Boosted by having a little, barely known series called "American Idol" as its lead-in and an continued interest in competing "medical investigation" series like "C.S.I.", "House" grew in popularity during its first season and was one of the rare shows these days where the series seemed to not have much trouble getting a second season.
"House" stars Hugh Laurie (if you've seen "Stuart Little", it may take you some time to realize that Laurie's the father from that movie, as he looks completely different here) as Dr. Gregory House, a doctor who goes against all of the usual medical standards - he's a cranky, sharp-witted character who doesn't exactly have the kindest bedside manner, and who sees no problem with being amusingly abrasive to his co-workers. Despite his irritability, there's few people as successful at making a diagnosis. Each episode is structured as a mystery, as House and his team must get to the bottom of what's causing cases that are often unusual.
The series has House facing a different medical mystery each week, with the hospital administrator, Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), always on his case for every mis-step she believes that he's about to make. With each case, he's assisted by neurologist Eric Foreman (Omar Epps), immunologist Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), and intensivist Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer). Every case has House and his team going up against something uncommon, and they have to race against the clock to figure out the medical mystery.
With a strong team of producers including Bryan Singer (director, "The Usual Suspects" and "X-Men") and Paul Attanasio (writer, "Quiz Show"). The show's best aspects are its writing and its cast, as Hugh Laurie makes a surprising departure from his previous roles in such films as "Stuart Little" (I didn't even realize it was Laurie in the show until just recently). His performance as the antisocial, hobbling (he walks around with a painful limp, due to a condition in one leg) doctor is the high point of the show. Morrison, Edelstein, Spencer and Epps are also fine in supporting roles. Both Laurie and the supporting cast seem to click a little further in the second season and seem more comfortable in their roles.
"House" does present some familiar elements, such as the doctor who doesn't follow the rules and has to always go up against hospital admistrators. Additionally, the formula of the series generally remains the same. However, the writing and strength of the performances allows one to overlook some of the standard elements and make them feel tweaked and fresh.
23. 2- 1 13 Sep 05 Acceptance
24. 2- 2 20 Sep 05 Autopsy
25. 2- 3 27 Sep 05 Humpty Dumpty
26. 2- 4 1 Nov 05 TB or Not TB
27. 2- 5 8 Nov 05 Daddy's Boy
28. 2- 6 15 Nov 05 Spin
29. 2- 7 22 Nov 05 Hunting
30. 2- 8 29 Nov 05 The Mistake
31. 2- 9 13 Dec 05 Deception
32. 2-10 10 Jan 06 Failure to Communicate
33. 2-11 7 Feb 06 Need to Know
34. 2-12 14 Feb 06 Distractions
35. 2-13 20 Feb 06 Skin Deep
36. 2-14 7 Mar 06 Sex Kills
37. 2-15 28 Mar 06 Clueless
38. 2-16 4 Apr 06 Safe
39. 2-17 11 Apr 06 All In
40. 2-18 18 Apr 06 Sleeping Dogs Lie
41. 2-19 25 Apr 06 House vs. God
42. 2-20 2 May 06 Euphoria (1)
43. 2-21 3 May 06 Euphoria (2)
44. 2-22 9 May 06 Forever
45. 2-23 16 May 06 Who's Your Daddy?
46. 2-24 23 May 06 No Reason
VIDEO/AUDIO: The first season DVD set of "House" had a lot of complaints due to the decision to present the episodes in non-anamorphic widescreen. Thankfully, the second season set remidies that issue and provides 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentations that, while still slightly problematic in ways, do look noticably better than the first season episodes did on DVD.
The presentation does show a few slight instances of artifacting at times, but otherwise looks crisp and clear. No edge enhancement, wear or other concerns were seen. Colors look perfectly fine, with nice saturation and no smearing. Not flawless, but quite nice.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is fine, with minimal surround use and a mild spread across the front speakers. Audio quality was good, with clear dialogue and music.
EXTRAS: creator David Shore and producer Katie Jacobs offer commentary for "Autopsy" and "No Reason". The commentary tracks have some gaps of silence, but the two generally provide an informative chat, talking about working with the actors, some production tidbits and behind-the-scenes stories. Worth a listen for fans.
Also included are a very funny blooper reel, the brief "It Could Be Lupus", alternate takes: "The Valley Girl Versions" and the "Evening With House" featurette.
Final Thoughts: Laurie's terrific performance in the lead, as well as fine writing and direction make "House" worth watching. Universal's DVD set offers improved presentations over the first season set and more supplements. Recommended.