a team of three doctors (Cameron, Chase, and Foreman) that were learning under him to go onto bigger and better careers. They have since moved on, but are still nearby to always have some sort of interaction with him. Chase is a surgeon while his girlfriend Cameron works in the ER of the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Foreman tried to go elsewhere, but ended up working directly under House with his new team. The formation of this new team is what makes up the entire first half of season four.
House could very well work alone, but he’d get so bored that he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. Season four focuses on all those vying for a spot on House’s team because they know how valuable it would be to their careers even though he’s so incredibly hard to work with. House keeps it fun by coming up with names such as “13” and “Cutthroat Bitch” for the candidates since he can never remember their names, or better yet, doesn’t care to. He does put through the same kind of hell and interesting situations that he did with his old team, but always manages to get serious when the right time comes about.
The first half of the season does deal a lot with House selecting his new team which makes for a lot of humor, but then always getting serious when the cases take a turn for the worst. The real beauty of season four is the second half of episodes that take a much more serious tone and delve deeper then I’ve seen any season go before. I’m not going to ruin it for any of you, but if you’ve ever seen the show before then be prepared for a lot of shocking occurrences. For fans of the show, that won’t be anything new since every episode usually ends with your jaw dropping, but this is a whole new level of shocking. House’s pain pill addiction goes new routes. The team learns some rather intriguing news about their idolized boss. House sees his friendship with Wilson reach lengths in which it may be well beyond repair. Your heart will drop, and your mind will race trying to figure it all out before they do, but chances are you won’t be right.
There’s no one reason why House is virtually the only series I watch on a weekly basis and wait incredibly impatiently for as the new season approaches. Many different reasons have made this my favorite television series in a very long time. Each episode makes me laugh, makes me cry (quite often), makes me curious, makes me fear, and most of all…makes me think. If you can find a show that actually makes you use your brain and doesn’t give too much away until the very end, then that is the sign of something good. Episode after episode is like its own hour-long mystery with a bunch of doctor jargon that I can’t possibly understand. And you’d think that you wouldn’t understand because all the characters are doctors and know what each other is talking about right? Well, that is correct but somehow or another they always find a way to explain what they say so the audience at home can comprehend.
Okay people, if you’ve never watched House before then be prepared to automatically get confused and frustrated. There is a lot going on in each episode and you really need to pay attention or you’ll get lost, miss something, and totally not understand the rest of the episode. Frustration will surely set in many of you after watching everyone deal with House for a while and wondering why they don’t slap him straight across his smug face. Let’s face it, the guy is an ass, but you’re going to grow to love him or despise him. I for one am a huge fan of him and am fascinated by the way his mind works. Throughout the course of the episodes, I sit back and wait for that one little thing that will spark his mind and finally make the solution register in his brain. The first time you see that should take away all frustration and force you to look at him in complete awe.
Alone: An office building collapses on a woman, and House must diagnose her without the help of a team.
The Right Stuff: House interviews potential new staff members and treats an astronaut with a disorder that causes her to convert visual images to sound.
97 Seconds: The final ten fellowship candidates are divided into two teams and ruthlessly compete on a case involving a wheelchair-bound man with muscular atrophy.
Guardian Angels: The number of contenders is down to seven, and they work with a patient who believes she can talk to the dead.
Mirror, Mirror: House’s candidates learn about themselves as they attempt to diagnose a patient with an unknown identity who mirrors the behavior of the people around him.
Whatever It Takes: The CIA recruits House to treat a deathly ill agent with a mysterious illness, and the fellowship contenders clash with Foreman over a case involving a stock car driver
Ugly: A teenager with a facial deformity suffers a heart attack just before undergoing a reconstructive procedure, and House and his team are called into to determine the cause.
You Don’t Want To Know: The final five candidates work to help a magician, but is his illness just smoke and mirrors?
Games: When House is ordered to make a final decision on his team, he gives the remaining candidates a demanding case of a punk rock star with a history of civil disobedience.
It’s A Wonderful Lie: A mother experiences rapid paralysis that has tragic consequences for her daughter, but House begins to wonder if his patient is withholding information that could lead to a cure.
Frozen: Long-distance diagnoses are put to the test when House and his team help a doctor at the South Pole who has fallen gravely ill and must treat herself.
Don’t Ever Change: When a newly converted Hasidic Jewish woman falls gravely ill at her own wedding, House digs into her former life in the fast lane for signs of foul play.
No More Mr. Nice Guy: House becomes suspicious of an emergency room patient with a sunny disposition, sure that the “niceness” is a symptom of something seriously wrong.
Living The Dream: Reality and fantasy collide when House is convinced that one of the actors on his favorite soap opera, “Prescription Passion,” has come down with a grave illness.
House’s Head: In the gripping first-part of the two-episode season finale, House survives a terrible bus accident and immediately pushes himself to remember anything vital from the moments before the crash. Let it be known that this is a great start to the finale and also includes a striptease from Cuddy which is fantastic.
Wilson’s Heart: As House continues to search his memory in order to save another person from the bus accident, his friendship with Wilson is tested as more painful memories resurface.
The episodes are shown in 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and the beauty that is the series on television transfers the exact same way to DVD. House is a gorgeous show with wonderful colors, beautiful sets, and fantastic visuals that have the quality of any high budget feature film.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and everything also sounds wonderfully. All dialogue can be heard without any problem at all while the music and sound effects also come through nicely.
House’s Soap: Prescription Passion – This is a six minute and forty second look at the drama that is House’s favorite soap opera. It’s hard to believe such a brilliant man watches such trash.
New Beginnings – It’s time to take a look at all the new things happening in season four. The biggest of course being the new team House must hire and how he goes through all the applicants to see who can actually make it. It’s a good feature that runs over twenty-six minutes long and really analyzes how all the new pieces fir into the series.
Meet The Writers – How could you not want to meet the brilliant minds behind these episodes? It is quite amazing how intricate everything is when it comes to writing a script for each episode. They go into detail about how the teams are broken up, drafts are put together, stories mesh into one another, and everything must be perfect. An interesting fact is that it takes eight to ten days to film an episode that takes two months to write. The writers also talk about how it was dealing with the strike which is pretty neat. More detail goes into how much research must be done for the medical information given throughout the series. They aren’t doctors and need to do a lot of reading and learning to figure out how everything is to be worded correctly. This feature runs fourteen minutes and forty-four seconds.
The Visual Effects Of House – House has some masterful looking effects with the different injuries and going inside a person’s body to show their illnesses. You can’t help but think that is exactly how all of us look inside because well, let’s face it…it is. The visual effects seen of the body are used so that viewers can better understand exactly what House is talking about as he describes certain things. This fifteen and a half minute feature shows a lot of what they are doing and exactly how they do it to make the series even better and different then anything else on television.
Anatomy Of A Scene: The Bus Crash – The old spinning room technique was used for the scene of the bus rolling over after it got hit by the garbage truck. Not only do the cast and crew discuss parts of the scene here, but the storyboards are even shown. They wanted to make sure everyone was on the exact same page for the scene so that it went off without a hitch. The cool part here is that half of the bus was built on the spinner while the other half was built in a green screen room so that the outside could be whatever they needed it to be. A lot of work from everyone involved, on camera and behind it, went into making this scene which is an integral part of the finale. This feature only lasts five minutes and forty-six seconds but it is awesome.
My Favorite Episode So Far… – Executive producers, cast, crew, and others go through all four seasons so that they can pinpoint their most favorite episodes. It’s still weird listening to Hugh Laurie’s accent. Episodes from the pilot all the way through season four are the range here and I can see why. If I were asked to pick out one particular episode as my favorite I don’t believe it could be done. A really fun feature that runs six minutes and forty-eight seconds.
“House’s Head” Audio Commentary – Creator/executive producer David Shore and executive producer Katie Jacobs sit down together for commentary on the first part of the season finale. Oddly enough the first piece of information they give is the most interesting. This episode was supposed to follow the Super Bowl which eventually ended up going to “Frozen.” Shore says the network usually leaves them alone, but when it comes to following such a big event like that, then they interject a bit. They give a lot of good behind the scenes stuff, but there are moments when they just shut up. As annoying as silence during a commentary usually is, it works here because there’s still so much to pay attention to in the episode.
One problem is that Katie Jacobs sounds like she is underwater. I don’t know if she was sick or something, but her voice garbles almost the entire time.
Buy this DVD set. Just buy it. That’s all I’m going to tell you.
Well not really, but it’s all that needs to be said. House is one of the best shows on television, and probably one of the greatest in a long time. Each episode is better then the last and that is because of the brilliance that comes in the directing, the writing, and most of all, the cast. If you’ve never seen it before, then what are you waiting for? Check it out when the new season starts in September. Or better yet, catch the reruns that air on the USA Network so that you can appreciate it before new stuff happens. By the time you do that, you’ll want to grab every season on DVD so you can catch up. Not only do you get every episode of a fantastic television series, but you get a nice collection of special features. A quality that usually isn’t found on most TV DVD sets. They run close to an hour and twenty minutes, and that’s not even including the awesome commentary for “House’s Head.” Enjoy the humor, the drama, the confusion, the action, and the genius that is House. And stay off the Vicodin.
Universal Studios presents House M.D.: Season Four. Created by: David Shore. Starring: Hugh Laurie, Kal Penn, Peter Jacobson, Olivia Wilde, Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer, Anne Dudek. Running time: 704 minutes on 4 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: August 19, 2008. Available at Amazon.com