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House: Season Three [DVD] [Import]
The cantankerous and brilliant Dr. House (Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie) is back for a third season of the hit drama House, which picks up with his being shot at the end of season two and ends with his staff dramatically refusing to put up with his oddball (and borderline abusive) demands. Each of the 24 episodes, which aired on FOX from 2006 to 2007, is included in this 5-disc set. Fans of the drama will be happy to hear that the formula remains the same: Each show begins with a medical dilemma that's so severe and life-threatening that only Dr. House can diagnose and fix the problem, even if it goes against conventional medical rules. His put-upon boss Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) is back, as are his young charges Foreman (Omar Epps), Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), and Chase (Jesse Spencer). Oncologist Wilson (Tony winner Robert Sean Leonard), who is House's best friend by default, also returns to support (and infuriate) the cranky doctor. Speaking of cranky, House's difficult nature proves to bite him in the rear. In a six-episode arc, the Vicodin-popping House meets his match after he antagonizes the wrong patient, police officer Michael Twitter (David Morse, who played a compassionate physician on St. Elsewhere). Hell hath no fury like a patient poked and prodded like a guinea pig, and Twitter makes it his business to make House's life miserable. But since the show is called House, viewers are safe in assuming that House will not be rotting his life away in a jail cell. After all, the excitement of the show is driven by his unorthodox treatment of patients. As Cuddy succinctly points out, "You just keep on going until you come up with something so insane it's usually right." Look for a slew of excellent guest stars (rocker Dave Matthews, Charles S. Dutton, Piper Perabo, John Larroquette) to help stir things up. The episodes are as compelling as ever, focusing on a morbidly obese patient in denial, an autistic child, and a comatose man that House insists on "waking" up. The bonus materials include Morrison and Edelstein doing scenes in Valley Girl-speak and a featurette on Laurie's all-star charity group called Band from TV (Laurie plays piano). --Jae-Ha Kim
Played by Hugh Laurie, Dr. Gregory House is a brilliant misanthrope who operates by no one's rules but his own. He's also in chronic pain, limping on a cane with flames painted along the side and popping huge numbers of Vicodin, even in front of patients. While he's pushed away most of humanity, he's fortune enough to have a best friend, the long-suffering Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) as well as the support of the hospital's Dean of Medicine Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). Despite almost daily clashes with the two, House knows he can count on them to back him up when he needs it.
House's team of fellows include Drs. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Eric Foreman (Omar Epps). Enduring regular emotional -- and sometimes physical -- abuse from their boss, the three will quickly say that they are only putting up with House in order to gain valuable experience to further their careers. But it's also apparent that after more than three years under his wing, each young doctor has grown to respect and care for House, who occasionally lets them see his damaged and human side.
As Season 2 ended with House being shot by the crazed husband of a former patient, Season 3 begins with his returning to work, presumably after taking the summer off to recuperate. House -- and everyone who knows him -- is thrilled to see that the ketamine used to help him through surgery continues to help him walk well and without pain. But will it last?
A plot arc involving Michael Tritter, a detective who swears to ruin House after the latter humiliates him in the hospital clinic, runs through several episodes. The detective's goal is to prove House is dangerous to patients because of his Vicodin addiction, and thus needs to have his license taken away. Many fans -- including myself -- felt this arc was poorly done, and did not contribute to the season's overall story growth.
Other memorable episodes include "One Day, One Room," where a rape victim inexplicably latches onto House, causing him to reveal some troubling details about his own past; "Half Wit," where House claims to have brain cancer while he and team treat a damaged musical prodigy played by Dave Matthews; and "Top Secret," where Chase and Cameron embark upon a complicated new relationship.
Overall, the format of this show may seem too set or predictable; each episode, the team treats an unusual Patient of the Week, while dealing with side issues involving their own lives. Yet with the show's fantastic writing, this never happens. Rarely is anything predictable -- and as Dr. House is fond of saying, "Everybody lies," so you can never tell what someone may be hiding until the very last minute. Each episode is enjoyable in its own way.
As for this box set, it's handsomely packaged. It includes a few extras, like behind-the-scenes with the medical props people and some bloopers (which are mostly just instances where the actors started to say their lines and burst out laughing, nothing truly "blooper-worthy," in my opinion). If you look forward to the extras on DVD sets, this probably won't be your favorite.